Formula 1

2024 Bahrain Grand Prix – What the Drivers are Saying after the Race – Part 1

5 Mins read
Credit: Sam Bloxham / LAT Images

The opening FIA Formula 1 World Championship race of the 2024 season is now in the books, and it was Max Verstappen who completed a Grand Slam, winning the race from pole position, leading all fifty-seven laps and securing fastest lap to boot!

The podium was completed by the second Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 of Sergio Perez, with the podium being completed by Scuderia Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr.

The points scorers in the race look back at their Saturday evenings under the floodlights at the Bahrain International Circuit.

#1 – Max Verstappen – Oracle Red Bull Racing

“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.”

#11 – Sergio Perez – Oracle Red Bull Racing

“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.”

Sergio Perez climbed from fifth on the grid to finish second in Bahrain – Credit: Andy Hone / LAT Images

#55 – Carlos Sainz Jr. – Scuderia Ferrari

“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!”

#16 – Charles Leclerc – Scuderia Ferrari

“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.”

Charles Leclerc suffered with brake issues throughout in Bahrain – Credit: Florent Gooden / DPPI

#63 – George Russell – Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team

“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.”

#4 – Lando Norris – McLaren F1 Team

“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.” 

Lando Norris finished just behind George Russell on Saturday – Credit: Andy Hone / LAT Images

#44 – Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team

“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.”

#81 – Oscar Piastri – McLaren F1 Team

“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.” 

Oscar Piastri scored points in Bahrain for the first time – Credit: Andy Hone / LAT Images

#14 – Fernando Alonso – Aston Martin Aramco Formula 1 Team

“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.” 

#18 – Lance Stroll – Aston Martin Aramco Formula 1 Team

“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.” 

Despite facing the wrong way at turn one on lap one, Lance Stroll finished tenth in Bahrain – Credit: Aston Martin Aramco Formula 1 Team
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Long time motorsport fanatic, covering Formula 1 and the occassional other series. Feel free to give him a follow on Twitter at @Paul11MSport.
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