Race Rundown: Bahrain Grand Prix

Max Verstappen driving Red Bull car
Will Stead

With the recent release of Netflix’s Formula One: Drive to Survive Season 5, there’s sure to be many of new fans who want to get in to F1 and start watching the action before Netflix dramatizes the season. DTS is great fun to watch for both fans of F1, as well as for people who have never sat through a race in their life. But it’s important everyone is aware that what the show depicts isn’t always how things went down on the track. For this reason, Will Stead offers you this: a race rundown! A sort of summary of each race that people can either look back on to refresh their memories, or so that newer fans can pretend like they know what they’re on about. 

Disclaimer: There’s a good chance, like any person talking about any sport ever, I’ll let my personal biases slip through. If there’s anything you read in here that you viciously disagree with, make sure you direct all complaints to my editor. 

This summary is ordered by the race finish order: 

Max Verstappen (Red Bull): Much like the broadcast of the race, I won’t bother covering much of Max. He steamrolled qualifying, much like how he steamrolled the race. There was a margin of nearly 12 seconds between the race victor and the runner up. From this first race it seems like he has the season in the bag, further down the field is where the juicy wheel to wheel action was taking place. 

It seems that the only way to stop the raging bulls this season will be to chuck a spanner in the air intake

Sergio Perez (Red Bull): To say that Checo secured a 1-2 finish for Red Bull implies that he was facing any competition. He bagged second in qualifying (mainly due to Leclerc hopping out of the car before the final round was over) and sailed across the line with little resistance. It seems that the only way to stop the raging bulls this season will be to chuck a spanner in the air intake. 

Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin): It would appear the Alonso-hype-train has left the station. Alonso qualified 5th and displayed a monster drive. The 41 year old had incredible battles, displaying his god-like race craft and earned his 99th career podium. One could argue that it was only due to Leclerc’s DNF that he got the podium, however Alonso made swift work of the second Ferrari earlier in the race. This season could finally see the Spanish legend return to his rightful position at the front. 

Carlos Sainz (Ferrari): Everybody loves Sainz, he’s inoffensive to a wholesome degree. However, it would appear he may once again be outclassed by his teammate. Sainz held an admirable defence against Hamilton in the latter stages of the race. His position in Ferrari is secure, but it’s becoming clearer and clearer that Sainz is more Barrichello than Schumacher… 

For any Hamilton fans out there, be happy that he will be around until at least 2024

Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes): Well, there’s always next year… The Mercedes performance is far from the 2016 levels of domination. TP Toto Wolff described the race as “one of the worst days in racing” for the team, a stance ex-McLaren driver David Coulthard has been openly critical of. Hamilton still pulled off a fantastic drive, his battle with Fernando shows that, despite being the two oldest competitors, they still have their WDC earning skill. For any Hamilton fans out there, be happy that he will be around until at least 2024; there’s sod-all chance he bails on the sport before he earns his record breaking eighth WDC. 

Lance Stroll (Aston Martin): Lance is quickly becoming the Six Million Dollar Man. Not just because of his enormous wealth, but apparently the doctors gave him bionic wrists! Stroll had a broken toe, and two dodgy wrists but still executed a fantastic race. Obviously, it wouldn’t be a Lance Stroll race if he didn’t come into contact at least once with his teammate. Thankfully it occurred at the beginning of the race and did no lasting damage to Alonso’s car. I’m sure Alonso is grateful for not flamboyantly insulting his attacker, a trait he is known for, as it would’ve made a rather awkward team debrief! 

George Russell (Mercedes): George was straight up not having a good time on Sunday. His car wasn’t performing and he wound up as the sacrificial lamb for Hamilton’s strategy in the race. Still, he’s just as solid as ever. I’m sure once Mercedes decide to get their act together and make a new car, Russell will be insufferable in victory. 

Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo Sauber): Battery Voltas carried the energy in this race. The resident surrogate Aussie looks to be enjoying his life and delivering solid drives. The action this season looks to be in the mid-field, and Bottas may be the one to carry Sauber through the fight. 

