BBC TopGear
BBC TopGear
Subscribe to Top Gear magazine
Sign up to our Top Gear Magazine
Formula One

The six biggest talking points from the (dreadful) Bahrain Grand Prix

You fell asleep right? Not just us then. Catch up on the main takeaways from Red Bull’s dominant 1-2

Bahrain Grand Prix 2024
  • It’s gonna be a long year…

    It’s gonna be a long year…

    … unless you’re an insomniac, in which case F1 might be the miracle cure you’ve been looking for.

    We hoped against hope that the pack had closed in on Red Bull over the winter break, but in Max Vertstappen’s hands the RB20 was untouchable, grabbing pole position, leading the entire race, scoring the fastest lap and taking the chequered flag more than 20 seconds clear of his teammate. That makes it 18 wins in the last 19 grands prix for the world champion. Gulp.

    Meanwhile P2 to P9 were covered by just three tenths in qualifying, suggesting that F1 might actually be quite exciting if the 26-year-old got bored and took a sabbatical to do sim racing full time, or something.

    Anyway, the crumb of comfort - and it is only a crumb - is that Bahrain is a track that heavily rewards good tyre wear (a major Red Bull strength), so it’s possible that Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes might get close enough to snatch the odd win at other circuits.

    But on current evidence, the world championship is only gonna go one way.

    Advertisement - Page continues below
  • Most of the drama happened in the paddock

    Most of the drama happened in the paddock

    Not satisfied with dominating on track, Red Bull did its level best to do the same off track too: virtually every column inch and second of screen time covering F1 was dedicated to the crisis that has consumed the team and its boss Christian Horner this weekend.

    We’ve covered all of it (we think) in a separate article, but the TL;DR version is that the complaint against Horner was dismissed, then alleged messages between him and a colleague were leaked online, and now Max Verstappen’s dad Jos has publicly told Horner to clear his desk.

    Yep, Red Bull is in a civil war. And it’s still coasting to easy 1-2 finishes.

  • Ferrari found another new way to ruin its own race

    Ferrari found another new way to ruin its own race

    Some things don’t change, do they? Ferrari were Red Bull’s closest challengers in Bahrain, and Charles Leclerc actually set a faster lap than Verstappen in qualifying. He just forgot to do it in Q3 when it mattered instead of Q2. Oops.

    And come race day Leclerc simply fell away from the frontrunners, losing places to George Russell, Sergio Perez and then teammate Carlos Sainz as a problem with the brakes forced him into repeated lock-ups.

    The issue eventually eased and he clawed his way back to P4, finishing some 40 seconds behind Verstappen. Wonder if Ferrari will learn to nail both pace and reliability this side of Christmas... 2030?

    Advertisement - Page continues below
  • Tsunoda vs Ricciardo is the grudge match we didn’t know we needed

    Tsunoda vs Ricciardo is the grudge match we didn’t know we needed

    This got a bit spicy, didn’t it? Locked in an engrossing battle for, er, P12, Yuki Tusnoda was ordered to let teammate Daniel Ricciardo past so that he could attack the Haas of Kevin Magnussen with his quicker soft tyres.

    Tsunoda… did not appreciate this. He protested at the team orders for a lap and when he did eventually let D Ric past, bemoaned what he felt was the Aussie’s lack of pace.

    Indeed, Ricciardo never made it past Magnussen and when the pair crossed the line, Tsunoda made a point of dive-bombing past the other RB twice on the cool down lap. Meanwhile the team radio turned into Bleep FM. More please!

  • Lance Stroll made a strong comeback

    Lance Stroll made a strong comeback

    Credit where credit is due (that’s become the go to phrase whenever Lance Stroll does anything good, hasn’t it?), the Aston Martin driver was punted into last place in Turn 1, and with no sign of a safety car you’d have thought Stroll would be in for a long and fruitless evening.

    Not so. The Canadian driver got his head down and gradually made up places, eventually crossing the line in P10 to grab the final point, less than 20 seconds behind teammate Fernando Alonso.

    Might Stroll be about to make things click in his *checks notes*… eighth season in F1?

  • Alpine has reached rock bottom

    Alpine has reached rock bottom

    Not to say we told you so, but… “Alpine will discover that it has succeeded… by plunging towards the back of the grid". That was TG’s prediction last week, and alas it came to pass. Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly qualified in P19 and P20 in Bahrain, and the only cars they beat in the race were the Sauber of Valtteri Bottas (who suffered a 52-second pit stop) and the Williams of Logan Sargeant (who lost a tonne of time with a brake bias fault).

    Technical director Matt Harman and head of aero Dirk de Beer have now both quit. Where does Alpine go from here?

More from Top Gear

See more on Formula One

Subscribe to the Top Gear Newsletter

Get all the latest news, reviews and exclusives, direct to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, you agree to receive news, promotions and offers by email from Top Gear and BBC Studios. Your information will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

BBC TopGear

Try BBC Top Gear Magazine