F1 LIVE | Will Mercedes hunt down Verstappen at the 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix?

28-03-2021 15:30 | Updated: 28-03-2021 15:37
by GPblog.com
F1 LIVE | Will Mercedes hunt down Verstappen at the 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix?

On Sunday afternoon, the new F1 season really starts with the Bahrain Grand Prix. All signs point to a spectacular season as Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing look strong enough to challenge Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes from the first race of the season. Verstappen will start the first race from pole, with the two Mercedes in P2 and P3. 



Verstappen and Red Bull Racing on pole

With the speed of Verstappen's RB16B and the Honda engine both powerful and reliable, it's safe to say that the Dutchman will be in the World Championship title fight in 2021. 

In the meantime, Verstappen is breaking some of his own personal records. This is the first time he has been on pole in two races in a row and a victory today will give him his first back-to-back win. For the first time in the hybrid era, Mercedes are not on pole position for the opening Grand Prix.  

Can the midfield pose a threat to Mercedes?

Qualifying shows that Mercedes have dropped back a lot due to the new floor guidelines. With the exception of Verstappen, they still have a lead on the rest of the field, but that now doesn't amount to more than a second, as was the case in other years.

Especially McLaren, AlphaTauri and Ferrari who all look strong so far. There's little chance of them getting past the Mercedes on pure speed, but Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton can't afford to make a mistake either, because if they do, these teams will be quick to snatch a podium finish. With Sergio Perez failing to escape from Q2 and starting from 11th, Mercedes have the upper hand in terms of strategy options. They will have two drivers attacking the lone Verstappen. 

Fast men at the back

Looking at the speed of the different teams, three drivers are further back than they should be. Sergio Perez, Yuki Tsunoda and Sebastian Vettel are expected to fight their way to the front. There promises to be plenty of action. 

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