Team by team analysis of F1 season-opening grand prix

Team-by-team analysis of Sunday’s season-opening Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix, listed in championship order:

RED BULL (Max Verstappen 1, Sergio Perez 2)

Verstappen won a season-opener for the first time and added Bahrain to his list of victories in a dream start to his bid for a third successive title. He started on pole for the 21st time in his career, with Perez alongside, and cruised to a dominant 36th career win. Perez lost out to Leclerc at the start but recovered the position later.

ASTON MARTIN (Fernando Alonso 3, Lance Stroll 6)

Alonso was voted Driver of the Day. He started fifth for his first race with Aston Martin following his move from Alpine, passed Hamilton and went wheel-to-wheel with Sainz for the final podium spot. Stroll started eighth, two weeks after he broke both wrists and a toe in a cycling accident. The Canadian clipped the back of Alonso’s car at turn four on the opening lap, with the Spaniard dropping to seventh but fighting back.

MERCEDES (Lewis Hamilton 5, George Russell 7)

Russell started sixth and Hamilton seventh, with the latter gaining two places at the start. Both ran a soft/hard/hard tyre strategy. A slow first pitstop dropped Russell to eighth but he moved back up when Leclerc retired.

FERRARI (Carlos Sainz 4, Charles Leclerc retired)

Leclerc and Sainz started on the second row, with the Monegasque using a fresh set of soft tyres saved from qualifying to take second from Perez into the first corner. Leclerc then pulled over with a loss of power 17 laps from the end. Sainz inherited third but was passed by Alonso on fresher tyres.

ALFA ROMEO (Valtteri Bottas 8, Guanyu Zhou 16)

Bottas made a great start from 12th on the grid and managed to stay ahead of Gasly at the finish. Zhou set the fastest lap on the soft tyre on the penultimate lap of the race but without gaining the bonus point as he finished outside the top 10.

ALPINE (Pierre Gasly 9, Esteban Ocon retired)

Gasly scored after starting his first race for Alpine at the back of the grid after his qualifying lap was deleted for a track limits breach. He made the first pitstop on lap 10 and then two more. Ocon collected a five-second penalty for being out of his grid position and was then handed a further, 10-second, penalty for serving the first one incorrectly. A third, five-second, penalty followed for speeding in the pitlane.

WILLIAMS (Alex Albon 10, Logan Sargeant 12)

Albon scored a point from 15th on the grid as Williams closed the gap among the tail-enders. U.S. rookie Sargeant started 16th and had a solid debut.

ALPHATAURI (Yuki Tsunoda 11, Nyck de Vries 14)

Tsunoda lost some positions at the start to the Williams drivers and struggled to match their straight-line speed. He made his last pitstop during a virtual safety car period. De Vries made his second F1 start, and first as a full-time driver, from the back row.

HAAS (Kevin Magnussen 13, Nico Hulkenberg 15)

Hulkenberg, starting a full season for the first time since 2019, was sixth fastest in qualifying but started 10th after having his lap deleted for exceeding track limits. He then dropped to 15th after making contact with Ocon’s Alpine on the first lap, damaging his front wing.

MCLAREN (Lando Norris 17, Oscar Piastri retired)

Piastri retired on his debut after pitting on lap 14. The Australian needed a new steering wheel but the car could not get going again and he was wheeled into the garage. Norris qualified 11th, a grid position he reckoned was about the best he could do with the car lacking downforce.


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