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What the teams said - Race day in Bahrain

Special Contributor

Becky Hart
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BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 02: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas

Red Bull

Verstappen started from pole, led into the opening corner and from there was unstoppable. He stayed in the lead through both pit stop periods, set the fastest lap to score a bonus point and seemed utterly comfortable in what was an ominous showing for the rest to contemplate. Perez had a strong start to pick off Sainz, then managed to get Russell through the pit stops to climb up to second and once there, he also looked pretty comfortable as he made it a 1-2 for the team in a dream start to the season.

READ MORE: ‘It couldn’t have been better’ – Verstappen hails ‘unbelievable’ start to title defence with statement win

Max Verstappen, 1st

“It was a special one today. These kind of days don’t happen that often where the car feels spot on, including the balance and feeling of the car and everything went really well. The start was good and then we also looked after the car really well, so it was an enjoyable race for me. We managed to find a good rhythm and pace on this track and the wind strength and direction helped me extract a bit more from the car. This is one of our strongest circuits and looking to Jeddah we know that the track there is very different, with a lot of high speed corners and less degradation. I am hoping we can bring the same performance to next week: it’s going to be a challenge but I am looking forward to it. We have to thank everyone at the factory who has contributed to a great start of the year. It is always a big challenge to build a new car and follow up such an unbelievable season, but I’m excited to kick things off this season with a win."

Sergio Perez, 2nd

“It was a really strong race from the Team, it’s a great start to the season, you can’t get better than a one-two to start a year which looks like it’ll be a really tight battle. I overtook Carlos at the start and from there we were able to chip away at things. There were a few issues that we need to iron out but it is just important to keep the momentum with us now. From my side it is good to now have a full race distance behind us because there will be a lot of learning to do on how we manage tyres, how we push and then we can go from there. We had a good pace, but I think it is going to be track dependent. I just want to keep improving because the season is long."

Christian Horner, Team Principal

“Today was a great performance by Max and Checo. To come out the race with a one-two finish was a huge achievement as a Team and both drivers brought a really strong performance and gave it everything. They both had the perfect start to a very dominant race; Max drove a strong race from start to finish and Checo really came through the field, made a couple of good passes and drove a great race. We have to thank everyone back in Milton Keynes this winter who have worked so hard and come up with another great car. This win is testimony to that hard work that goes on behind the scenes. So it was a great Team performance once again and we are incredibly pleased to achieve maximum points today. The Team have done a wonderful job with the car and they haven't rested on their laurels. They've pushed hard and it has paid off today with a fantastic result.”

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BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 02: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing celebrates in parc ferme during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on March 02, 2024 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Ferrari

Leclerc lost out to Russell early on, and then started to complain about his car pulling to the right. That issue seemed to be costing him, as he locked up a number of times as his team mate made his way past. Sainz didn't had the best getaway from the start, but once up to speed he looked to be driving a very quick race car. He actually wound up behind his team mate again after the pit stops, so had to overtake Leclerc for a second time to climb into the podium places. Behind, Leclerc made a late resurgence to pick off Russell and grab fourth.

Charles Leclerc, 4th

"It was a disappointing race from my side. There was an issue with the brakes, so I struggled to stay on track, especially in turns 9 and 10. We would have had the pace in the car to put up a good fight so I can’t wait to get back in the car in Jeddah."

Carlos Sainz, 3rd

"It’s a solid start to the season and very good points for the team. I felt really good in the car all race long, being able to control the pace and doing good overtakes. I tried everything to manage the tyres on the last stint to try and attack Checo (Perez) at the end of the race, but they are still faster than us. However, I think we have a very good baseline to work on and we need to keep pushing to close the gap. On to Jeddah!"

Fred Vasseur, Team Principal

"We were hoping for a better result but we had a brake issue during the race with Charles, so all in all we maximized the result on track today. Carlos had a good race with a very smart comeback after not getting a perfect start and he was able to fight with Perez until the final stages. We knew we would have been on the Hard tyre and Checo would have been on Softs and our aim was to put the Red Bull under pressure, which we did towards the end but it was not enough.

"Charles struggled for the entire race with the brakes and because of that in the first stint flat-spotted his tyres so we had to pit him earlier than planned. We will have to investigate why the brakes were not at the correct temperature.

