The calls that decided Hamilton and Verstappen's Bahrain battle
Fastest in every session, all signs pointed towards Red Bull and Max Verstappen starting the 2021 F1 season with a victory. That it didn't pan out that way, and Lewis Hamilton scored a surprising win, owes much to an aggressive Mercedes strategy and a pre-race tyre selection that Verstappen would later question
Given the astounding levels of success Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have achieved in the past seven Formula 1 seasons, it’s somewhat surprising that their latest Bahrain Grand Prix victory – and Hamilton’s 96th F1 win – was something of an underdog tale.
Mercedes had ended pre-season testing seemingly well adrift of Red Bull on pure pace and with poor car balance. When the teams arrived back in Bahrain for the 2021 race, they knew most of the obscured elements from the testing picture would finally be revealed. And Max Verstappen’s near 0.4-second pole margin over Hamilton confirmed that Red Bull was indeed the team to beat.
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We’ve seen five distinct versions of Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes as he’s tried to fulfil his own ambitions while being a consummate team player – two difficult, competing missions which have been challenging to reconcile. Speaking exclusively to STUART CODLING, Bottas explains his highs and lows… and why he still believes he can be world champion
Aston Martin claims Formula 1’s latest technical tweaks have cost it competitiveness – and that it’s the innocent victim of a regulatory stitch-up aimed at pegging back Mercedes. But is any of this actually true? It depends on who you ask, says STUART CODLING
Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have been evenly matched so far in the 2021 Formula 1 title race. Neither has been afraid to get aggressive against each other on track, teeing up an enthralling contest as the year unwinds. But is their rivalry destined to end in broken shards of carbon fibre?
OPINION: Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have recovered from their pre-season woes to take three wins from the opening four races of 2021. But each time Red Bull and Max Verstappen have pushed them hard. So, what clues did the latest round of that battle – the Spanish Grand Prix – tease about the next stage of the season?
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Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets
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