Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Bahrain International Circuit, 2024

Emphatic Bahrain GP win “couldn’t have been better” – Verstappen

Formula 1

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Max Verstappen saw no room for improvement in his team’s performance after winning the opening race of the 2024 season in emphatic style.

The reigning world champion was never headed as he led Sergio Perez to a one-two finish for the team. Verstappen set the fastest lap on the way, ensuring he and the team took a maximum points haul.

“It’s unbelievable,” he said afterwards. “I think today went even better than expected.

“The car was really nice to drive on every compound. I think we had a lot of pace and it was just super-enjoyable to drive today. We really stayed out of trouble and a great start to the year. I mean, it couldn’t have been better.”

Although Verstappen won 19 out of last year’s 22 grands prix, he said this one felt particularly good because the car had performed so well.

“It was a lot of fun. I felt really good in the car. It’s always very special to have these kind of days because they don’t happen that often, that it just all goes perfect and you’re just one with the car and everything just feels great.”

Charles Leclerc briefly challenged Verstappen on the run to turn one, but the Red Bull driver was easily able to hold onto his lead. “From there onwards we just focused on our own race,” he said.

Perez, who started fifth, finished 22 seconds behind his team mate in second place, which he believes was “the maximum we could have achieved.”

“It was quite a tricky race with the management of the tyres,” he explained. “I think there’s plenty we will learn from tonight’s race which will be important for the championship. But overall it’s a great way to start the season.”

He found the RB20’s performance more variable between different tyres than his team mate. “It was really compound to compound amount of sliding we were having,” he said.

“We had some issues with the engine braking, the reliability, which is not easy around here because there is plenty of low-speed. But I’m sure we’ll analyse all of that tonight and make sure we learn for Jeddah.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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9 comments on “Emphatic Bahrain GP win “couldn’t have been better” – Verstappen”

  1. “It was quite a tricky race with the management of the tyres,”

    I always chuckle when Verstappen calls things “tricky”. Nothing is ever hard or bad in his RedBull, so in order to be able to say anything about his race he calls things tricky.

    1. That was Perez actually

  2. 2026 can’t come soon enough. Though Verstappen might have 100 wins by then…

  3. Max: “My skill allows me to quickly adapt so each tire feels good”
    Sergio: “What do I do????????”

  4. “It’s always very special to have these kind of days because they don’t happen that often…”

    Yeah, he hasn’t had such a dominant race since last November 26 !

  5. Lewisham Milton
    2nd March 2024, 20:21

    Can’t they slap a weight “balance” penalty on him, like the hype-cars?

    1. It’s red bull that needs a ballast (as things are): how comes perez manages to get 2nd? Surely he’s not the 2nd best driver at, and when you have a car that strong that perez comes 2nd, verstappen is miles ahead, it’s normal.

      If you made that car lose 15-20 sec over a race distance, it’d be a fight with verstappen and perez would be nowhere.

  6. As much as I have never been an MV fan, it’s hard to begrudge him his success, or Red Bull theirs.

    Of course, as a Hamilton fan I never considered such things during Mercedes dominance (though it does not mean that I shouldn’t have done), but there surely must be mechanisms that can limit these (potentially) processional seasons.

    One thing that comes to mind is limiting the number of seasons a driver can stay at one team. I am not so biased that I think such a plan should be implemented promptly, but if planned for several years time it would have little effect on the current hierarchy. And the best drivers would still be deservingly in the better teams, but not necessarily result in the best driver in the best team all the time. Perhaps a little extreme sounding, but I think if that is how it always was, no-one would bat an eyelid.

    1. @cairnsfella I’m going to moan at myself as it sounds as though I am saying that MV is the better driver versus LH.

      And, he may well be at the current time, though it will always be a subjective judgement. However my previous comment does not pre-suppose that fact, as it was just a thought with the prospect of another potentially predictable season upon us.

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