"This weekend, our flying lap performance matched our expectations, but we have a clear step to make in terms of our race pace as we were not in the fight with Red Bull. That said I consider today’s race a good baseline as we were able to close the gap considerably compared to last year. We will continue with our development and I’m confident we will be able to take the fight to them more often."

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BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 02: Third placed Carlos Sainz of Spain and Ferrari celebrates on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on March 02, 2024 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Mercedes

Russell overtook Leclerc in the opening laps, looking feisty and up for the challenge. But he was pegged back in the pit stop period as Perez got the jump on him, as did Sainz. He was forced to lift and coast to help manage some overheating brakes which didn’t help his cause, and in the end was powerless to keep Leclerc at bay late on. As for Hamilton, he struggled with a battery problem early on. Between that and a broken seat, he was unable to make too much progress from a P9 grid slot. Piastri was picked off late on thanks to a clever undercut, but he ran out of time to close down Norris ahead.

Lewis Hamilton, 7th

"It was a tough race today. For sure there is some disappointment within the team as we hoped that it would be a better evening. We were close with several other cars and the degradation was high. The issues we faced obviously cost us some pace so that was frustrating.

"Ultimately if I had qualified better, naturally I would have been a good couple of places further ahead as my last stint was good. Today was about discovery and we found out a lot about the car. There’s plenty of areas we can improve on and I’m sure we will as a team."

George Russell, 5th

"It was a strange day today. Both Lewis and I faced a similar issue. The power unit was overheating from very early on, so we were managing that throughout. It was a shame as we made a really good start. I managed to make a good pass on Leclerc for second but very quickly, I had warnings on my steering wheel. To manage the overheating, we were losing tenths-of-a-second per lap, and it was very difficult to hold off anyone behind me. It’s a shame that we didn’t get to show any real potential of the car.

"Thankfully, it’s not an issue we need to be concerned about. We got the cooling configuration wrong. We just need to understand why, and make sure we don’t do that again. It was simply an incorrect decision; we’ve got plenty of margin to cool the power unit more. I think without the issue we would have been in the fight for P3. It’s only the first race of the season so let’s see what we can do next week."

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

"We got the cooling level wrong today and that cost us. To manage the issue, we had to do a lot more lift and coast and you then lose performance with the tyres. It’s a vicious circle. We need to look at what we did wrong as we gave the drivers a car that was not competitive enough today. I’m keen to look at the data to make sure we don’t face similar changes in Saudi Arabia.

"At the end of the day though, we have a brand-new car, and we are learning about it. We have seen the glimpses of performance here in Bahrain, but we couldn’t materialise that today. We will go away and make sure we build on our learning and come back stronger."

Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director

"The race proved an underwhelming and frustrating experience today. We were beset with overheating issues early on that we were forced to manage throughout the vast majority of the Grand Prix. The extra lift and coast the drivers were forced to do as a result of this also caused them to lose tyre temperature. They did their best to cope, with George trying valiantly to defend from those behind and Lewis chasing those ahead. Ultimately, P5 and P7 was likely the best we could do with the issues we were facing.

"It was disappointing that we underperformed today. We will go away and review what we could have done differently. We will also look at our overall set-up as it was clear that neither driver was as happy with the balance of the car as they were over the rest of the weekend. These are all challenges of a new car and we’re looking forward to coming back stronger in Jeddah next week."

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BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 02: George Russell of Great Britain driving the (63) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team W15 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on March 02, 2024 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

McLaren

Norris was struggling with his rear tyres in the early stages of the race, as the two McLaren drivers ran line astern in the opening part of the race. Piastri kept his team mate honest, and it looked like they might come home together but for Hamilton managing to get past the Aussie thanks to an undercut strategy. As for Norris, his car started to come to life on the lower fuel loads late on, but the team have some homework to do to understand where their pace was at the start of the race.

Lando Norris, 6th

“It was a tough race, but I think we still had a good race with good pace, and it was a definite improvement on last year, so I think we can be happy as a team. I think the wind hurt us a bit today. It changed a lot from the last few days, and it felt a lot worse in some corners, but we moved forward, and it was the best we could have hoped for today. A good start to the year.”

