Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix 2024

Event Overview

BIC is set to celebrate its 20th anniversary next year, as the opening round of the 2024 season and its first-ever Saturday night race at the Home of Motorsport in the Middle East on 29 February to 2 March 2024.

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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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Verstappen wins on Shanghai return: Analysis of the Chinese Grand Prix

Verstappen wins on Shanghai return: Analysis of the Chinese Grand Prix, brought to you by Bahrain International Circuit.

F1 returned to China for the first time in five years, with the Shanghai International Circuit back to hosting duties. It’s a testament to how quickly F1 evolves as a sport when you take into consideration the fact that the last time F1 raced in China, Max Verstappen had just five career wins to his name and Lewis Hamilton was still mid-way through his dominant phase as world champion.

It was also a sprint weekend; the first of the season with a slightly new format. Friday would comprise one practice session, followed by sprint qualifying, with the sprint race and race qualifying on Saturday and the main race on Sunday. If the huge crowd attendance for Friday was anything to go by, this format seems to be popular with the fans.

Weather was a constant feature for the weekend, with Friday’s sprint qualifying taking place in very wet conditions. This caused some unpredictable results as Lando Norris put his McLaren top in sprint qualifying, ahead of Hamilton and Alonso. In fact, there were five different teams in the top five places, which gave the potential for an exciting sprint race, not least with Verstappen only starting from fourth. At the start of the sprint, Norris and Hamilton were neck and neck, but perhaps rather too keen to hold on top his lead, Norris was pushed wide and he lost several places and would go on to finish sixth. Whilst Hamilton could not hold on for a win, he certainly outperformed considering his car’s current form, with a second place ahead of Sergio Perez, behind a victorious Max Verstappen.

Red Bull were certainly on ominous form and carried that through into qualifying for the main race as they took the front row of the grid. Fernando Alonso continued his form of being able to get more out of his car than perhaps one would expect, qualifying third, just ahead of the two McLaren’s of Norris and Piastri. Perhaps most surprisingly, Ferrari looked like they were struggling for pace and could only manage to qualify sixth and seventh.

All the data pointed to a two-stop strategy for the main race with the circuit known for its high degradation of tyres, but, as ever, timing and track position would be critical and the ability to react to safety cars and other incidents were also important. Whilst team strategists would have poured over data and planned countless scenarios in advance, it was a pair of safety cars halfway into the race that dictated how the race would unfold. Engine failure for Bottas led to a safety car on lap 23 and a chance for most to change to the hard tyre and run through to the end. There was a further incident at the restart, causing Ricciardo to retire and causing damage to Piastri’s car which limited his performance for the remainder of the race. Effectively, it was down to a 30-lap sprint race, given that none of the leading pack would need to stop again.

With some well-timed pit stops amongst the safety car chaos, it was Lando Norris who was running second at the start of the final stint, behind the imperious Verstappen, with Leclerc third, followed by Perez. The Mexican did manage to overtake Leclerc, but could not – perhaps surprisingly – get close to Norris who held out for an exceptional second place. Ahead, Verstappen was again unstoppable and completed his fourth win of the season in just five races. Further behind the front group, Sainz finished fifth, with Russell, Alonso and Piastri completing the top eight.

Whilst this was another display of Verstappen dominance, there was plenty to keep fans entertained further back. The scrap between an improving McLaren versus an unpredictable Ferrari was compelling, as was watching two masters at work – Alonso and Hamilton – who both seem to be able to get more out of their cars than on paper would seem achievable.

Off the track, the debate and speculation over next year’s driver line-ups continue. Ferando Alonso recently announced a new contract with Aston Martin and the next piece of news may well come out of Red Bull, as to whether Sergio Perez will have a new contract for next year. It’s always a difficult situation to be driving alongside someone with the talent of Verstappen, and Red Bull will need to weigh up whether a change of driver could narrow the gap between their two cars.

F1 returns to Miami on 5 May for its first US race of the season.