Trio of Honda Drivers Score Points in F1 Bahrain GP

Honda continued its Formula 1 resurgence Sunday, having one of its best races in more than a decade as three Honda-powered drivers earned championship points in a dramatic Bahrain Grand Prix.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen fights off challengers at the start of the Bahrain Grand Prix Sunday

Both Aston Martin Red Bull Racing drivers tallied points Sunday, led by Max Verstappen’s fourth-place finish. His teammate Pierre Gasly climbed five positions from his grid spot to finish eighth while Toro Rosso rookie Alex Albon came home ninth for his first Formula 1 points.

Verstappen saw a likely podium wrested from his grasp with three laps to go when the Safety Car was required to retrieve two Renaults that stopped nearly simultaneously with two laps to go. Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari suffered late-race engine trouble that dropped him from the lead to third place and was costing him more than five seconds per lap. Verstappen was less than three seconds away from taking third place from the stricken Ferrari when the Safety Car came out, effectively ending the race.

Gasly produced a good recovery drive from 13th on the grid to move into the points, pulling off a thrilling move around the outside of Sergio Perez at Turn 5 on his way through the field. Having already risen into the top ten, Pierre crossed the line in eighth place to secure his first points for Aston Martin Red Bull Racing.

There were also more points for Toro Rosso as Albon kept himself out of trouble in a chaotic race to finish ninth, to score his first ever F1 points in only his second race. There were plenty of battles as Alex tried to hold off Pierre after starting one position ahead of the Red Bull, and he picked up two points in ninth place.

Daniil Kvyat’s race was compromised when he was hit by Antonio Giovinazzi on lap 12, spinning him and dropping him down the order. Despite his best attempts to recover, he finished in 12th place just behind the Alfa Romeo having also picked up a five-second time penalty for speeding in the pit lane.

Toyoharu Tanabe
Technical Director, Honda F1
“It was a tough race today, although it was positive that we managed to get all four of our cars to the flag, with three of them in the points. On the PU (Power Unit) side, it was a trouble-free weekend across both teams and that played a part in our final result in Bahrain.

Congratulations to Alex Albon on scoring his first points in only his second Grand Prix. He drove well, producing some good overtaking moves. Daniil Kvyat was unlucky to be involved in a collision, but he showed a good turn of speed and never gave up. We will now see what lessons we can learn from this weekend as we prepare for the next round in China.”

Max Verstappen
Aston Martin Red Bull Racing
Start: 5th, Finish: 4th
“I think we maximized the result today and it was another good points score. To finish fourth was not too bad as we struggled with pace and rear grip, especially with the high winds. I was sliding around a lot so it was not easy and I just had to manage it, but I don’t think we could have done a lot differently. I drove to the limit of the car, in Australia it was better but here it was pretty difficult. We were almost on the podium today but it would have been down to luck as we didn’t have the true pace and really deserve it. Anyway, it was more unfortunate for Charles, but at least he’s still on the podium and I’m not too disappointed with fourth. We still have a lot of things to learn about the car so we will go back to the factory, understand what happened here and continue to try and close the gap in China. This just wasn’t our weekend.”

Pierre Gasly
Aston Martin Red Bull Racing
Start: 13th, Finish: 8th
“It was quite a difficult race and I’m still not completely comfortable with the car. As soon as I try to push, I struggle a lot with the rear and the traction. For sure, I need to see what I can improve to get the maximum out of the car and work with the engineers to see what we can do to make me feel more confident, because at the moment I feel I cannot really push. I need to make an effort and adapt, because each car is different, and I will work with the team to find a set-up which fits my driving style better. Overall, I think there are also some positives today. After the start the car felt better, I managed to finish inside the points, and now we just need to find the areas we can improve on. We will do the work and I’ll do anything I can to arrive stronger in China.”

Alex Albon
Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda
Start: 12th, Finish: 9th
“That was a busy race – I felt like I was always fighting with someone at some point, there was always something to do! I didn’t have the best start as I was a bit shy into the first corner, but after that, I put my head down and got on with it. We had a good strategy and decent pace on the prime tire. In the end, we got a bit lucky with the retirements, but I’ll take it! It was so tricky with the wind out there and it made the car unpredictable, but we were quite strong in the race, it’s just a shame about the start. It was a challenge to overtake because when you get close to another car the tires overheat and you get a bit stuck. However, I enjoyed myself out there and it was good to get that experience. I’m very happy to pick up my first points in Formula 1 and I hope we can carry this pace into China.”

Daniil Kvyat
Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda
Start: 15th, Finish: 12th
“This weekend has been a bit scrappy, starting from yesterday where we should have qualified better. At the start of the race, I had too much wheel spin which put me on the back foot on the first lap. From then onwards, you have to fight harder to make up the lost positions and, without these couple of issues, I think it would have been a better race for us. Our pace was quite good today, it’s just a shame we had the spin after the contact with Giovinazzi. This weekend wasn’t the strongest, but we learned some lessons from it so hopefully we can put everything together for a better weekend in China.”