Oscar Piastri, 8th

“So, a P8 to start the year. I personally felt like it was a good race for myself, and I think the race pace we had seemed ok. A few things to improve, but not a bad first race for us, especially when you look at where we were this time last year. I’m excited to see what the next few circuits have in store for us, and looking forward to seeing what we can do in the races to come.”

Andrea Stella, Team Principal

“It’s good to begin the season with a strong performance here in Bahrain. We’ve been reliable, we were quick enough to fight the Mercedes today, and this allowed us to score good points at a track we know isn’t the best for the characteristics of our car.

“I would like to praise the work of team at McLaren. They’ve consolidated the progress that we made last year and delivered an MCL38 which is a reliable and performing car. It’s a good foundation for the further improvements we plan to introduce as soon as possible.

“Oscar and Lando drove very well and consistently this evening. They made no mistakes in tricky conditions, particularly on the Hard tyres, and got our team off to a good start to 2024.”

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BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 02: Lando Norris of Great Britain driving the (4) McLaren MCL38 Mercedes on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on March 02, 2024 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Pauline Ballet - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Aston Martin

Stroll had a very good start, weaving his way up into the top 10 but it unravelled fast when he was tagged into a spin by Hulkenberg. That dropped him to the back of the field, but he pitted early for the hard compound and did so again in the second stops, the undercut working well as he climbed back into the top 10. As for Alonso, his race was also tricky to manage. He didn’t seem to have the pace to keep the McLarens at bay and almost looked to be switching to a one-stop strategy. He pitted very late for his second set of hards, and was left too much to do to chase back to Piastri in eighth.

Fernando Alonso, 9th

“I’m happy to score some points from the race today and it was probably where we expected to finish. It ended up being a bit of a quiet race for us with a gap ahead and behind us. We thought we would stay out longer on both stints and hope there was an advantage to gain from a Safety Car, but it wasn’t to be. I think we have some analysis to do on our one lap pace against our race performance. I’m feeling confident that we can improve as the season progresses and let’s see if we can be a bit stronger in Saudi Arabia next week.”

Lance Stroll, 10th

“It feels good to score a point after running last after the first lap of the race. I had a good getaway off the line, but then got tagged by Nico [Hülkenberg] and fell to the back of the pack. I knew it would be a long race from there, but I focussed on managing the tyres and made a few passes on track. The team gave me a good strategy, too. We know we’ve got some work to do as we develop the AMR24 and unlock some more pace, but it’s a long season and we’ll keep pushing.”

Mike Krack, Team Principal

“We completed our objective of getting both cars home in the points and that’s a good way to start the new season - so a big thank you to the entire team in Silverstone and trackside. We certainly optimised things this evening, considering our race pace, and scoring points is a reward for the team’s hard work over the last few weeks. It was a brilliant recovery drive from Lance after being hit and spun around at the first corner. The strategy for Fernando was designed to keep our options open, in the event of Safety Cars. In the end, it was a straightforward race for him. We need a bit more performance to challenge the teams ahead, but this is one race, one track and we will work hard over the coming days to make progress in Jeddah next weekend.”

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BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 02: Fernando Alonso of Spain driving the (14) Aston Martin AMR24 Mercedes and Lance Stroll of Canada driving the (18) Aston Martin AMR24 Mercedes compete for track position during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on March 02, 2024 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Kick Sauber

Zhou opted to pit very, very early for both his stops and like Stroll, that strategy leapt him up the order. Combined with some strong defence, the Chinese racer can be pretty pleased with his P11 finish on a day where there were no retirements. As for Bottas, he was already struggling with respect to his team mate when he came in for a pit stop where it all went wrong. He was stationary for 52 seconds as one of his wheel nuts wouldn’t behave, leading to calamitous scenes where the pit stop crew went running in all directions looking for a replacement.

Valtteri Bottas, 19th

“Unfortunately, today just hasn’t been my day. I had a good start, but then I got caught up in the Turn One incident between Nico [Hülkenberg] and Lance [Stroll], which resulted in front wing damage that made me lose some ground and performance. On top of that, we had an issue with the wheelnut during my second pit stop, which made us lose some more time. Luck wasn’t on our side today, but hopefully that’s all the bad luck for this season. As a positive to take home with us, our pace was definitely better than that of our main competitors – as seen with Zhou, who nearly finished into the points. This shows we have a better race car than last season, and gives us confidence looking into Jeddah next week.”

