F1 Bahrain GP Live Commentary and Updates - Race day

All of the latest updates from the Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix from Autosport's team of journalists

F1 Bahrain GP Live Commentary and Updates - Race day

By: Jake Boxall-Legge, Haydn Cobb, Stephen Lickorish

Summary

  • Hamilton beats Verstappen by seven tenths after incredible finale to Bahrain GP!
  • Verstappen passes Hamilton for lead around Turn 4 in closing stages, but gives place back after making the move off track
  • Horribly slow 11-second stop for Bottas drops him out of lead battle
  • Brief early safety car as Mazepin crashes out at Turn 3, Alonso (brakes) also a retirement
  • Delayed start to the race as Perez stops on the formation lap, but gets going again

Leaderboard
1. Hamilton, Mercedes
2. Verstappen, Red Bull
3. Bottas, Mercedes
4. Norris, McLaren
5. Perez, Red Bull
6. Leclerc, Ferrari
7. Ricciardo, McLaren
8. Sainz, Ferrari
9. Tsunoda, AlphaTauri
10. Stroll, Aston Martin

Status: Stopped
We'll see you in a few weeks' time for the *checks notes* Pirelli Gran Premio del Made in Italy e dell'Emilia Romagna - ie, the next race at Imola. See you then!
...and here's the race report from a thrilling Bahrain Grand Prix: https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/bahrain-gp-hamilton-holds-off-verstappen-to-win-epic-race/5958416/
Bottas: "Disappointing, for sure. As a team we got good points, but from my side it felt like we went on the defensive side. Then I had a slow pitstop which took away any opportunities..."
Hamilton: "Firstly, can I just say it's the first time I've seen fans in a long time! What a difficult race that was. Stopping early we knew was going to be difficult, but we had to cover Max. It was going to take something pretty special."
Verstappen: "It's of course a shame, but you also have to see the positive. We're putting the fight on to them [Mercedes], so it's great to start the year like that."
"Why didn't you let me go? I could have made the five seconds..." Verstappen argues. "We had the call from race control," Christian Horner says to his forlorn driver.
Norris bags fourth, as Perez cleared Leclerc for fifth. Ricciardo gets seventh, Sainz eighth, Tsunoda bags a pair of points for ninth, and Stroll completes the top 10.
That was one hell of a battle - and Bottas compounds Verstappen's misery by stealing the fastest lap after a late stop!

Tsunoda has stolen ninth place on the final lap from Stroll! What a race for the F1 debutant! It wasn't caught on the TV with the action ahead on the final lap, but the Japanese driver had been stalking the Aston Martin over the closing stages and got the move done at the start of the final lap.

And after all of that, Lewis Hamilton hangs on from Max Verstappen to win the Bahrain Grand Prix!
Verstappen is fast running out of opportunities here - and Hamilton looks like he might have weathered the storm...
Verstappen got back within a second of Hamilton this time around, but the Mercedes driver is working really hard to deploy his ERS at the right time...

Gasly has also retired from this race with two laps to go. So Schumacher is up to P16.

Hamilton's managed to find enough of a buffer to evade DRS that time around! Resolute in defence here.

Further back Latifi has retired from the race according to the timing screen. Not clear if he has had an issue but it promotes Schumacher up to P17.

Verstappen gets DRS again, but can't make the move this time around! Hamilton, somehow, is just hanging on here...
But Verstappen gives the place back to Hamilton, having dunked his car too far off the road!
Here we go, Verstappen's got DRS...he dives around the outside at T1, Hamilton holds, but the Dutchman cruises around the outside at Turn 4 to grab the lead!

Perez is ahead of Leclerc, which hasn't been shown on the TV yet due to the action for the lead, but we can confirm Perez is fifth.

Verstappen can smell Hamilton's cologne now, but he's just a little bit far off into turn 1 and 4 this time around.

Vettel has been given a 10-second time penalty for his earlier clash with Ocon. Vettel is currently P14 so that's effectively ended his faint hopes of points today.

Hamilton goes wide into turn 10, which brings Verstappen even closer - this might be a DRS range next time we hit the straight.

The other Red Bull, Perez, is also chasing for a position. Perez is within two seconds of Leclerc who holds fifth place.

"Gonna leave you to it, let us know if you need anything", says Verstappen's engineer GP. Lap 51, gap down to 1.4s.
"Verstappen now car behind," Hamilton is told. "Leave me to it, Bono," says the leader, wanting full focus as the gap goes down to 1.9s.
Vettel and Ocon have got a little in the way of the chasing Verstappen, which helped Hamilton a little - but the Red Bull's still just 2.4s off now.

The Vettel and Ocon clash has been put under investigation by the stewards. Vettel could be in trouble here.

Once again, we've got the insightful overtake-o-meter predicting a lead showdown in five laps' time. Once again, a medium difficulty challenge - down to the nearest nano-difficulty.

Double misery for Aston Martin as a lap later Sainz sails ahead of Stroll into eighth place at Turn 1. Easy as you like.

Ocon, going around the outside of Vettel, was hit in the rear by the German who locked up under braking. Vettel, with front wing damage, over team radio says that the French driver changed lines under braking, but it didn't really look like that.

The lead gap is now within four seconds, and we've 10 laps left.

Ah, Vettel and Ocon tangle at Turn 1 which sends both drivers spinning off. That allows Giovinazzi to overtake both of them before they get going again.

That didn't take long, Perez makes light work of passing Ricciardo to take sixth place using DRS at Turn 1.

Perez watch: He's within one second of Ricciardo who is running in sixth place.

It's lap 43, with the gap at the front down to 5.7s. "Make sure you've got enough tyres to challenge him at the end," says Verstappen's engineer Gianpiero Lambiase.

The latest pitstop shuffling and Alonso's exit has seen Tsunoda rise up to 10th place, around three seconds up on Raikkonen. That'll be a fun fight for the final points place.

A 1m33.228s for Verstappen that time around. Game on.
Verstappen's absolutely flying now. Hamilton's race engineer Bono says that Verstappen will catch him in 10 laps' time - but at this rate, it might be a bit shorter than that.

But Stroll's hold on seventh doesn't last long as Perez charges by a lap later with the aid of DRS down the main straight.

Verstappen pits! It's a 1.9s stop, and is now given the all clear to go and hunt Hamilton down. He's got 8s to find.