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Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix race results: Hamilton beats Verstappen

Lewis Hamilton won a pulsating Bahrain Grand Prix at Sakhir for Mercedes on Sunday, the first race of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship season.

Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix race results: Hamilton beats Verstappen

Mercedes ran a different strategy with Hamilton that gained him the lead after he undercut Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in the first round of stops. But Red Bull didn’t react, running a medium-medium-hard tyre strategy to Hamilton’s medium-hard-hard that looked to swing back in its favour in the second half of the race. Verstappen had to pass Hamilton on track in his final stint, the race climaxing with an on-track fight in the closing laps.

Despite getting ahead with four laps to go, Verstappen was told to hand the place back to Hamilton as he briefly leaving the track as he passed him. After that, Max was unable to get ahead again and Lewis hung on for a fine victory.

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Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix race results: How the race unfolded

After an aborted start for teammate Sergio Perez grinding to a halt on the formation lap, Verstappen led from pole position, chopping across Hamilton’s nose. Haas rookie Nikita Mazepin crashed out at Turn 3, bringing out the safety car but not before Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who started on the soft tyre as opposed to those in front, jumped ahead of Bottas at the exit of Turn 4 to snatch third.

Verstappen backed up the pack for the restart but held on from Hamilton and Leclerc. Pierre Gasly lost his AlphaTauri’s front wing after clipping Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren at Turn 5, while Mick Schumacher spun his Haas at Turn 4 and continued, all of which caused a brief virtual safety car to clear the track.

Verstappen got out of Hamilton’s DRS range by Lap 5, as Bottas reclaimed third from Leclerc using DRS. McLaren’s Lando Norris further demoted Leclerc on Lap 9. Alpine’s Fernando Alonso triggered the pitstop cycle, undercutting past Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, but paid the price later as he tumbled down the order.

In the lead battle, Hamilton pitted first, switching to hards (as he didn’t have any new mediums) but Verstappen stayed out as Hamilton reeled off a sequence of fastest laps. Four laps later, Verstappen suffered a slow stop on Lap 17, rejoining 7s behind Hamilton but on fresh medium tyres. He took his time in closing the gap, and was within 2s when Hamilton pitted again on Lap 29 for a new set of hard tyres to avoid being undercut himself.

Verstappen made his final stop with 16 laps to go, switching to fresh hard tyres and rejoining with a 8.5s deficit. He closed that gap down slowly, careful not to overheat his tyres, while Hamilton drove brilliantly on his 11-laps-older rubber. As the laps ticked down, Verstappen got into DRS range with five laps to go.

Verstappen passed Hamilton at Turn 4 with four laps to go, but he passed him off the track at the exit and handed Hamilton the position back. After a slide, Verstappen fell out of DRS range, but got it back starting the final lap. But Hamilton held on for a brilliant win.

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Bottas suffered a horrendously slow 10.9s second pitstop, but it didn’t cost him any positions such was the Red Bull/Mercedes advantage. Norris finished fourth, ahead of Perez, whose epic comeback netted him fifth. Leclerc finished sixth from Ricciardo, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, AlphaTauri’s rookie Yuki Tsunoda and Stroll.

Alonso retired on Lap 34 with a rear brake failure.

2021 Bahrain Grand Prix race results

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap
1 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 56 -  
2 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 56 0.745 0.745
3 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 56 37.383 37.383
4 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 56 46.466 46.466
5 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull 56 52.047 52.047
6 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 56 59.090 59.090
7 Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 56 1'06.004 1'06.004
8 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 56 1'07.100 1'07.100
9 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 56 1'25.692 1'25.692
10 Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin 56 1'26.713 1'26.713
11 Finland Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 56 1'28.864 1'28.864
12 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 55 1 lap  
13 France Esteban Ocon Alpine 55 1 lap  
14 United Kingdom George Russell Williams 55 1 lap  
15 Germany Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 55 1 lap  
16 Germany Mick Schumacher Haas 55 1 lap  
17 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 52    
18 Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams 51    
  Spain Fernando Alonso Alpine 32    
  Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin Haas 0    

2021 Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix fastest laps

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap
1 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 56 1'32.090  
2 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 41 1'33.228 1.138
3 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull 44 1'33.970 1.880
4 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 44 1'34.015 1.925
5 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 48 1'34.090 2.000
6 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 38 1'34.396 2.306
7 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 48 1'34.509 2.419
8 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 38 1'34.761 2.671
9 Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin 31 1'34.865 2.775
10 Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 36 1'34.932 2.842
11 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 39 1'34.988 2.898
12 United Kingdom George Russell Williams 40 1'35.036 2.946
13 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 32 1'35.122 3.032
14 Finland Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 45 1'35.192 3.102
15 France Esteban Ocon Alpine 33 1'35.250 3.160
16 Germany Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 26 1'35.566 3.476
17 Spain Fernando Alonso Alpine 31 1'36.063 3.973
18 Germany Mick Schumacher Haas 38 1'36.134 4.044
19 Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams 16 1'36.602 4.512

2021 Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix tyre history

Cla Driver Chassis 1 2 3 4
1 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes M 16 H 15 H 28    
2 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull M 20 M 22 H 17    
3 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes M 19 H 14 H 24 M 5
4 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren S 15 M 21 H 23    
5 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull M 5 M 20 H 19 M 23
6 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari S 15 M 20 H 24    
7 Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren S 16 M 19 H 24    
8 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari S 18 M 22 H 19    
9 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri M 18 H 18 H 23    
10 Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin S 15 M 16 H 28    
11 Finland Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo M 13 H 16 M 27    
12 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo M 12 H 18 M 25    
13 France Esteban Ocon Alpine S 13 M 18 H 24    
14 United Kingdom George Russell Williams S 13 M 23 M 19    
15 Germany Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin M 24 H 31        
16 Germany Mick Schumacher Haas M 14 M 19 H 22    
17 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri M 7 H 15 M 23 H 13
18 Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams S 14 M 18 M 19    
  Spain Fernando Alonso Alpine S 14 M 18 H 3    
  Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin Haas M 0            
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Series Formula 1
Event Bahrain GP
Author Charles Bradley
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