BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 02: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing, Second placed Sergio Perez of Mexico and Oracle Red Bull Racing, Oracle Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner and the Oracle Red Bull Racing team pose for a photo as they celebrate after the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on March 02, 2024 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202403020625 // Usage for editorial use only //

A Perfect Start for Red Bull, same story in Saudi Arabia?

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 02: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing, Second placed Sergio Perez of Mexico and Oracle Red Bull Racing, Oracle Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner and the Oracle Red Bull Racing team pose for a photo as they celebrate after the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on March 02, 2024 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202403020625 // Usage for editorial use only //

It was business as usual at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir for Red Bull Racing and Max Verstappen last Saturday, as The Flying Dutchman picked up where he left off last season and with Sergio perez second, it’s a perfect start for the Formula 1 World Champions.

The three-time defending World Champion started the race weekend slowly, with sixth-place finishes in the first two practice sessions, before moving up to third position in FP3. By the time race qualifying had ended, Verstappen was back where we expected him – in front of everybody else – after a superb Q3 session left him 0.228 seconds clear of Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari.

Leclerc had gone faster in qualifying, clocking a time 0.014 seconds faster than the Verstappen Red Bull’s final Q3 time in Q2, so patrons expected a tight affair on race day. The champion quickly extinguished these expectations in the race, dominating the 57-lap contest to end 22 seconds ahead of his teammate Sergio Perez, with Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari completing the podium almost three seconds further back.

Looking Forward to Saudi Arabia

With 26 points already in the bag, Max Verstappen will look forward to this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, the fastest street circuit in the world. As the defending Saudi Arabian Grand Prix champion, Perez holds the bragging rights, but Verstappen enters the race weekend as the firm favourite, with the top crypto betting sites offering 2/7 odds on the 2022 Saudi Grand Prix champion.

As has become the norm, Red Bull Racing dominates the betting boards, with Perez (10/1) second-favoured ahead of the Ferraris of Leclerc (14/1) and Sainz (20/1). Although Lewis Hamilton had a poor race in Bahrain by his high standards, finishing seventh, the seven-time world champion joins Sainz at 20/1 with the bookies.

McLaren’s Lando Norris (25/1), Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate George Russell (40/1) and the second McLaren of Oscar Piastri (50/1) should battle it out for the minor positions in Saudi Arabia, along with last year’s third-place finisher Fernando Alonso (60/1) in the Aston Martin.

Red Bull is already the firm favourite to win the F1 Constructors title again

Although the F1 season is only entering its second race weekend, Red Bull Racing is already the firm favourite to retain its Constructor’s Championship title in 2024, with odds of 1/8 on offer from the same crypto betting sites. With this in mind, the chances of a second consecutive Red Bull one-two finish in Saudi seem high.

Going by previous years, fans attending the Saudi Arabian F1 Grand Prix can expect great racing and a similar level of off-track entertainment. The main fan zone includes the Simulator Gaming Hub,  complete with driving simulators and several VR activations. Other attractions at the circuit include a Mega Drop, a Global Wheel and a bunch of skill games for young and old.

The Saudi Hawks will present aerobatic displays from Thursday until Saturday, and the curtain will draw on the weekend’s festivities with a post-race music concert featuring global headliners Alicia Keys and Pharrell Williams and international DJ Martin Garrix.

Rapper A$AP Rocky and Australian DJ Fisher will join the three superstars in bringing down the curtain on a weekend of high-class racing, along with acclaimed regional artists Nancy Ajram, Mahmoud El Esseily, and DJ Aly Fathallain.