Zhou Guanyu, 11th

“Today, we maximised everything we could, and I am happy we were able to fight so closely for the points. We had a clean race with a good start where I was able to make up some positions, but it was quite challenging to keep the Aston Martins behind without compromising our tyres. Luckily, I managed to keep Kevin [Magnussen] and the rest of the field behind me. We made progress over the weekend, and the team worked hard to find the optimal setup. Unfortunately, in a race with no attrition, we couldn’t get points without anything happening to the cars ahead of us. There is still a lot to improve for us, and we’ll continue working on our performance to be able to compete even more strongly for points in Jeddah and in the upcoming races.”

Alessandro Alunni Bravi, Team Representative

“We delivered a very consistent race today, and we demonstrated to be the sixth team in the championship in race conditions. This result must give our team confidence and encourage us: it is possible to take further steps and improve our performance. In particular, making progress in our single-lap performance, even before Jeddah, would give us a stronger chance to fight for the points. Zhou drove a strong race tonight, making no mistakes and matching Stroll’s Aston Martin for most of the race, which is a very good sign for the season ahead. Unfortunately, Valtteri was unlucky as his good start came to nothing when he got caught in someone else’s accident at Turn One: he suffered damage to his front wing flap, and we saw the loss of performance that caused, which prevented him from fighting for higher positions. The problem in the pit stop, when he suffered a cross-threaded nut, put an end to any hope of recovery, but he was still able to deliver a strong final stint, which was a good reference for Zhou’s tyre management. Even in these difficult conditions, we played as a team. I want to pay tribute to the team: after yesterday’s difficult qualifying, which did not reflect where we think we are in terms of overall performance, we made an improvement today, also thanks to both drivers’ performances. We now need to focus on the next step: we know the areas of our car we need to improve: if we keep working like we did in the last few weeks, there will be opportunities soon.”

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BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 02: Valtteri Bottas of Finland driving the (77) Kick Sauber C44 Ferrari on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on March 02, 2024 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images)

Haas

Hulkenberg didn’t have a great getaway from P10, but worse was to follow when he touched Stroll’s rear wing. The German was forced into an immediate pit stop for a new front wing, and from there was always going to have a tough race. Magnussen though climbed up the order, and kept the two RB cars at bay late on in a very encouraging showing, which becomes even more so when you consider that neither Haas driver seemed to struggle more than the rest of the field with their tyres.

Nico Hulkenberg, 16th

“It’s very frustrating and disappointing, and it was a very similar scenario to last year into Turn 4 at the start. On a positive note, our race pace and tire degradation looked pretty reasonable compared to the other midfield runners, and I think we’re fighting Williams, Sauber and RB, so I guess we take that as a positive. There will be more findings after today, things to improve and optimize on. Jeddah is obviously a very different circuit with completely different characteristics, so we’ll see what we get there but it feels like we have a much better foundation to work with compared to last year.”

Kevin Magnussen, 12th

“I’m kind of pleased – not over the moon, as we didn’t score points – but it seems like we have a car which is a bit better on the tires this year, not necessarily quicker than last year but at least better on tires, and I think we’ve shown that today. Nonetheless, it’s only one track, one bit of tarmac, and one set of conditions so we still have to show that elsewhere. It’s been a good couple of weeks of work, the team has done a really good job, and we’re in a good place – we just need to find more.”

Ayao Komatsu, Team Principal

“Okay it wasn’t the perfect race, Nico had a bad start and damaged his front wing which essentially meant his race was over at that point. Kevin’s race showed that we can fight this year. We don’t have the best degradation but at least in the midfield, we can fight for the points. We didn’t do a perfect strategy but even then, Kevin was fighting in the midfield until the last moments which was a huge positive. We know the margin of error is very, very small so we need to step-up on that side as well. There are huge positives to take from this weekend and then looking forward to another chance next weekend. We’re really looking forward to a strong show again in Jeddah.”