Pierre Gasly (Alpine): The Frenchman had a disastrous qualifying session, placing him in 20th, but this race showed a different man. Gasly stormed through the field, admittedly helped by a plethora of DNFs, yet he still showed that he was deserving to be in a team other than Red Bull lite. 

Alex Albon (Williams): Dare I say Williams aren’t that bad anymore? Albon proved last season that he had a knack for being a *h*tbox whisperer. He drove his car into positions it didn’t deserve to be in and he’s done it again. While this performance was stellar, I won’t be getting my hopes up, as it’s been reported the Williams team have kept their high straight-line-speed (sacrificing everything else), which would explain their competence in Bahrain. 

Yuki Tsunoda (Alpha Tauri): Aspiring restaurateur, and part time driver, Yuki Tsunoda has finally stepped up to the plate. In the pre-season, there were doubts about whether he would be good enough to lead AT, but his on track battles, and trouncing of his teammate, have temporarily silenced those who doubted him. 

Logan Sargeant (Williams): The yankee-doodle-rookie had a great on track debut. Admittedly, I knew very little about Sargeant, to be quite frank I wanted him to fail so Mick Schumacher could take his seat. I now realise I’m a bit of a cretin. Sargeant’s race was nothing to write home about, but also there were no errors. Future WDC, he is not, but he’s proved his can bring the Williams home, his first points are just on the horizon. 

Kevin Magnussen (Haas): Haas have once again proven that no matter how solid they can make a car, they’ll find a way to ruin a race. There’s no hope for the team, the position on the grid is a waste of solid drivers and taking a garage Andretti could use. 

Nyck de Vries (Alpha Tauri): Nicky Debris didn’t quite make the same performance he had last year at Monza. I don’t understand the hype around the man. I don’t want to talk about him anymore, let’s move on. 

Nico Hülkenberg (Haas): Qualified 10th and ended 15th. Many people doubted Hülkenberg’s return, even the officially licensed Fantasy F1 game has pitched him as one of the least valuable drivers on the grid. Qualifying and the race proved that the only thing holding him back is this Haas F1 team.  

Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo Sauber): Look I’ll be honest; I don’t remember what happened to Zhou. He barely got any light on the official broadcast but hey, it looks like he had fun I guess. 

The clown show strikes again

Lando Norris (McLaren): Norris got the full McLaren treatment at the GP. He spent more time in the pit then on the track. It’s becoming more and more evident that Norris is being wasted in McLaren. Last year, Ricciardo took most of the heat for McLaren’s shortcomings but this year the curtain is down. If McLaren can’t start delivering, then Norris will get snapped up by a top team. McLaren had a shoddy car and strategy team to match. 

Estaban Ocon (Alpine): In summary, the man got 20 seconds worth of penalties so Alpine decided to just sack off the rest of the race and have some croissants.

Charles Leclerc (Ferrari): The clown show strikes again. Leclerc had a fantastic race, supported by the questionable decision to cut qualifying short to save a fresh pair of soft tyres. Unfortunately, the car hadn’t got the memo that it needed to actually cross the finish line. So, despite taking a new Energy Store it meant nothing. Oh well, as Ferrari love to say: “there’s always next year”.

Oscar Piastri (McLaren): Anyone who has seen DTS probably doesn’t like Piastri, as the show painted him to be a greedy villain who betrayed Alpine. Not true. Alpine were wasting his talent and he took action. If you want someone to dunk on, dunk on TP Otmar Szafnauer for messing up and being a cry-baby for half the year. Admittedly, Piastri might be having a bit of a worry as he only made 14 laps before being forced to retire. I believe the official explanation is: because car went kaput

Will Stead

Featured image courtesy of José Pablo Domínguez via Unsplash. Image use license found here. No changes were made to this image.

In article image 1 courtesy of @f1 via Instagram. No changes were made to this image. 

In article image 2 courtesy of @f1 via Instagram. No changes were made to this image. 

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