The 2021 Formula 1 season is off to a great start for fans who are hoping for exciting races and tight battles. The closing stages of the Bahrain Grand Prix delivered all the high octane excitement that fans have been missing in recent seasons, but the result was the same. Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton secured the victory after a thrilling dogfight with Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen.

Different pit strategies meant that pole sitter Verstappen had to give up the lead and take the fight to the track. He seemed on course to regain the top spot as he ate away at Hamilton's lead with less than ten laps to go. On lap 53 of 56, he finally caught up with the Mercedes and made a move. Verstappen actually got his nose ahead of Hamilton before both of them took turn 4.

Hamilton took the racing line and forced Verstappen to run too wide off the track. Verstappen immediately gave Hamilton the place back, and was unable to get close enough again to make a decent challenge.

In the end, Hamilton took the flag with just .7 seconds to separate him from the Dutchman. The final podium spot went to Valtteri Bottas, and while it's the same cast once again, it was a different story from last season.

Red Bull has a lot to learn if they want to beat Mercedes, but it is clear that their pre-season pace was real. Hamilton has a real challenge at his hands this year. Red Bull's second driver Checo Perez had to start from the pit lane, but he showed that he has the potential to help his team challenge the title holders.

Elsewhere, the Ferraris appear to be back in the game after a completely disastrous 2020, with Leclerc and Sainz finishing 6th and 8th respectively. The Alfa Romeos also proved to be much more competitive this season.

Rookie Yuki Tsunoda had a brilliant maiden F1 race, taking home points from 9th place for Alpha Tauri. Meanwhile, Nikita Mazepin could not complete a single lap as he spun out yet again much like he was doing all weekend. To be fair, his teammate Mick Schumacher also had trouble keeping the car on the track later in the race.

Returning world champion Fernando Alonso unfortunately failed to complete the race after his Alpine suffered brake problems. Regardless, it looks like it will be a highly competitive season this year and hopefully the competition will be tight all the way across the 23 Grands Prix.

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton, pictured in November 2020, is aiming to win an eighth world title to overtake Michael Schumacher POOL / Clive Mason