Max Verstappen on pole, but the fight for the race win was lost. Honda’s F1 CEO now acknowledged that not winning the 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix was the most frustrating moment for the manufacturer since its return to Formula 1.
Masashi Yamamoto, CEO of Honda in F1, stated that losing out on the victory of the previous Formula 1 Grand Prix in Bahrain was Honda’s toughest moment in the hybrid era of the sport. Despite overtaking Lewis Hamilton with only a few laps to go, Honda-powered Red Bull driver Max Verstappen had to give up the lead because of an overtake, which was completed off-track. It resulted in Hamilton winning the season-opener of 2021 ahead of the Dutchman, although Red Bull appeared to be the clear favorite for the win ahead of the race.
In the following, Yamamoto expressed the disappointment of the Japanese engine producer. Surely Honda had troublesome periods since its return, especially in the commencing comeback years with the McLaren team. However the 65-year-old is sure that Red Bull and Honda had the potential to win the first race of the current season. Despite having the car to win, the team lost and so it was a heartbreaking moment for the manufacturer which is leaving the sport after 2021. Although a P2-finish isn’t a bad result to start the season, a clear possibility to win was on the table, which in the end produced even bigger sadness.
“It’s our sixth season in Formula 1 and we’ve been very sorry when we haven’t won, but not winning in Bahrain was the most frustrating loss since we returned. It was a good race and Max and the team worked hard, but I think the best. The way to describe the result is frustrating and disappointing,” Yamamoto said to the Japanese media Auto Sport Web.
The Japanese CEO also explained that he was lost for words after seeing Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton getting over the finish line in first place after 57 laps of racing. Following Honda’s strong performances at the season-opener and pre-season testing before, they are in a favorite role for the win, as not only Red Bull but the AlphaTauri team displayed huge potential. So it is obvious, that each result but a win is a setback for the manufacturer.
“I was speechless when I saw that we [Honda] crossed the finish line in second place, since I think we had plenty of performance to win the race. If that had been our first podium, I would be happy, but as far as the championship is concerned we lost a race that we could have won,” added Yamamoto to conclude the topic.
But despite the loss at the season-opener, Honda has 22 races left to prove its performance resulting in 22 chances to win races. The next opportunity comes with the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola, which is taking place next weekend. Whether Honda will claim a win then is unclear, the only way to find out is in one week, when it is lights out for round two of the 2021 Formula 1 season.