All according to the script? Almost. The 2024 world championship began as it had finished in 2023, with Red Bull winning with Max Verstappen, followed by his teammate Sergio Perez, ahead of the two Ferraris.

Verstappen confirmed all his peace of mind in the management of his car and race times. When he wanted to, he set the fastest lap to then manage the lead accumulated over both Perez (22”) and Sainz (25”).

This is precisely the news. As well as confirming itself as the second force, Ferrari confirmed the improvement that emerged during the collective tests in both performance and tyre management. In fact, the 2023 gap was significantly greater (48”).  However, all this is still not enough to achieve a win.

Red Bull did not show all its potential. In race management, Verstappen’s pace was better than his teammate by almost half a second. But, above all, throughout the grand prix he managed the car, choosing when to push.

The continuity of the regulations gave us an upwards compaction of the performances that was seen particularly in qualifying with fifteen cars enclosed within one second. The slightest mistake really is enough to nullify the work. We saw this with Leclerc in Q3. Due to a very slight slip, he did not repeat the time set in Q2 (1:29.165) losing pole position to Verstappen (1:29.179).

The result of the GP reflects what had emerged from the tests with Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren and Aston Martin.

At the end we witnessed the exchange of positions in Racing Bull between Tsunoda and Ricciardo. An operation I, honestly, would not have made since Ricciardo had been behind his teammate all week. At least the Australian should have given back the positions to the teammate once he understood he could not have overtaken Magnussen. Unfortunately, this did not happen.

In a week’s time they will go back to the track (always on the Saturday) in Saudi Arabia where higher temperatures than those experienced in Bahrain are expected, with a slight change in the tyre compounds (C2-C3-C4).

Gian Carlo Minardi