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BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 02: Nico Hulkenberg of Germany driving the (27) Haas F1 VF-24 Ferrari on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on March 02, 2024 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Bryn Lennon - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

RB

Ricciardo spent much of the race well outside the points as he struggled with the handling of his VCARB 01 in traffic, something the team will want to investigate before next weekend. Tsunoda meanwhile was flirting with the top 10, but late on they found themselves chasing down Magnussen for P12. Ricciardo was on softs, Tsunoda on hards and the team ordered the Japanese racer to let his team mate by. He did eventually do so, very begrudgingly but based on his radio messages, was anything but impressed with that instruction.

Daniel Ricciardo, 13th

"We were not quite good enough for points today. I struggled a lot at the beginning of the race with the used soft tyres because there was a pretty poor grip off the line. In the middle stint with the hard tyres, we got a little bit more pace, but I anyway felt that I was struggling. In the end, the new soft compound was a lot better. We finally extracted some pace and were catching the pack. At that point, I got a little stuck behind other cars and I lost the grip on the tyres.

"The call for the drivers’ swap was quite expected and came with no surprise. Before the race, we obviously talked with the team about strategy plans, and it was highly likely I was going to finish the race with a new set of soft tyres after starting the race with a used set. It is what it is, and let’s turn the page now. I’ve got an idea of what we can do to be better, so I’ve some confidence in going racing next week in Jeddah."

Yuki Tsunoda, 14th

“I think I was doing quite well within the points until about halfway through the race when I felt it was slipping away from us. We weren’t fighting for points at that time, so we’ll have to review everything during our post-race analysis and learn from it for the future. It’s race one, so there’s still lots of time to understand. In general, there’s still a lot we can take away from this weekend, the mechanics did a great job with all our pitstops, and if there is anything we could do better strategy-wise, we’ll review and improve for Saudi.”

Jody Egginton, Technical Director

“A frustrating race in many ways. We need to go through the data and review points in the race where we could have maybe taken advantage of our closest competitors. Daniel was struggling a bit with his car balance in the first couple of stints, and we need to understand the factors influencing this. Daniel did make good use of his soft compound tyre in the final stint to get himself back to the group, but overtaking was not easy, and he ran out of laps to move forward. Yuki’s car balance was better and his pace was looking pretty reasonable in the first phases of the race, running well in the middle group and looking after his tyres quite well.

"However, we need to review in detail the middle phase of the race, including how Lance (Stroll) and Zhou (Guanyu) took advantage in the laps following the last round of stops. This cost some track positions, which we could not recover in the final part of the race, in this way missing the opportunity to fight for 10th place. In summary, the weekend has been solid, with the package able to perform reasonably well in the midfield battle, but we can’t help thinking we have not managed to extract everything from tonight’s race, so we leave Bahrain disappointed. There is a lot of work to do between now and next week’s race in Saudi Arabia, but at the same time, with it being so soon, we also have the opportunity to react and apply our learning from this event quickly.”

Laurent Mekies, Team Principal

"Overall, a tough Saturday where the midfield was tighter than ever. The fight for P11 was a hard one with eight cars involved at times! In the early stage of the race, we felt we could have had a good go at it, with Yuki doing a good job and driving up to P10. We lost a few positions as the race went on and struggled to pass our competitors in the final stage of the race. We had Daniel on a new set of soft tyres for that final stint and we swapped our cars to give ourselves a chance to overtake Kevin (Magnussen) and Zhou (Guanyu) but ultimately it was not enough, and we had to settle for P13 and P14. We know that it is only race one, but we will certainly review how we could have extracted more from our car and our pace today. There are more positives than negatives in our first weekend as Visa Cash App RB and everyone is pushing very hard in Faenza and Bicester. Any hundredths of a second gained in the midfield are going to make a significant difference."

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BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 02: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia driving the (3) Visa Cash App RB VCARB 01 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on March 02, 2024 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Pauline Ballet - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Williams

Sargeant brought out the yellow flags early on as he pulled off with what turned out to be a steering wheel issue. He did manage to get going again, with the team swapping his wheel, but his team mate would also have steering wheel issues of his own. It was a shame for the duo, with Albon showing a strong turn of pace at various points of the race. But he was hampered by being unable to change the settings on his steering wheel when he needed to – which didn’t help him progress on a day where all 20 cars made the flag.

FACTS AND STATS: Red Bull tie Williams’ win tally in first-ever retirement-free season opener

Alex Albon, 15th

"The car itself was okay but we’re far behind. We had issues the whole race with things that if we had done more running in testing, we would’ve been able to avoid. We were overheating the entire race and were down on power, so hopefully we can take a look at the data and arrive in Jeddah in better shape. Our pace relative to the others is quite similar so that midfield battle is close and will be tough."

