Mercedes stole the Bahrain GP race win right from the jaws of Red Bull. After Max Verstappen took pole, he was the heavy favorite to cross the checkered flag first on Sunday as well. However, it didn’t happen as they planned and that was down to an issue with their car, according to Helmut Marko.
Max Verstappen retained his lead when the lights went out. Unfortunately, he was unable to pull more than two seconds clear of Lewis Hamilton during his first stint, with the Briton even managing to cut his lead to 1.7 seconds.
This allowed the Mercedes think-tank to pit Hamilton and go for an undercut. It ultimately proved to be successful as he managed to emerge ahead of Verstappen after their respective pit stops. But, this may have been down to a problem with the RB16B rather than the driver.
“What was most serious at the beginning of the race was that there were problems in the differential area. In Sector 1, we lost drastically, up to three tenths per lap. The same was the case with Perez, by the way.
“That was the decisive phase of the first stint, where we were clearly handicapped,” said Helmut Marko.
“And then we had another problem, namely that we had to turn down the engine power due to temperature problems. But Max still managed to catch up.”
Marko optimistic Red Bull and Max Verstappen can dethrone Mercedes
Even though they missed out on the race win, there are plenty of positives to take from this race. Red Bull have not started an F1 season so strongly since their dominant days of Sebastian Vettel. They now have a package to take the fight to Mercedes.
“I think with the package we have, a very competitive engine, a chassis that reacts well to everything, that we will be back on par with Mercedes. We know now, you can only succeed against Mercedes if you act flawlessly. Everything has to be right,” remarked Marko.
Overall, this was an exciting race for the fans. Hopefully, the difference between the two teams in terms of performance stays minimal so that we can have more enthralling races like this.