The season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix did not fail to deliver a sensational show with Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull racer Max Verstappen battling it out in a nail-biting race in Manama, indicating that the sport could be in for an excellent year in 2021.
"It was nice to be racing and I had a good little tussle at the beginning, making a few places and losing a few places. I thought it was a well-executed race. The first stint was tricky but the second and third were as good as can be and our relative pace was quite strong. That was the maximum today and I think our relative pace was good. I’m now looking forward to Imola and assessing where we are there."Nicholas Latifi
"I was pleasantly surprised with how the handling of the car felt in the race. We were expecting something quite tricky to handle but, irrespective of the issue that caused us to retire, I was surprised with the driveability of the car. It’s still not where we want to be, but I think that was a positive going forward.
"Straight away from the first laps, even with the laps to the grid, I felt we were getting some oscillations in the engine with power and it seems we had a suspected boost leak which is why we had to retire in the end. We tried to stay out for as long as possible, hoping that a few cars might retire, but in the last half of the race we were just circulating and not really racing. It’s not how you want the first race to go but that is just motorsport sometimes.
“I’m happy I managed to score points in my first Grand Prix – I think this race showed how great the performance of the car is. I have to say, I’m a bit disappointed still as I lost a few positions on the first lap – due to being too cautious – and had to work throughout the race to recover these.
"I’ve learnt a lot here in Bahrain, which is really positive, and I will take this with me to Imola. I had some strong overtakes during the race and, for me, overtaking Fernando was quite an emotional experience, he’s a Formula 1 superstar that I’ve grown up watching, so that was pretty exciting. I’m really proud of my performance and I’m looking forward to seeing how we do next time out.”Pierre Gasly
“I’m obviously very disappointed right now because we’ve had a very strong weekend since we arrived. Starting from P5 I was hoping for some good points today, but my race was pretty much over after the contact with Daniel in lap one. I broke the front wing, I had floor damage and I was obviously very far behind after just one lap, so my race was almost finished from there.
"It’s a big shame because we’ve shown some good pace all weekend and we haven’t managed to get the rewards of that today, but I think there are still quite a lot of positives to take-away from this weekend and that’s what we’ll look at for Imola.”
Alfa RomeoKimi Räikkönen
“It wasn’t a bad race, we had some good fights and the car behaved nicely, but it’s disappointing not to bring home points when we were in the top ten nearly all night. Had the race been a few laps longer, we probably would have been able to catch the cars in front but we will keep trying. The car felt good, as it did in testing, so it is clear we have made a step forward compared to last year: we still have a bit to work to close the gap with the top five teams, but we keep fighting to find that little bit extra.”Antonio Giovinazzi
“Compared to the start of last season, we are much faster and have a much better car so we can be happy about the step forward we have made. It wasn’t enough to bring home points today, but we are very close to the top ten and we can consistently fight for the points. My race was good, I think I got everything I could out of the car, but of course we lost time at the first pit-stop.
"In the end, mistakes do happen and we have to learn from them and make sure we don’t do them again next time; without the issue, I would have probably been close to where Kimi ended. Now my focus is on Imola, racing again in my home country and hopefully achieving a good result to make the Tifosi at home happy.”
Red BullMax Verstappen
“We definitely made good steps forward today but it’s of course a shame not to get the win. We were having to manage a couple of issues throughout the race which I had to drive around so we will have to look into that but there are positives to take from today and the whole weekend. Mercedes did the undercut but we stuck to our strategy which was working fine, the problem is that with these cars, it’s so hard to pass and once you have that track position it’s pretty powerful.
"As soon as I got close enough to Lewis I had one shot and I just went outside of the track at Turn 4 so I gave the position back, but by then my tyres weren’t in a good state anymore to put the pressure on. We have to look at the positives, we are taking the fight to Mercedes and I think that’s great, it’s good to start the season this way and we managed to score some good points for the Team. We will analyse what we can do better as there are always things you can improve and it’s great to get Honda’s 200th podium this weekend. Now it’s full focus on the next race.”Sergio Perez
“Considering my race almost didn’t happen today, I think overall we can be pleased with today and take away the positives as the pace was really good and the potential is there. On the formation lap, all of a sudden the car shut down and I was so close to jumping out but I stayed in and somehow the car got going again which was a miracle really.
"That meant we had to start from the pit lane which wasn’t ideal but we managed to recover and I was just happy to complete the race and get that important mileage under my belt. It was really important to get that and of course it is a shame that Max didn’t win the race for the Team but it will come I’m sure and we will get there. We’ve got a lot of data to analyse now so that we understand everything and make sure we come back stronger at the next race in Imola.”
"It’s a nice start and a good feeling and I am reasonably happy with the race today. I cannot be extremely satisfied with P6, but at the end of the day we need to look at where we were last year and it’s clear we have made good progress.
"I had a very good start. I found myself in third place and managed my tyres quite well in the first stint. I think there was probably a bit more left in them, but we had to stop and try to push the others towards different strategies, which was the right thing to do, but it might have cost us a little bit in terms of pace at the end of the race. All in all, it was a good race and a positive weekend and we made a good step forward compared to last season. We’re still not where we want to be, so we need to keep working and pushing very hard to get better in the coming races."Carlos Sainz
"I think we had a solid first race today. It was very important for me to complete all the laps and keep building experience with the car. Maybe that’s the reason why this time I didn’t take too many risks at the start and it cost me a couple of places. I was curious to see how the car reacted in the dirty air of a race start and I knew I would have the opportunity to fight back once I got into my rhythm.
"Once the race settled a bit, I started pushing lap by lap and I think we showed a very strong pace with the Medium tyre and especially with the Hard tyre during the last stint. I also managed to pull of some good overtakes. Today I’m happy for the work we have been doing the entire weekend. Ferrari wants more. I want more. But it has been a promising start and we’ll keep pushing to get there."