Logan Sargeant, 20th

"It was frustrating as we had the steering wheel electronics issue yesterday in Qualifying and then it returned today, so the most important thing is that we need to understand the root cause of this and get it fixed going forward. We had a really good first lap and a great opening stint and made some good gains and it felt like it was coming to me before we had the issue. We were struggling a little with PU temp which meant I couldn’t stay close to the cars ahead, so it was just a bit of a disappointing evening. There’s nothing we can’t fix, but we need to understand everything moving forward."

Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance

"We were dealing with issues on both cars from very early in the race and never really gave either driver an opportunity to push hard. In close traffic, we were running the PUs at their temperature limits and we had to manage this carefully. Logan suffered with another electronic issue, which caused him to flat-spot his tyres and led to him changing the steering wheel at the pit stop. There are clearly issues that we need to rectify fully before next Saturday when we race in Jeddah.

"As we saw yesterday, the midfield is very tight and had we done a better job today, there was an opportunity to race for points. Fortunately, we have a chance to come back straight away, resolve the issues and race better in Saudi Arabia."

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BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 02: Alexander Albon of Thailand and Williams prepares to drive on the grid prior to the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on March 02, 2024 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Alpine

Starting at the back of the field, it was always going to be a long night for the Alpine pair. Gasly’s night was made worse by a very slow pit stop, so in some ways it is encouraging that they only came home one lap down on the leaders. In truth, the team used much of the race as a data gathering session, with lots of work to do ahead of Saudi Arabia if they want to climb forward in a very congested midfield.

Esteban Ocon, 17th

“Today was a continuation of what we saw in Qualifying yesterday and, overall, it has not been the weekend we wanted. Most importantly we had a clean race and collected valuable data that we can take into the race in Jeddah next week. It will be interesting to see how we fare on different layouts and in different conditions. We’ll dig in and put our heads together during the short break between races and see where we can improve. We have to stay focused, stay positive and keep going in the right direction. Collectively as a team we have to keep our heads up and foot down going to Saudi Arabia.”

Pierre Gasly, 18th

“It was not our day but probably what we expected in the end. I had a great launch off the line, passed a couple of cars but then I was caught by some Turn 1 chaos with cars spinning in front, which put me back. That was not ideal but after that, we did all we could do with what we had in our hands today. We have many areas to keep improving and I know the hard work will continue behind the scenes. We have to keep making steps forward as we are not where we want to be right now. Next week it’s a different track, a new opportunity and a fresh challenge for us to keep showing progress.”

Bruno Famin, Team Principal

“We knew the start of the season was going to be difficult and that has been the case in Bahrain. That said, we are doing everything we can with what we have right now and we will keep finding improvements and making progress each time we are on track. Credit to the team and the drivers for their efforts here in Bahrain over the last couple of weeks. The togetherness of the team will shine through. Next week we go to Jeddah, a completely different track to Bahrain, which brings a new opportunity to keep learning and progressing our A524 package. The hard work will continue.”

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BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 02: Esteban Ocon of France driving the (31) Alpine F1 A524 Renault leads Pierre Gasly of France driving the (10) Alpine F1 A524 Renault during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on March 02, 2024 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Pirelli

Mario Isola, Motorsport Director

“The first Grand Prix of 2024 seemed almost like an extension to the previous season with Verstappen easily leaving the rest of the field in his wake, while it was all very close behind him. It’s no coincidence that there were five teams in the ten points scoring positions, pretty much in the same order as they finished last season, the only exception being Ferrari ahead of Mercedes. In terms of how the tyres performed, there were no surprises: in fact the tyres are practically the same as those from last year’s race here and the three days of testing prior to this race meant the teams were able to analyse every aspect of their performance. The slightly cooler temperatures meant the Soft was even more competitive, because there was less degradation taking into consideration the nature of the track. However, only Red Bull made a bold choice in terms of strategy, while the others preferred to play it safe, keeping two sets of Hard for the race.”

HIGHLIGHTS: Relive the action from the Bahrain Grand Prix as Verstappen takes first victory of 2024

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