After reigning champion Scott McLaughlin announced a move to IndyCar, 2021 will see a new winner crowned in the championship for the first time since 2018.
While things stayed the same with Lewis Hamilton winning another race, it was an eventful night of racing in Bahrain.
It was a massive day for Red Bull and McLaren but all of that came secondary after all the accidents that had taken place during the race. Here are the major takeaways of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Thank goodness for safety technology
It was a day where things could have gone horribly wrong. Fortunately, for one Romain Grosjean, Formula One have evolved to develop cars which increase a driver’s safety in any situation.
There were quite a few incidents in the race. Lance Stroll had his car flipped upside down while Sergio Perez had to retire after his rear caught on fire.
When Jules Bianchi tragically passed away in 2015, this pushed Formula One to implement technology that would protect the drivers a lot more.
Many know about the halo that was introduced only a couple years ago and it was probably the most important element in saving Grosjean from a severe fatality.
Without it, the Haas driver would have probably taken the full force of the barrier. It is amazing news to see that there weren’t any major casualties outside of burns and broken ribs.
Esteban Ocon will need to step up against Fernando Alonso
It was a rough day for Ocon yet again having been outqualified and outperformed by teammate Daniel Ricciardo.
The concerning aspect was when Ocon was slower in medium tyres compared to Ricciardo on hard tyres. The Aussie was clearly going faster than Ocon and Renault may have compromised their race by not letting Ricciardo ahead earlier.
It’s been a difficult return to Formula One after a one-year absence, but he will have to build and improve from his 2020 campaign.
Next year he will be battling the great Fernando Alonso. Whether Alonso still has the ability to have strong performances is yet to be known but Ocon will need to ensure he becomes more competitive going forward
Big blow for Sergio Perez and Racing Point
As mentioned earlier, Racing Point were extremely unfortunate having both cars not finishing the race. While Stroll was towards the back end of the pack, Perez was on track to get back to back podiums. The hopes for holding onto P3 was placed on his shoulders however mechanical failures robbed him of a strong finish.
Perez has been extremely unfortunate this season and the fact that he is two points off from P4 in the drivers’ championship is a massive achievement. Despite contracting COVID-19 and having other decisions go against him, he is always a wildcard to finish in the Top 4. He has definitely proven he deserves a seat and whether he gets one is another story.
With the retirements of both Racing Point cars, McLaren were able to capitalise with Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz finishing fourth and fifth. It was the best possible result for McLaren as they are now 17 points ahead of Racing Point for P3 in the constructors’ championship.
Alexander Albon’s opportunistic podium could save his Red Bull seat
Heading into the Bahrain Grand Prix, Albon was on the hot seat to showcase whether he deserved to partner Max Verstappen or not. In the last five races before Bahrain, Albon had three straight finishes outside the points while collecting only seven points.
It’s evident that Christian Horner and Red Bull have been patient with Albon and given him the opportunity and time to figure things out.
If Albon can continue to finish strong in the final races, it could go a long way to ensuring he stays in Red Bull.
Pierre Gasly continues to perform well under the radar
Gasly isn’t always noticed on the track but in many races this season, you will notice that Gasly is always mixing it up in the midfield. Despite being in an inferior car, he has managed to maximise the Alpha Tauri and accumulate as many points as possible.
He has been consistent in both qualifying and the races but unfortunately has had three DNFs this season which cost him opportunities.
Attempting a one-stop strategy was bold but he managed to hold onto P6 with the help of a late safety car.
Still at a young age of 24 years, Gasly has bounced back after a dramatic 2019 and the future looks bright for him. He has plenty of potential whether he stays at Alpha Tauri or goes elsewhere.