Bahrain Grand Prix LIVE! Race stream, latest updates and F1 news as Max Verstappen starts on pole position

Bahrain Grand Prix LIVE! Race stream, latest updates and F1 news as Max Verstappen starts on pole position

Bahrain Grand Prix LIVE!

The 2024 Formula One season starts right here with Max Verstappen on pole position for the Bahrain Grand Prix. Amid a turbulent time off the track for Red Bull and team principle Christian Horner, the reigning three-time world champion did what he does best in Friday’s qualifying to bag first place on the grid for today’s race, looking to make it back-to-back triumphs in the curtain-raiser.

Charles Leclerc, who won this race in 2022, will fight him off the line after putting his Ferrari on the front row, ahead of Mercedes’ George Russell and team-mate Carlos Sainz. The Spaniard is fighting for his F1 future after Lewis Hamilton nabbed his seat for next year, although the Brit could only secure ninth place in qualifying yesterday.

An unusual Saturday race, due to next week’s event in Saudi Arabia occurring just before Ramadan, will get us rolling for a mammoth 24-grand prix campaign - where Verstappen is the hot favourite to win it all once again - should off-circuit distractions not detail the Red Bull machine. Follow all the latest updates from Bahrain via Standard Sport’s live race blog!

Bahrain Grand Prix updates

  • Start time: 3pm GMT | Bahrain International Circuit

  • How to watch F1 on TV

  • Starting grid

  • Weather forecast

Verstappen wins!

16:38 , Alex Young

Verstappen crossed the line and declares: “What a lovely race.”

New year, same winner. Perez follows him in second.

16:35 , Alex Young

Lap 57: Final lap as Verstappen opens up a 21-second lead and storms to an easy opening win. Perez in second, his best finish since Italy last season.

16:33 , Alex Young

Lap 56: Two laps to go and Norris is trying to snatch fifth from Russell.

16:31 , Alex Young

Lap 54: Sainz is closing slowly on Perez in second. We may run out of time but Chico is losing time.

16:28 , Alex Young

Lap 53: Five laps to go as Norris tries to close the gap on Russell in fifth.

16:25 , Alex Young

Lap 50: Sainz is the fan pick for driver of the day at the moment. Russell has his work cut out to close the gap on Leclerc in fourth.

16:21 , Alex Young

Lap 48: As we enter the final 10 laps, it’s a Red Bull 1-2 and a Ferrari 3-4.

16:19 , Alex Young

Lap 46: Russell goes wide, locking up, and lets Leclerc come inside to take fourth. This battle will go to the last.

16:15 , Alex Young

Lap 44: Russell and Leclerc are in a tight battle for fourth, with about half a second between them.

16:12 , Alex Young

Lap 42: Alonso pits, getting on the new hard compounds. He comes out in 11th.

16:08 , Alex Young

Lap 40: Verstappen sets the new fastest lap of 1.32.608.

16:07 , Alex Young

Lap 39: Hamilton up to seven as he passes Alonso with ease. Norris is a further five seconds ahead.

16:05 , Alex Young

Lap 38: Verstappen into the pits for his second and final stop. There is not another car in sight - how thrilling!

16:01 , Alex Young

Lap 35: Hamilton does get the better of Piastri as his positional rival comes out of the pits, the latter spinning wide on the colder tires and Hamilton comes out in position.

15:57 , Alex Young

Lap 33: Verstappen’s lead is now 17 seconds.

15:57 , Alex Young

Lap 32: Russell has pitted again and he’s back in ninth, while Bottas suffers a pit stop shambles as a tire bolt gets stuck to keep him in place for almost a minute.

15:54 , Alex Young

Lap 31: It’s been a quiet race for Hamilton, who started in 9th and is now in 8th ahead of Alonso. Piastri in his sights.

15:49 , Alex Young

Lap 28: Verstappen now with a 14-second lead, with Perez is second. Sainz just over two seconds further back.

15:46 , Alex Young

Lap 24: A bit of tension between Perez and the paddock, as he shouts down the radio: “You need to shout mate, I can’t hear you!”

Cue a new microphone pack for the race engineer.

On the track, Russell is losing touch with third place with the gap now 7 second to Sainz.

15:40 , Alex Young

Lap 22: Ricciardo overtakes Ocon for 15th place. This race is finally starting to settle down.

