he marathon 2021 Formula 1 season begins today with the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton has won this race in each of the last two seasons and is tied with long-time rival Sebastian Vettel – now of Aston Martin – for the most victories in Bahrain.
Red Bull’s Verstappen delivered a supreme final lap to see off seven-time world champion Hamilton by almost four tenths of a second with his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas third.
There is cautious hope that the title battle may prove to be a little closer ahead of those seismic changes coming to the sport in 2022.
There is plenty to watch further down the field this season, with Vettel’s hopes for a renaissance at Aston Martin, Fernando Alonso’s return, Sergio Perez at Red Bull and the F1 debut of Schumacher’s son Mick at Haas among the most notable storylines.
Bahrain Grand Prix starting grid
Qualifying results and who is on pole
1 Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull 1min 28.997secs
2 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes GP 1:29.385
3 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes GP 1:29.586
4 Charles Leclerc (Mon) Ferrari 1:29.678
5 Pierre Gasly (Fra) Scuderia AlphaTauri 1:29.809
6 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) McLaren 1:29.927
7 Lando Norris (Gbr) McLaren 1:29.974
8 Carlos Sainz (Spa) Ferrari 1:30.215
9 Fernando Alonso (Spa) Alpine 1:30.249
10 Lance Stroll (Can) Aston Martin 1:30.601
11 Sergio Perez (Mex) Red Bull 1:30.659
12 Antonio Giovinazzi (Ita) Alfa Romeo Racing 1:30.708
13 Yuki Tsunoda (Jpn) Scuderia AlphaTauri 1:31.203
14 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Alfa Romeo Racing 1:31.238
15 George Russell (Gbr) Williams 1:33.430
16 Esteban Ocon (Fra) Alpine 1:31.724
17 Nicholas Latifi (Can) Williams 1:31.936
18 Mick Schumacher (Swi) Haas F1 1:32.449
19 Nikita Mazepin (Raf) Haas F1 1:33.273
F1 preview: The beginning of the end for Lewis Hamilton?
Bahrain Grand Prix track
The race will consist of 57 laps, totalling 308.238 kilometres (191.530 miles) in length.
Bahrain Grand Prix betting odds
- Max Verstappen – 8/5
- Lewis Hamilton – 2/1
- Valtteri Bottas – 16/1
- Sergio Perez – 30/1
- Pierre Gasley – 40/1
- Charles Leclerc – 50/1