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'Competition doesn't exist' in 2024 - Bahrain Grand Prix hot takes

'Competition doesn't exist' in 2024 - Bahrain Grand Prix hot takes

'Competition doesn't exist' in 2024 - Bahrain Grand Prix hot takes

'Competition doesn't exist' in 2024 - Bahrain Grand Prix hot takes

Max Verstappen started the 2024 season off in ominous style, cruising to victory in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

Having claimed 19 of the 22 race victories in 2023, the three-time world champion won his first of 2024 around the Bahrain International Circuit, beating team-mate Sergio Perez by over 22 seconds.

Carlos Sainz in the Ferrari rounded off the podium, with team-mate Charles Leclerc behind him in fourth, despite having started alongside Verstappen on the front row.

Here are the GPFans team's takes on the main talking points from the season-opening race in Bahrain, the first of 24 in a mammoth season.

READ MORE: Bahrain F1 Grand Prix 2024 results: Verstappen survives early scrap to win as rivals suffer NIGHTMARE

Max Verstappen claimed victory in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix
The Ferraris of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc followed the two Red Bulls in third and fourth

GPFans journalists on the Bahrain Grand Prix

Stuart Hodge - Chief Editor

Formula 1 is the most exciting sport in the world… yeah, until the cars start racing again.

After an F1 off-season which has lurched with intrigue, a daily thrill ride of chaos amid the biggest driver switch and potentially the most salacious scandal in the sport’s modern history - the Formula 1 show itself was absolutely dross on its return in Bahrain.

READ MORE: Journalist claims Horner ‘messages’ leaked from anonymous email account

The intra-Ferrari duel gave some flickers of excitement but after the first corner, it was another protracted Red Bull procession, and that’s what the whole season is going to be, most likely.

What’s the point in a mammoth 24-race calendar if they’re all going to be this boring?

Dan Ripley - Deputy Editor

It wasn't a hot take to suggest Max Verstappen would win the Bahrain Grand Prix, perhaps the bigger question was 'by how much?'

After a tight qualifying, it looked like we had a Red Bull vs Ferrari battle on our hands - like the good old days of early 2022. Now, it just looks like Verstappen had enough sand in those bags to fill the coast of Zandvoort - where at this rate he will arrive at the Dutch Grand Prix later this summer with 14 straight grand prix wins.

Let's not panic YET though. Bahrain is not the best track to gauge outright pace given the troubles in finding an ideal car balance across a weekend. Red Bull's F1 rivals looked off colour on race day in Sakhir but for the sake of a thrilling championship fight let's hope they really have had 'just an off-weekend' straight out the blocks.

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes looked out of sorts at the Bahrain Grand Prix

Ronan Murphy - Social Media Editor

You know those guys who programmed a smart fridge so it could run DOOM? Do you think they might be able to reconfigure a Formula 1 steering wheel so it can play iRacing? That might be the only way to make F1 interesting for Max Verstappen again.

At least when he’s driving his virtual cars around the track there’s a bit of competition. Formula 1 was too easy for him too often in 2023, and it looks even easier in 2024. You wouldn’t blame him if he decided to retire.

READ MORE: Horner in defiant stance with wife Geri after Verstappen win

When the rest of us are bored at work, we can open Youtube and go down a rabbit hole of Moon Landing and Birds Don’t Exist conspiracies, but Max must be bored out of his tree for two hours every Sunday.

And let’s be real here. Birds don’t exist. Nor does competition for the Formula 1 World Championship.

Shay Rogers - Lead Researcher

A shocking grand prix has left me speechless. It doesn’t look like there’s any hope for the fans this season, with Red Bull looking as imperious as ever and the rest of the field seemingly unable to get even half of their acts together.

A few showed improvement in race trim, with Haas a standout across the race. They may have fixed their ugly tyre problems finally.

Alpine really are as bad as some predicted too. Resignations within the team mean that they have perhaps the steepest of all hills to climb in 2024, and that’s saying something.

