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Bahrain Grand Prix: Max Verstappen strolls to victory in 2024 F1 season opener

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Max Verstappen delivered for Christian Horner's crisis-hit Red Bull team by winning the opening race of the Formula One season in Bahrain on Saturday.

The build-up to the first round of the campaign in the Gulf Kingdom has been totally overshadowed by allegations whirling around Red Bull team principal Horner.

But Horner, who was joined by his wife Geri in a show of unity ahead of Saturday's 57-lap race, can take temporary relief from seeing Verstappen lead a Red Bull one-two, with Sergio Perez second.

“That was simply lovely,” Verstappen tells him team on the radio. “What a great race. Great start to the year, guys. Absolutely fantastic. Couldn’t ask for more. Great start, thank you.”

Horner replied, to both Verstappen and Perez: “The perfect way to start a second, maximum points.”

Ferrari's Carlos Sainz took the chequered flag in third, one place ahead of team-mate Charles Leclerc, with George Russell and Lewis Hamilton a disappointing fifth and seventh respectively for Mercedes. Hamilton was an eye-watering 50.3 seconds behind Verstappen. McLaren's Lando Norris finished sixth.