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Bahrain Grand Prix 2021

What we learned from the 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix

A thrilling Formula 1 season-opener saw Lewis Hamilton come out on top against Max Verstappen after a hard-fought battle in the closing stages of the race. RacingNews365.com has analysed the weekend to give you the details of what we can take away from the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Bahrein 2021 start
To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool / Getty Images

There have not been many other opening races to a Formula 1 season as dramatic is the 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix. The sport's top two drivers treated millions of people around the world to an almighty race-long scrap and it was Lewis Hamilton who was victorious.

Max Verstappen was disappointed to lose out after his off-track overtake and was forced to give up the lead to Hamilton. The Red Bull driver was unable to reclaim first place and lost out by seven tenths at the chequered flag.

Valtteri Bottas rounded out the podium whilst Lando Norris was the best of the midfield runners with an impressive fourth place effort.

The first of many lead battles in 2021

Hamilton versus Verstappen is box office entertainment and their battle on Sunday lived up to every expectation. Differing strategies saw the pair go to the peak of their powers in an attempt to beat each other.

Despite half of the Grand Prix remaining, Hamilton managed to make 28 laps on the hard tyre compound work suggesting tyre wear will not be a weakness for Mercedes in 2021.

Verstappen executed every part of his strategy perfectly until his attempted overtake on Hamilton.

It's remarkable to think that after hundreds of hours in the factory and so many sacrifices from mechanics and engineers, Red Bull and Mercedes have produced two very different cars that end up with similar performance and are separated by less than a second after 300km.

			© Red Bull Content Pool / Getty Images
	© Red Bull Content Pool / Getty Images

Hamilton remains in peak form

Hamilton had one of his most consistent F1 campaigns in 2020. Despite only putting pen to paper for a new contract a month before pre-season testing, he is still the man to beat.

To execute 28 laps on a track which is notoriously difficult on the tyres is something he does best and no driver on the grid can match him in this department.

Many thought Verstappen would pull away after the opening laps but Hamilton continued to pile on the pressure and other than an error at the trick turn 10 hairpin, he did not put a foot wrong.

If Verstappen wants to stop Hamilton from winning a record-breaking eighth drivers' title, it will take a mighty effort.

Ferrari to renew McLaren rivalry

Ferrari were perhaps the surprise of the weekend as both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz impressed throughout the Bahrain Grand Prix.

They have made the biggest step forward out of all the teams on the grid over the winter. Compared to the Bahrain event from December, Ferrari are no longer sitting ducks on the straights and appear to be the team that can give McLaren a hard time in the battle for third place in the constructors' championship.

It's not what they ultimately want but it's a big relief for the people back at Maranello. Their driver line-up could be very handy too and Sainz proved he will push Leclerc very hard in 2021.

			© Ferrari
	© Ferrari

Vettel faces a vital spell in his career

There may only have been one round completed in the 2021 Formula 1 world championship but the driver under a huge amount of pressure has to be Sebastian Vettel.

The next 4-5 events are crucial for his confidence and to build some momentum at Aston Martin. Pre-season testing was poor and things only got worse for the four-time world champion as he got caught out by yellow flags in qualifying which handed him a five-grid place penalty.

He then collected the back of Esteban Ocon's Alpine to add to his troubles, giving him a total of five penalty points in the space of 12 hours.

It's been a nightmare start to Vettel's Aston Martin career.

Haas are in serious trouble

Nikita Mazepin was a big talking point for much of the weekend and for all the wrong reasons. Four spins on Saturday including a mistake in qualifying to the annoyance of Vettel and Ocon were only the start of his troubles.

The Russian driver spun once again in the race and this time it ended in a shunt at turn three. Bizarrely, Mick Schumacher suffered a similar spin a few laps later on the safety car restart, managing to get back underway after a trip through the gravel.

It seems the Haas is a handful and the lack of experience in the team's driver line-up will make things difficult as to how Haas can improve their 2021 machine.

			© Haas
	© Haas

More evidence for a classic F1 season

The battle at the front is exactly what Formula 1 needs after two seasons when Mercedes wrapped up the championship relatively early. Everything from Bahrain suggests the Hamilton versus Verstappen duel will go down to the wire.

There will be twists and turns and even if the title is not won at the final race, there are set to be some sensational Grand Prix in 2021.

Ferrari's resurgence is much-needed for the sport too and there fight with McLaren is great to see after some troublesome years for both teams in the turbo-hybrid era.

The midfield is full of talent and AlphaTauri will join the battle too with Yuki Tsunoda impressing the paddock in Bahrain even though his results on paper did not set the world alight.

Alfa Romeo have definitely made gains whilst Alpine and Aston Martin will be eager to see whether they will be stronger at other tracks.

The three week break until the next round at Imola will be crucial for the teams and we could see plenty of new parts and upgrades on the cars next time they are out on the race track.

It will be fascinating to see if the Bahrain pecking order translates to a similar results sheet in the coming European rounds.

F1 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix RN365 News dossier