Max Verstappen’s defence of his 2021 World Championship begins this weekend at the Bahrain Grand Prix, as the new era of Formula 1 begins under the lights at the Bahrain International Circuit.
Verstappen enters this season of course as World Champion, the Dutchman ended pre-season at Bahrain as the fastest driver, giving him plenty of confidence going into the season opener. Verstappen was involved in the big talking point of the 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix, after overtaking fierce rival Lewis Hamilton by going off the circuit. The Dutchman finished second in the end behind Hamilton at Bahrain last year, he will be looking to rectify this at the weekend.
Verstappen is very excited for the season to begin, especially with it being the first Grand Prix of the new era of Formula 1.
“We learnt a lot at testing in Barcelona and Bahrain, I’m very excited to turn our attention to racing now, it’s a whole new era for the sport and anything can happen. The focus is to bring the grid together and make it easier to follow, I hope we see that in the first race. Everything is so new so there are a lot of unknowns heading into the first race of the season.
“I’m looking forward to seeing where we are compared to the rest of the grid come qualifying on Saturday. The car looks good and as a Team we are in a good place. The most important thing for us in Bahrain is to have a stable weekend without too many issues and we hope to score a good amount of points.”
“I am up for the fight” – Sergio Pérez
Verstappen’s Oracle Red Bull Racing team-mate, Sergio Pérez, is entering his second season with the team. The Mexican grew stronger throughout the 2021 season, if Pérez can take this form into the new season, then perhaps he could have a chance at the world title.
Of course this season is one of the most unpredictable in recent years, the new generation of Formula 1 car will present all the teams and drivers with new challenges to overcome. Red Bull are known for being ruthless with their driver line-up, a poor start to the season for Pérez could spell the end of his time at Red Bull, especially if Alex Albon performs strongly at Williams Racing.
Pérez is excited for the new season, the Mexican already feels much more settled with the team this season than he was last year, Pérez like many others though has no idea where the team’s car will position come the season opener.
“I am looking forward to the new season, automatically you feel more settled going into your second year with a team. I feel more prepared because I now know exactly how the Team operate and the Oracle Red Bull Racing philosophy, so that makes a difference. Every team is in the same position starting the season, in that we don’t know the car as much because of the shakeup in regulations but we had a really good test, both in Bahrain and Barcelona.
“It will be interesting to see where everyone is come Sunday when the flag comes down and I think it will make for a good race. I am very excited for 2022 and I know the important thing is that I am consistent throughout the year – I am up for the fight.”