Dominant Red Bull surprised Max Verstappen, who makes Saudi Arabia prediction

Max Verstappen cruised to victory at the season opener in Bahrain, enjoying a 22 second lead on second-placed Sergio Perez

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Red Bull started the 2024 Formula 1 season with a bang, securing a 1-2 at the Bahrain Grand Prix. Defending World Champion Max Verstappen took a dominant win, but admitted his surprise as the Austrian team effortlessly cruised to victory. 

After taking the chequered flag with a 22 second margin over Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez, Verstappen admitted that Red Bull’s advantage over the rest of the grid is greater than expected, especially after a tight qualifying battle.

“I think it [the race] was probably better than expected,” Verstappen told the media after the Bahrain GP. “I just felt very comfortable with the car.

“That really showed today, so I’m very happy to kickstart the season like this, but also as a team, to have a 1-2 is just fantastic.”

Perez, who finished ahead of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz after qualifying fifth, echoed the sentiments of his Red Bull teammate, stating: “I think today was a very nice surprise. We were expecting the people around us to be a lot stronger.”

With this 1-2, Red Bull takes an early lead in the Constructors’ Championship ahead Ferrari and Mercedes.

A tougher battle in Jeddah

Despite Red Bull’s healthy winning margin in Bahrain, both Perez and Verstappen appear wary of what the competition may bring to the next race.

Looking ahead to the 2024 Saudi Arabian GP, Verstappen believes that the qualities of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit will better serve the rest of the grid.

“[Jeddah is] a completely different track layout, a lot more high-speed corners,” Verstappen continued. “The tarmac is completely different to what it is here, so less degradation.

Max Verstappen of Red Bull during the 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

“Naturally, probably that will help other teams as well compared to us. It seems like for us always it’s better to have these kinds of tracks [like Bahrain], so I don’t expect that to be easy.”

Perez shared Verstappen’s view on the team’s chances in Jeddah, stating that lower degradation would benefit rival teams, rather than Red Bull itself. 

“I think, like Max says, this [Bahrain] is probably the worst place for degradation,” stated Perez. “So I think the better it is, the closer you will get.

“Jeddah will be a very different challenge. It will be interesting to see where we are there.” 

Jasmine Hughes
Experienced in digital content creation, Jasmine Hughes has written for a number of online publications, joining Total Motorsport in 2024. She previously served as FormulaNerds' Formula E Editor, leading coverage of the 2023 Formula E season. She has been watching Formula 1 since the age of 4, after falling in love with Fernando Alonso's blue-yellow Renault R25.
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