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Finally, The day has come to say “ITS LIGHTS OUT AND AWAY WE GO!”

Written by Hafiz Akbar and Bruna Brito, Edited by Ishaan More

Following yesterday’s qualifying session, Sebastian Vettel would have already been livid with himself after a disappointing early knock-out. Vettel’s situation was worsened with thanks to Nikita Mazepin’s spin, causing a yellow flag. This resulted in the German’s lap time being reviewed and after thorough examination, he was slapped with a grid penalty and license points penalty.

On the flip side, the Tifosi had reason to celebrate after their young Monegasque driver, Charles Leclerc, qualified in 4th. His teammate, and former McLaren man Carlos Sainz qualified in 8th position. Frenchman and race winner, Pierre Gasly, earned a deserved 5th and Fernando Alonso would start from an amazing 9th place on the grid after a 2 year absence.

Dutch wonderkind Max Verstappen would start from the front of the grid after an amazing qualifying session.

With a total length of 5.412 kilometres, 3 DRS zones and 57 laps, we usually expect great racing and plenty of overtaking in Bahrain. The drivers have to contend with wind, racing under floodlights and deal with the difficulty of finding a good set-up with the wide temperature fluctuations between sessions. Pirelli decided to use the C2 (hard), C3 (medium) and C4 (soft) tyres this weekend.

With lights out at 7pm local time, Sergio Perez couldn’t have started his debut race with Red Bull any worse. His car stalled and turned itself off in the second to last straight during the formation lap, but he was quickly restarted the car and was committed to a pit-lane start. His teammate however, started the race well leading Lewis Hamilton away from the line.

Meanwhile, Nikita Mazepin became a little throttle happy and spun out of control in turn 3 on the opening lap, bringing out the new Aston Martin DB11 safety car for 2 laps.

Following the safety car restart, Pierre Gasly blundered his amazing qualifying position as he clipped the rear of Ricciardo’s McLaren and lost his front wing, demoting him to the back of the grid.

Charles Leclerc proved to be strong as he attempted to re-overtake the young Lando Norris after being taken himself on the safety car restart. Lando had overtaken his his new team mate Ricciardo on the opening lap, who himself was looking for any opportunity to slip back past. Vettel’s weekend became even worse following a collision with Esteban Ocon which saw the German receiving a 10 second penalty.

This race became one of strategy at the front as Hamilton and Verstappen would exchange blows following a crucial last stint from the Dutchman allowing himself to catch back up to the undercutting Hamilton. The fight was intense with Verstappen briefly overtaking the Brit, but he would unfortunately run wide and would subsequently have to give back the position. Hamilton then successfully fended of the charging Dutchman to win by a mere 7 tenths of a second.

Valtteri Bottas fell out of contention mid way through the race following a slow pitstop. He would however secure the fastest lap following a late extra stop. Sergio Perez would be awarded driver of the day as he fought through from the back of the grid to finish am impressive 5th place.

There would be 4 retirements throughout the race with Mazepin on lap 1 following his crash and Alonso further into the race with a suspected brake issue. Pierre Gasly and Nicholas Latifi would also retire with their own issues.

With a season opener as exciting as that, you would have to be mad not to watch the next race in three weeks time in Imola.

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