A thrilling Bahrain Grand Prix ended with Max agonisingly finishing second by just 0.7s after a fight to the flag on a day of what might have been for the Honda-powered teams.
Starting from pole position, Max led away early on but Sergio was sadly forced to start from the pit lane after an electrical shutdown on the formation lap that will now be investigated. In a disjointed opening part of the race that also featured a first-lap Safety Car, Pierre was unfortunate to get caught up in light contact with Daniel Ricciardo on the race restart and suffered front wing damage.
Pierre came into the pits for a new front wing but a short Virtual Safety Car cut him adrift at the back of the field and he struggled with the damage before retiring with four laps remaining.
Sergio also needed an early first pit stop to change to a new set of medium tyres, putting him even further back but he proceeded to fight his way through the field with an excellent debut drive for Red Bull Racing.
Max led the opening stint but a different strategy saw him swapping the lead with Lewis Hamilton during the pit stop phases. His first stop came on lap 17 and yielded first place as Hamilton had stopped earlier, but Max sat a strong second at that stage.
Yuki had dropped a few positions at the start but soon found his confidence and started making moves, climbing into the top ten with some excellent overtakes into Turn 1 and Turn 4. After a first stop on lap 15 to switch from medium to hard tyres, Yuki made his second stop for another set of the hard compound on lap 33.
Max emerged from his second stop on hard tyres and with 17 laps to close an 8.8-second gap to the leader who had stopped 13 laps earlier. An excellent stint saw him close up and Max overtook Hamilton at Turn 4 with just over three laps remaining but ran wide on the exit and had to hand the position back. From there he couldn’t mount another firm attack and although he got right behind Hamilton, Max ended up 0.7s adrift over the line as he picked up Honda’s 200th podium in Formula 1.
Sergio climbed to fourth at one stage as he was out of sync in terms of pit stops, and his third and final stop on lap 39 left him in the lower part of the top ten. However, he put in a strong stint on medium tyres, fighting his way past Lance Stroll, Daniel Ricciardo and Charles Leclerc – the latter with four laps remaining – to take fifth place, an excellent performance from the pit lane.
And all three Honda-powered cars that saw the chequered flag did so in the points, with Yuki saving the best for last and passing Stroll for ninth place and two points on his debut, becoming the 65th driver in F1 history to do so.