Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix 2024

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Get your tickets now to the Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix 2025 and enjoy up to 15% off in our Early Bird promotion, for a limited time only. Take advantage of this incredible offer and secure your seats for F1's most spectacular night race, taking place over the weekend of April 11 to 13, 2025, at "The Home of Motorsport in the Middle East".

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Due to exceptional demand, we have continued to expand our hospitality offerings. This year, we are delighted to offer The Dome Lounge by F1 Experiences, as well as The Champions Club, both tailor-made in response to the massive interest in hospitality options for the grand prix. In addition, the ultimate in world-class hospitality is available in The Paddock Cub Please note that Corporate boxes for 2024 are now sold out.

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Russell wins thriller in Spielberg: Analysis of the Austrian Grand Prix

Russell wins thriller in Spielberg: Analysis of the Austrian Grand Prix, brought to you by Bahrain International Circuit

In the last few weeks, there have been a few races that had the potential for a thrilling battle at the front, particularly between Max Verstappen and Lando Norris. In each case, a few laps extra for the race duration or a slight tweak to a tactical decision would have given fans what they wanted. Not so in Austria. The fight at the front between these two supremely talented drivers – who are close friends off the track – became direct, hugely engaging and ultimately brutal. It gave us a surprise winner in George Russell and much to digest and discuss after the race had ended.

The sprint format weekend had got off to a fairly predictable start by recent standards. Verstappen won the sprint race having qualified on pole the previous day. There was some challenge initially from Norris at the start, but the win in the shorter format race seemed fairly routine for the Red Bull Champion. It was a similar story in qualifying for the main race, with the Dutchman putting in a storming lap, to qualify on pole by 0.4 seconds. Perhaps the most notable aspect of qualifying was the fact that the entire field of 20 cars was split by under 0.7 seconds in the first session. That’s the closest ever, under the current format of qualifying. Part of that will be down to the fact that Austria has the shortest lap in terms of time on the calendar, but it does also reflect how the field has become closer and much more competitive in recent weeks. Behind Verstappen in qualifying came Lando Norris, followed by Russell and Sainz. Four different manufacturers in the top four places again showed how close the field has come together.

At the start of the race, Leclerc made early contact with Piastri on lap one so had to pit for a new front wing, sending the Ferrari driver right to the back. Other than that, it was a fairly clean start all round in what was expected to be a two-stop race.

The first set of pit stops for the frontrunners started around lap 23, which did not result in many major changes and by the time the second round of stops came around on lap 42 onwards, it was clear that Norris would need to find some pace to catch up with Verstappen who had built a gap of over nine seconds. Norris had a considerable 13 second gap behind him to Russell, followed by Sainz, then Piastri who had benefited from Hamilton receiving a five second time penalty earlier in the race.

Unusually for Red Bull, they had a slightly bungled pit stop of over six seconds for Verstappen, whilst Norris’ was under 3 seconds. Further, a lock up on the Dutchman’s outlap, meant that the gap had gone from nine seconds to 1.1 seconds. It was all to play for.

It fairly swiftly became clear that McLaren was probably the faster car and that the help of DRS would enable Norris to overtake. Each lap went by with a maneuver from Norris that Verstappen managed to defend. On a couple of occasions, it was claimed that Verstappen may have been defending in an illegal fashion. Nevertheless, Norris kept going in the knowledge that Verstappen has a reputation for ruthlessness in these types of situations.

Then on lap 64, we had the race-defining moment. Norris made a move around the outside of Verstappen and there was substantial contact between the pair. It was immediately apparent that both cars had punctures so they crawled back to the pits. Verstappen managed to change tyres and come back out in fifth, but there was no such luck for Norris who was unable to resume. The incident was immediately referred to the Stewards, who judged the Red Bull to be at fault and Verstappen was given a ten second penalty for his troubles. This will have been little comfort for Norris, whose dejection was obvious.

All this drama meant that George Russell, who had been cruising rather quietly in third, suddenly took the lead, with Piastri second and Sainz third. This was how the podium finished, with Lewis Hamilton in fourth, Verstappen hanging on for fifth, with Hulkenberg gaining crucial points for Haas in sixth, followed by Perez and Magnussen in the other Haas.

Whilst the debate on that Norris vs Verstappen incident will no-doubt drag on for some time, the exciting aspect for fans is that this fight at the top seems to be getter closer at every race. At the same time, the unexpected victory for Russell and Mercedes seems well-deserved. Just a couple of races ago, you would have thought that a Red Bull / McLaren incident of that nature would have handed the advantage to Ferrari. But not so. Mercedes were there to pick up the pieces.

This action bodes well for this week as F1 arrives at Silverstone for one of the highlights in the racing calendar. It’s a home race for the vast majority of teams, and on the basis of current form of British drivers on the grid, the idea of a home driver win seems more than just a pipedream.