"First one down! I think overall it’s been a good weekend. We can’t complain with that result. I think from the team’s perspective as well it’s good to hit the road with fourth and seventh. I think there’s plenty to learn from. I wasn’t that impressed with my race. We couldn’t find the pace, so every time I tried to get a bit more out of it, it wasn’t really there – but I think there’s plenty to take from the race, plenty to learn from. If what I felt was an okay race ended with a P7, we’re looking alright. We’ll take the positives and learn from the data. Overall, a good weekend for the whole team, and a good first race for McLaren. Thanks to the guys back at MTC and here at the track for their hard work and preparation.”Lando Norris
"Very happy. A good result not just for myself but for us as a team. A good amount of points for this first weekend, I stayed out of trouble and I'm very happy. It's encouraging that we were able to fight with pure pace. It's a good start – big thanks to the team here and everyone back at the MTC."
“I’m pleased to come away with a point, but it is fair to say we wanted more from today. We had a strong first half of the race and we made up some positions. I felt comfortable in the car and we were racing hard against the cars around us. We tailed off a little bit in the second half of the race on the hard tyres, but there are plenty of positives to take away. I enjoyed some good battles too, especially with Fernando (Alonso) early on. We know there are some areas where we can improve and everything we have learned this weekend will help us in the races to come. We have a few weeks before the next race to work on those things.”Sebastian Vettel
"It was quite a tricky race. We tried to do something different with the strategy – by stopping only once – but it did not pay off in the end. I think we made the right decision to try it, but by the end of the race my tyres were falling off the cliff. The start of the race was strong: I made a good start and I was well positioned after lap one. But it was not easy to make progress after that.
"I picked up a small flat spot and we had to extend the first stint to try and make the one-stop strategy work. In the end, it just wasn’t possible to score points today. Even though it has not been the best weekend, we have continued learning together and understanding where we can improve. There is definitely the potential to take some good steps forward in the races to come.”
It takes t̶w̶o̶ three to tango. 💃 pic.twitter.com/S2otjla30m— Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team (@AstonMartinF1) March 28, 2021
"Firstly, can I just say it's the first time I have seen fans in a long time, it's so good to see people out here and everyone keeping their distance and staying safe. I'm so proud of what Formula One has been able to do, to start on a normal schedule this year and wow, what a difficult race that was! Definitely by stopping early, we knew it would be difficult, but we had to cover Max and keep the track position in the lead. They have had an amazing performance all weekend, so it was going to take something pretty special to get the win tonight.
"We stopped for that last stint and trying to find the right balance between pushing hard and saving tyre performance for the end of the race was difficult. And Max was all over me right at the end but I just about managed to hold him off. It was one of the hardest races I've had for a while so I'm really grateful for it and massively thankful for the men and the women back at the factory and here, for continuously pushing the boundaries and never giving up, even if we do feel we're behind. But we love the challenge, I love the challenge, I love what I do."Valtteri Bottas
"We lost a lot of time on the slow pit stop otherwise it was a close race with Red Bull. The cars were quite close on pace but if you lose 10 seconds like that, racing against Max and Lewis, you are not going to get that back. On a personal level it's not satisfying but at least as a team, we have more points than Red Bull.
"It was the right thing at the end to stop for new tyres and set the fastest lap so we have an extra point. The car was more drivable today, it was better than yesterday and we are continuing to make steps forward. Hopefully we can make further progress. We have three weeks of work ahead of us before Imola. If you had said at testing that we would have two drivers on the podium and be top of the Constructors' table after the first race, we would have taken it."
“It wasn’t the result we wanted today, but there were certainly lots of positives. We were fighting for most of the race with a number of cars with fun, wheel to wheel battles. Even with Seb [Vettel] at the end, he locked up and went into me. He apologised, we all make mistakes, and that happens sometimes. We were just a little bit short overall today. Qualifying didn’t help us as it meant we always had places to gain. We showed our fighting spirit during this race and that’s quite important. We move onto the next race as a team, aiming to get back to scoring points.”Fernando Alonso
“Firstly, it was great to be back racing in Formula 1. The start was fun, we gained some places and I had some enjoyable battles with old colleagues. However, it was disappointing to not see the chequered flag in the end. The issue we had after the second stop was a rear brake issue as some debris entered the brake ducts and overheated the temperatures of the car. Looking at the race it was very close in the midfield, and just a couple of tenths seems to change the order quite significantly. I think it’s going to be a very interesting and competitive season to watch. We’ll go again and fight hard in Imola.”
“In general, I’d say I was 90 percent happy and 10 percent not – because of the mistake I made, the spin, at the Safety Car restart. Luckily the car was still drivable, everything was alright so I could keep going and continue to build on my experience through the race weekend. Obviously, after that I went through the C3 and the C2, which felt really good.
"It was a bit of a shame that I wasn’t in the pack to be able to at least try to be close to the guys for a few laps. Fortunately, I did get through things like blue flags and I caught up to Nicholas (Latifi) – so I was able to feel how it was to follow a car closely and have DRS. Overall, I feel like I’ve learned a lot, and hopefully I’m able to convert that into something positive for the next race.”Nikita Mazepin
“It was very simple – I made a mistake. It was just one of those things. My start had been good, I got into Turn 1 taking the outside line. I was then going through Turn 2 and I was really trying to avoid Mick (Schumacher) as he was close and got too much on power – the tyres didn’t take it. They were cold, I got on the kerb, took too much throttle and spun. It was totally my mistake, it’s very disappointing. I’m very sorry for the team as they deserved to do much better than that. Obviously, there’s always positives you can take – the learning experience is obviously there.