Alpine look to be very slow

Chris Deeley - US Lead Editor

Red Bull, good. Mercedes, frustrating. Ferrari, basically fine. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

After two days of real intrigue in practice and qualifying, the race was just a carbon copy of a mid-late 2023 results sheet, albeit with Alpine dropped down a few places. Liberty Media are bound to be looking very nervously at their viewing figure projections for the rest of the season.

Still, Sainz having a couple of pops at Leclerc early on was fun, wasn't it?

Lauren Sneath - F1 Journalist

This race was really over before it began – any hope of a fight between Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez quickly vanished. I doubt the Dutchman broke a sweat. As viewers, we weren’t going to find any excitement in a fight for P1, but even looking further back in the line-up there were very few interesting tussles.

The MVP had to be Carlos Sainz (Verstappen doesn’t get a look in when he’s cruising 20 seconds from P2 in his rocket ship). Getting dropped by Ferrari has definitely fired Sainz up to take on Charles Leclerc, and he was clearly the stronger driver in red, despite Leclerc’s braking woes.

Mercedes and McLaren were underwhelming – given that the latter were fighting for podiums at the end of last season, today is all the more disappointing. Again, looking at Alonso’s stunning podium this time last year, Aston Martin showed little to no promise when it comes to challenging for spots higher up the grid.

Sam Cook - F1 Journalist

Another season, another Max Verstappen victory. Not the best advertisement for the sport, particularly with a mammoth 24-race season on the way.

The question after this race will be 'can we reduce that number of races?' Not for 2025, but for 2024. There's no telling how much more of Verstappen's supreme dominance the sport can take.

READ MORE: Horner and Red Bull saga has created paddock 'GOLDFISH bowl'

Sure, Mercedes won eight constructors' titles in a row, but a fair few of those eight seasons featured at least a half-decent drivers' championship battle.

Let's hope Sergio Perez can take the fight to Verstappen in 2024, but it almost feels as though his second-place finish achieved in Bahrain is the absolute best he can hope for at the moment.

F1 fans are desperate for Sergio Perez to return to form

Tyler Rowlinson - F1 Journalist

All the build up, all the excitement for another F1 season, to be brought right back to reality after not even half a lap of the opening race and the Dutch national anthem blaring in our ears for another season it seems.

The Ferrari battle this season is shaping up to be an interesting watch. We’ve seen a more feisty and aggressive Carlos Sainz which will no doubt be down to him not having a seat for next year. We could very well see him stray away from team player to focusing on himself as he looks to prove that he is still worthy of an F1 seat.

Williams’ reliability problems from testing was on show again with Sargeant’s bizarre incident and could be a big concern for the team as they look to improve on last year.

Alpine were disastrous… and even that is perhaps putting it lightly. They look incredibly off the pace and the discontent amongst their talented lineup is clear to see. Could well be a horrible season for the French outfit.

Cal Gaunt - Editor

Off-track drama dominated the headlines from Bahrain and will continue to do so in the wake of what was a sadly boring race that echoed the entirety of the 2023 season. Nobody was surprised to see Max leave the rest of the grid, including his team-mate, in the dust.

READ MORE: Hamilton admits Mercedes worry with just ONE Bahrain positive

My personal highlight was seeing the Ferrari's of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz do battle, with the Spaniard evidently keen on making his mark in 2024 after being brutally dropped for the incumbent Hamilton.

That said, the further down the grid you got, the more interesting it got. The likes of Sauber showed promise with Zhou Guanyu in P11 and Haas look a more formidable outfit in the post-Steiner era. A long, long way to go, though.

There will be plenty to unpack from the Visa Cash App RB debrief, too, who managed to leave both of their drivers furious with a late driver swap request. Tsunoda, as per his team radio exchanges, has certainly not mastered the art of VISA withdrawals.

READ MORE: F1 team-mate battles: Hamilton pressure is on at Mercedes as rivals clash


Red Bull Max Verstappen Ferrari Carlos Sainz Sergio Perez Charles Leclerc
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