15:39 , Alex Young

Lap 21: Hulkenburg is into the pits for the second time, swapping out for a fresh set of hards.

15:34 , Alex Young

Lap 18: Sainz is having fun! Russell is now struggling with his power unit and the Ferrari man is on his shoulder to swoop past into third.

15:32 , Alex Young

Lap 17: An incredible overtake at the first corner again for Sainz over Leclerc, leaving it as late as possible from over 300km/p before cutting inside his team-mate to climb into fourth.

15:29 , Alex Young

Lap 16: Alonso being told to pit, leaving Verstappen the only not to pit.

15:28 , Alex Young

Lap 15: Sainz is now into the pits, the latest to go onto the hard. Verstappen still ahead, now by 25 seconds.

15:27 , Alex Young

Lap 14: Perez is up into sixth and ahead of Russell after both pitting. A huge overtake!

15:23 , Alex Young

Lap 12: A flurry of pits as Russell and Leclerc are sent in. Others will follow.

15:22 , Alex Young

Lap 11: Incredible! Ferrari vs Ferrari as Sainz pushes team-mate Leclerc further down the grid with a ballsy overtake. That was no team order.

15:21 , Alex Young

Lap 10: Looks like Sargent will be the first car to retire of the season after going into the run-off area. Yellow flag.

15:18 , Alex Young

Lap 8: Russell is pulling away from Perez, while Verstappen pulls away from him. Leclerc again locks up, he surely needs to change tires.

Hamilton is gaining on Alonso in eighth.

15:16 , Alex Young

Lap 7: Leclerc is passed for the second time as Perez beats him in the straight and keeps position into the corner. The two places dropped by the Ferrari man - time to change tires?

15:14 , Alex Young

Lap 6: Norris has been told to go to ‘plan B’. Is that a change of tires?

15:13 , Alex Young

Lap 4: This scrap for second place is now involving Sainz. Verstappen has opened up a four-second lead.

Russell is being told to settle into tyre management.

Hulkenberg is into the pit after picking up wing damage in the first lap.

15:11 , Alex Young

Lap 3: Bottas also struggling at the start after a first corner tap. Now in 18th.

15:09 , Alex Young

Lap 2: A huge move from Russell around the outside of Leclerc to take second and now the Ferrari has Perez closing in on him.

Norris is up to sixth, jumping ahead of Alonso. Hamilton remains in P9.

15:07 , Alex Young

Lap 2: DRS in enabled as we enter the second lap. Leclerc and Russel hold two and three but Perez is up until fourth ahead of Sainz.

15:05 , Alex Young

Verstappen gets away quickly and takes control of the first corner, Stroll has had a torrid start dropping to last from 12th.


15:04 , Alex Young

Here we go for the 2024 season!


14:50 , Alex Young

Here’s what the bookies are saying for today’s winner:

  • Max Verstappen - 2/13

  • Charles Leclerc - 9/1

  • Sergio Perez, George Russell - 20/1

  • Carlos Sainz - 25/1

  • Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton - 40/1

  • Lando Norris - 50/1

  • Oscar Piastri - 66/1

(Odds via Grosvenor Sport)

14:47 , Alex Young

It’s time for the national anthem of Bahrain.

14:45 , Alex Young

The wind has shifted 90 degrees ahead of the race having been head on heading into turn one yesterday. That could mix things up.

14:42 , Alex Young

Jeremy Clarkson is being interviewed on the grid, voicing his opinions on the break between seasons and a “weird year” ahead of F1.

14:36 , Alex Young

Here’s today’s line-up.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

14:32 , Alex Young

The cars are heading down to the grid. It’s a party atmosphere in Bahrain, just under half an hour until lights out.

14:18 , Alex Young

Neymar has arrived, making the short trip over from Saudi where he now plys his trade.


Why is the GP on a Saturday?

14:09 , Alex Young

It’s under an hour until lights out, but why is the race on a Saturday?

Well, it has to do with next week’s Saudi Arabia GP. Read more here.

Lando Norris on P7

13:54 , Alex Young

“I messed up Sector 1. I just had a little oversteer on the exit of [Turn] 1 just as I came on the throttle. It cost me easily one and a half tenths, and one and a half tenths today was easily P2.

