We were treated to an incredible start to the 2021 season with a stunning race in Bahrain, as the battle between Max Verstappen came and Lewis Hamilton came down the last lap.
It sets things up brilliantly for the rest of the season while there were more than enough talking points to fill the three-week gap before the next race, at Imola.
After the race, our writers gave their thoughts on everything Red Bull and Mercedes’ fortunes, THAT stewards decision and Fernando Alonso’s titanium jaw…
What an absolutely cracking race. It had a bit of everything didn’t it? The safety car caused by Mazepin’s spin at the start, some brilliant overtaking and individual drives, a few botched pitstops and an impressive battle up front for the lead.
Red Bull should go away feeling a bit hard done by. They should have had a win and Perez would’ve been in the mix for a podium had his car not shutdown on the formation lap, but the fans should be relishing the prospect of a first real title battle over the course of a season for a very long time.
I can’t remember feeling this excited for a season since 2008 – there’s a proper title fight on our hands and for once, Mercedes look like the underdogs.
For most of the race it seemed like it could be the one that got away for them, as Bottas dropped out of contention and Hamilton seemingly on a doom strategy but the seven-time champion showed all his quality to emerge victorious.
The big issue was clearly Verstappen’s lap 54 overtake on Hamilton in the closing laps. For me the issue is more with the rules themselves than Race Control’s application of them and it’d be a shame to let that overshadow such a good race.
Sergio Perez proved he is exactly what Red Bull needs in their second driver seat with a brilliant recovery drive after his heartbreaking mechanical failure on the formation lap that dropped him from his qualifying position of 11th, to starting last in the pit-lane.
His ability to gain places after his consequential pit lane start is a really good sign for the Mexican’s future at the charging bull and the team’s constructors title hopes.
The pack are tight this close, closer than any other year we have seen in this turbo-hybrid era and it’s shaping up to be a monumental season of battles up and down the grid.
What a dramatic way to start the 2021 F1 season. Mercedes and Hamilton stole a victory from Red Bull – Max Verstappen’s big slide at turn 13 ultimately cost him. If Verstappen is to win the drivers’ title, it’s on him to wrestle it away from Hamilton.
Mclaren and Ferrari look evenly matched, while Aston Martin still has some work to do. Lastly, Fernando Alonso might need more titanium in his jaw with the amount of clenching he’ll do this year. That Alpine is not fast.
Do you agree with our assessments of that afternoon? Let us know on Twitter at @LastLapmag or in the comments below!