Until Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix 2024
Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix 2024
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.View More
Verstappen wins final race to complete dominant season
Verstappen wins final race to complete dominant season: Analysis of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, brought to you by Bahrain International Circuit
Almost nine months since the first race at a sold-out BIC at the beginning of March, F1 arrived in Abu Dhabi for the final race of the 2023 season. Whilst the drivers’ and constructors’ championship were settled some time ago, with Red Bull breaking countless records along the way, there was plenty to play for further down the order. Most notably, Mercedes went into the weekend just four points ahead of Ferrari in the constructors’ championship. Behind them, McLaren had an eleven-point advantage over Aston Martin. Whilst there is an element of pride to play for in these placings, there is also the matter of prize money, rumored to be around $10 million more for each place gained.
When it came to qualifying, on paper it didn’t seem as though there were too many surprises. Verstappen took pole by 0.14 seconds ahead of Leclerc. However, the Dutchman had struggled with his car in earlier practice sessions and Leclerc had taken three of the last four pole positions. At one stage it looked like one of the McLarens would take the top spot, but an error from Norris on his final qualifying lap put him down in fifth, whilst Oscar Piastri could only manage third. The two McLarens were sandwiched by George Russell, whilst Hamilton in the other Mercedes could only manage 11th, after struggling with his car all weekend.
The race itself yet again showed the brilliance of Verstappen and the quality of his car. He faced some early challenges on the opening laps from Leclerc, but once settled in he never looked troubled. He took the win by 18 seconds to complete his 19th victory of the season. In a 22-race calendar, he only failed to win three times. Records have been smashed, but even at this last race, his focus and attention did not waver for even a brief moment.
Whilst Charles Leclerc will have been happy with second, Mercedes won the battle for second in the constructors’ standings, not least due to the fact that his teammate Sainz was 18th, having started the race in 16th and never being able to make an alternative tyre strategy work effectively. George Russell delivered one of his best performances on the season, achieving only his second podium in third. Combined with Hamilton’s points finish in ninth was enough to beat Ferrari in the standings by three points.
Sergio Perez put in an incredible performance to slip through the field, finishing fourth and it could have been even better, had he not received a five second penalty for forcing Lando Norris off the track earlier in the race. The two McLaren’s of Norris and Piastri were fifth and sixth, ensuring they would finish four in the constructors’ standings ahead of Aston Martin. Alonso, Tsunoda, Hamilton and Stroll completed the top ten.
As the sun goes down on the 2023 season, it will be remembered predominantly by a record-breaking season for Verstappen and Red Bull. Their dominance has been utterly relentless and the driving performance of the world champion almost flawless. Without doubt, design chief Adrian Newey has put together a Red Bull car that has been head-and-shoulders ahead of the rest of the field. However, as the season has gone on, there has been meaningful progress, not least by McLaren, who expect to be fighting for wins next season. With a pair of hugely talented drivers, strong momentum and access to their new wind tunnel, next year may well be transformative for the Woking team. Mercedes, on the other hand, clearly remain unhappy with their current car and fundamental changes will be brought in for next season. Their second place in the Championship delivered some cheer for the team and given their history and hugely competitive nature, together with huge driver talent and design personnel, there is every chance of a turnaround before the start of testing next year.
With regards to Ferrari, if they can find a way of translating their qualifying form into race mode, they should be right up there. As for the rest, Aston Martin will need to address a series of 2023 upgrades which seem to have sent the team backwards after a promising start. Outside of that, there was a significant points gap in the championship to Alpine, Williams, AlphaTauri, Alfa Romeo and Haas, all of which will be aiming higher for 2024.
As the season-ending race, there were also some inevitable goodbyes. Franz Tost leaves as team boss of AlphaTauri after almost 18 years in the role and the team will also have an as yet undisclosed new name. Alfa Romeo will also disappear as a name and the team is expected to bring back its Sauber brand next year.
Finally, if you are already missing F1, help is at hand as the 2024 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix is back for the first race of the season in just three months’ time. Our race weekend from 29 February to 2 March will be our first ever Saturday race and it’s also the landmark 20th anniversary of F1 in Bahrain. We have tickets available still for our final Early Bird at 10% off which ends at midnight on 30 November. You can buy now at Bahraingp.com. See you there!