Formula 1: Flying start for Red Bull’s 2024 Title Defence

Motorsport Wednesday March 13, 2024 By: Duncan Hughes

It’s that time of year again, the Formula 1 season is back under way and the new season is already promising to be an exciting one. Two races down and twenty-two to go, expect thrills and spills throughout. The racing action will be coming thick and fast with a record schedule length of 24 races in 2024. Will the magnificent Max Verstappen be able to sustain his dominance from last season or will there be a new champion crowned in the Abu Dhabi finale?

The 2024 Bahrain season opener provided some brilliant entertainment as it always does, with all the drivers coming together again after their off season with fans curious to see how the teams had improved their cars for the new campaign.

It was business as usual for Max Verstappen and Red Bull as the Dutchman banked another victory under the lights with his teammate Sergio Perez coming in second to complete the perfect weekend for the Red Bull team. Ferrari teammates Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc finished 3rd and 4th respectively rounding off a good weekend for their team.

Lewis Hamilton finished 7th with his Mercedes team as teammate George Russell was two places ahead in 5th. A slightly disappointing result for Hamilton in what has been a tough last couple of years for the Briton. However, his announcement of joining Ferrari in 2025 provides some hope of him getting himself back on the podium but he will be keen to put in a good final season for the team that saw him win 7 Drivers’ Championships including four on the trot.

Another poor drive from Logan Sargeant saw him finish in 20th place and after only one point last season, questions were raced about Williams’ decision to re-sign the young American alongside Alexander Albon who took the chequered flag in 13th position.

The oldest driver on the grid, Fernando Alonso still managed an impressive top 6 finish. In his 40s now the Spaniard shows no signs of letting up as he continues to challenge the best drivers in the world. How many more seasons does he have left in him?

And after the excitement of the season opener in Bahrain, it was onto Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for the second round. A race that has caused much controversy in recent years off the track due to drivers’ unease to race due to Saudi Arabia’s poor human rights record with Hamilton being one of the more prominent critics of the event and its decision to be held in Jeddah as well as many others threatening a boycott. With that said, the race still is a headline fixture in the F1 calendar and once again drivers arrived in Jeddah for the second round of the 2024 season.

It was déjà vu for Red Bull after Bahrain as Max Verstappen was once again the victor finishing an incredible 13 seconds ahead of his teammate Sergio Perez in second place. Oscar Piastri impressed for Mclaren as he took the chequered flag in fourth place with teammate Lando Norris in eighth.

Perhaps the biggest talking point of the weekend was 18-year old Oliver Bearman’s stand-in debut performance for Ferrari. With the Briton called up hours before the final practice to replace Carlos Sainz, the youngster qualified 11th on the grid and improved to take seventh place in the race.

A brilliant performance saw him hold off both Norris and Hamilton raising a few eyebrows in the process. It will be interesting to see how the youngster fares for the rest of the F2 season and whether he will be offered a contract to race in F1 in 2025.

Further down the grid, Pierre Gasly was forced to retire on the first lap due to gear issues as Lance Stroll crashed out on the 5th lap to end his hopes of placing in the points. It was a better performance for Logan Sargeant as he finished in 14th place, but there is work to be done if he wants to keep his seat for the 2025 season.

Next up is the Australian Grand Prix. Will it be another win for Verstappen and Red Bull? Will Hamilton be able to improve on his disappointing results? Can Ferrari have any response to Red Bull’s dominance? There is no doubt it will be another scintillating race on the Melbourne circuit, can Oscar Piastri and Daniel Ricciardo impress in front of the home crowd?

A perfect start for Red Bull and Max Verstappen sees them target their 3rd title in a row and Verstappen’s 4th Drivers’ Championship on the bounce. Can anyone actually stop them? Verstappen couldn’t do the impossible and go the season with a 100% record, could he? It would be astonishing if he did. Want to find out? Watch the F1 live from the best seats in the house with Engage Hospitality

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