Teams' reaction after the Bahrain Grand Prix

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Bahrain, Bahrain International Circuitbh

The Bahrain Grand Prix saw reigning champion Max Verstappen take his fifth career grand slam by winning the race from pole poisiton, leading every lap of the grand prix and setting the quickest lap. Here is what teams had to say after the season opener in Manama.

Red Bull

Red Bull took a frightening start to their season in Bahrain by having secured a one-two in dominant fashion. Max Verstappen appeared to struggle for pace in the early part of the weekend, but he delivered when it really mattered by beating Ferrari's Charles Leclerc to pole position on Friday evening.

The Dutchman then controlled proceedings in the 57-lap race, showing the kind of dominance he demonstrated last year and during pre-season testing just over a week ago. His team-mate Sergio Perez was unable to secure a place on the front row in qualiying, but the Mexican bounced back in the race, making benefit of the dominant race pace of his RB20.

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."


Ferrari looked strong in testing, but the Scuderia approached the opening race in Manama with caution following their struggles last year. However, both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz demonstrated great pace in qualifying, and they emerged as second force behind Red Bull on Saturday.

Had the Monegasque not been hindered by brake issues, he could have been in the fight for P2 with Sergio Perez. The Bahrain Grand Prix also confirmed that the Maranello-based outfit has made a great job in making their 2024 F1 car less wind-sensitive while they have also ironed out their degradation issues from last season.

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!"


Mercedes were very difficult to read during testing. Their W15 looked very nervous under braking during pre-season testing, although the team's drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell sounded optimisitic after the three days of running in Manama.

The race weekend then confirmed that the W15 is clearly a step forward in every sense with Russell qualifying himself third on the grid. The one-time F1 race winner then took a strong start yesterday, but he and his team-mate were hindered by power unit overheating issues in the race which compromised their chances for a podium finish.

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."


McLaren did not look particularly strong during testing, but the Bahrain International Circuit never used to be their strongest circuit. However, the Woking-based outfit managed to lift their performance both in qualifying and the race, but they still seemed to lack of a few tenths of a second to their direct rivals Ferrari and Mercedes.

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.”

Aston Martin

Aston Martin started the 2023 F1 season in brilliant fashion as Fernando Alonso, who then freshly joined the team, secured three podium finishes in the opening three races of the season. Their 2024 campaign did get off in a less encouraging manner.

The Spaniard delivered a heroic performance in qualifying, but he was unable to keep up with Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes and McLaren on Sunday while his team-mate Lance Stroll was involved in a clash with Nico Hulkenberg at Turn 1 on Lap 1. The Bahrain Grand Prix indicated that the Silverstone-based squad needs to find a few tenths if they are to get involved in the fight for the best-of-the-rest place.

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.”

Kick Sauber

The team that uses a temporary name before its transition into Audi's works team in 2026 has retained its position in the midfield battle. Zhou Guanyu was the winner of that battle which has been established between Kick Sauber, RB, Haas and Williams behind the top five teams. His team-mate Valtteri Bottas had a torrid race though as he lost over 40 seconds during his second pit stop that saw his team struggle to fasten the right front tyre.

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.”


Haas have gone through significant changes over the winter after team owner Gene Haas had deicded to oust former team principal Guenther Steiner and bring in Ayao Komatsu as his replacement. The American outfit had a very difficult season in 2023 as their car suffered from excessive tyre wear despite its encouraging one-lap performance.

The team has been eager to address those issues, and they now appear to have made inroads at that front, and they are now fully immersed in the tight midfield battle with RB, Kick Sauber and Williams.

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.”


The Faenza-based F1 outfit is part of the midfield team that includes Williams, Haas and the Stake Sauber outfits. The team with a brand-new identity has elected to retain the services of Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda for 2024, but the pair appeared to be in conflict when the team asked the Japanese racer to move aside to let his team-mate past in the dying phases of the race.

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.”


Williams was eager to build a car that is less slippery down the straights and can excel in a bigger variety of race tracks. So far, the team has looked less competitive than last year with the FW46 having developed technical issues of different nature in pre-season testing and during the Bahrain race weekend.

The opening race of the season saw both Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant struggle with an overheating power unit which resulted in a loss of outright pace while the American was also hindered by a steering wheel electronics issue.

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."


The Anglo-French outfit had a few strong performances last year, but they elected to overhaul their car for 2024. At the moment, their new F1 challenger appears to lack of outright pace which is partly down to lack of aerodynamic performance while the car is also believed to be massively over the minimum weight limit. Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly were able to complete the full distance of the Bahrain Grand Prix with a two- and a three-stop strategy respectively which could offer plenty of data for the engineers to work through over the coming days.

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.”