Max Verstappen highlights RB20 flaw that may harm Red Bull

Despite storming to victory at the 2024 Bahrain GP, Max Verstappen points out one issue with the Red Bull car

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Max Verstappen has pointed out one area where Red Bull still need to improve despite sealing a dominant victory in the 2024 season curtain raiser at the Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Dutchman clinched pole position, led every single one of the 57 laps around the Bahrain International Circuit, posted the fastest lap and registered his 55th career victory with a 22-second gap to his team-mate Sergio Perez.

It was an ominous display from the three-time world champion, with Mercedes boss Toto Wolff paying him the highest compliment by suggesting Verstappen is in a “different galaxy” and admitting Red Bull are “uncatchable” after just one race out of 24 this year.

While he appeared to be happy with the manner of their dominant victory, Verstappen picked out one area where the team can improve for upcoming races after revealing before the race that he felt qualifying was closer than they expected.

“I do think that we are just not that great on one-lap performance for whatever reason with the car. But luckily, it’s very good in the race for most tracks,” Verstappen said in the drivers’ post-race conference.

“Next year, of course, you focus a little bit more on the race, but it just seems like other teams can maybe extract a little bit more over one lap than us for whatever reason.

“So that’s what we’ll look at for for the coming races. But I really think that also just the circumstances today with the wind helped us out a bit more compared to the last two days, so it was probably not in our favour with how the how the car is responding at the moment.”

No need to panic

Verstappen’s comments won’t come as a surprise to Red Bull or Christian Horner in their incessant quest for perfection. They won 21 of 22 races last year, but were only on pole 14 times.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was the quickest in the Q2 session of qualifying in Bahrain too. The Monegasque’s lap time would have been good enough for pole position, but the 26-year-old struggled to replicate his hot lap in the top-10 shootout.

Max Verstappen leads Charles Leclerc of Ferrari during the 2024 Bahrain GP | Clive Rose/Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Max Verstappen leads Charles Leclerc of Ferrari during the 2024 Bahrain GP | Clive Rose/Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

It was also the case last season, where Leclerc picked up five pole positions but somehow failed to convert a single one of them.

Verstappen, meanwhile, won seven races when not starting at the front of the grid, proving Red Bull’s pace is even greater on Sunday than on a timed lap in qualifying.

That proved to be a good omen for Perez, who could only qualify fifth on Friday in Bahrain before storming his way past Leclerc, Carlos Sainz and George Russell to complete a Red Bull 1-2.

Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who has worked for a number of media organisations, including the Daily Express, The Mirror, Evening Standard, The Independent and Bleacher Report. Joe has been following F1 since when he watched Mika Hakkinen clinch the 1999 drivers' championship, and his first taste of real-life racing action was watching David Coulthard spin off into the gravel at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2001.
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