“It’s frustrating and because of this I felt like I wanted to push a bit more – the wrong thing to do and then I paid the price again in Turn 4, another couple of mistakes.

“The rest of the lap was there or thereabouts, but honestly the car was easily good enough for a front row, so disappointed I didn’t deliver it."

13:42 , Alex Young

Christian Horner with his wife Geri Halliwell arrive hand in hand.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

George Russell on P3

13:33 , Alex Young

Talking of Lewis Hamilton, he starts in ninth today with Mercedes team-mate George Russell in P3.

He spoke to Sky Sports after qualifying: “Max is still some way out in front...

“Huge amount of work. Time will tell tomorrow if we’ve made a big step forward, I think it will be a close fight between everybody other than Max!

“Red Bull are doing such a strong job. If there’s an opportunity to take the lead we’ll go for it, but really it’s about the battle for second.”

13:19 , Alex Young

Here’s Lewis Hamilton.


The latest with Horner

13:10 , Alex Young

On Wedneday - and 23 days after it emerged Horner was under investigation - Red Bull GmBH said the grievance against the 50-year old had been dismissed.

But, 24 hours later, a number of messages and images apparently exchanged between Horner and the complainant were sent from an anonymous email account to 149 members of the F1 paddock - including FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem, F1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali and the grid's nine other team principals, as well as members of the media.

Horner released a statement saying: "I will not comment on anonymous speculation, but to reiterate I have always denied the allegations."

He was back in the paddock a day later for qualifying as Max Verstappen took pole position. There was speculation that another damning email leak against Horner would arrive on Friday - but it failed to materialise.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Weather forecast

12:59 , Alex Young

It’s Bahrain, it’s a mild 20C and not much chance of rain so dry.

Not a huge amount of wind either. Nice and straightforward. Yuki is enjoying himself.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Starting grid

12:50 , Alex Young

1. Max Verstappen, Red Bull

2. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari

3. George Russell, Mercedes

4. Carlos Sainz, Ferrari

5. Sergio Perez, Red Bull

6. Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin

7. Lando Norris, McLaren

8. Oscar Piastri, McLaren

9. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

10. Nico Hulkenberg, Haas

11. Yuki Tsunoda, RB

12. Lance Stroll, Aston Martin

13. Alex Albon, Williams

14. Daniel Ricciardo, RB

15. Kevin Magnussen, Haas

16. Valtteri Bottas, Sauber

17. Zhou Guanyu, Sauber

18. Logan Sargeant, Williams

19. Esteban Ocon, Alpine

20. Pierre Gasly, Alpine

Max on pole

12:43 , Alex Young

Red Bull's reigning world champion Max Verstappen beat Charles Leclerc to the first pole position of the season.

The 26-year-old Dutch driver secured top spot on the grid with a one minute and 29.179 second lap in the final session of the qualifying hour.

Leclerc’s best lap, a 1:29.165, was quicker but the Monegasque set the time in qualifying's second phase and was unable to repeat it in the top 10 shootout when it really mattered.

"The track had a lot of grip but with the wind, it's been tricky to get the whole lap together," said Verstappen, winner of 19 of 22 races last season, after taking his 33rd career pole.

"Q3 was difficult, but happy to be on pole. To be honest it was a little unexpected but in qualifying the car came to us."

Verstappen had gone into the weekend as clear favourite to make a dominant start to his bid for a fourth straight championship.

How to watch the Bahrain Grand Prix

12:35 , Alex Young

TV channel: In the UK, the race is being broadcast on Sky Sports F1. Free highlights of the race will air on Channel 4 at 7.50pm.

Live stream: Sky Sports subscribers able to watch on the Sky Go app.


12:29 , Alex Young

A new F1 season is upon us and with it plenty of off-circuit drama heading into the 2024 curtain-raiser.

Max Verstappen is again the one to beat, and beating him again looks like the tallest of orders. But will the ongoing controversy over Red Bull team principle Christian Horner prove a distraction, perhaps not for the young Dutchman but maybe in the paddock.

Lewis Hamilton kicks off his final year with Mercedes before moving to Ferrari - can he sign off with a bang? Starting with a podium place today will be helpful.

That’s just a sprinkling of the talking points. It’s lights out at 3pm UK time. Stick with us.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)