Bahrain Royalty’s $335,000 Ferrari Dwarfed Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen’s Giant SUVs Before F1 Season Opener

Credits: IMAGO / Eibner, IMAGO / Michael Potts, and IMAGO / PanoramiC

All F1 drivers turned up to the season opener in Bahrain last weekend in some ultra high-end cars, as is the case for every other Grand Prix event. However, this time, the ride that Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa came in overshadowed all of them. F1 photographer Kym Illman used the example of Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton to highlight his point in his latest YouTube video. Illman pointed out how the Bahrain Royalty came in a blue Ferrari 812 Superfast which is approximately worth a whopping $335,000.


In stark contrast, Illman stated that Verstappen arrived in a Ford Explorer XLT. This car has a 2.3L EcoBoost I-4 engine, which is a turbocharged four-cylinder power unit. The starting price of an Explorer is $38,000.

Even Sergio Perez arrived in the same car. Given Ford is going to partner with Red Bull for the 2026 engine, Verstappen and Perez may drive more Ford cars from now on.


Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton still arrived in a Mercedes GLS 450. Despite his Ferrari move, the Briton seems committed to the Silver Arrows for 2024. However, it is pertinent to note that Hamilton does have several Ferrari cars in his collection.

But it was only Bahrain’s Prince and Prime Minister who arrived in a Ferrari at the Bahrain GP, according to Illman. The 812 Superfast has a 6.5 liter V12 engine in the back of it that delivers 789 hp. The 2021 variant of the car – also called GTS – can reach a top speed of 211 mph.

Usually, all drivers park these cars at a designated space that is about 150 meters away from the paddock check-in gate. However, the Prince could place his blue Ferrari near the gate and was the only one to do so naturally.

Besides Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, what did other drivers drive in Bahrain?

Kym Illman went through the cars of all the drivers that they drove into the Bahrain International Circuit. He pointed out how neither Lando Norris nor Oscar Piastri drove McLaren cars despite representing the Woking-based outfit.

Norris drove a Toyota Land Cruiser XLR TT that has a Twin Turbo engine. Meanwhile, Oscar Piastri came in a Ford Expedition. After commenting upon the McLaren drivers, Illman moved on to the Sauber team.


He pointed out that both Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu drove Audis (RS4 and Q5 respectively). Given their upcoming partnership with Audi in 2026, akin to Red Bull-Ford, the Sauber drivers will most likely drive more of the German brand’s cars going forward.

Arguably perhaps what was most surprising for Illman was that the Ferrari driver duo did not arrive in the Italian brand’s cars. Both Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc drove Maseratis to the Bahrain track. Sainz drove a Maserati Levante, while Leclerc came in a Maserati Ghibli.

Meanwhile, amid all these ultra high-end cars, the Haas drivers came in rather mid-range SUVs. Both Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg arrived at the Bahrain paddock in a GAC GS8. This is an SUV car of the Guangzhou Automotive company that costs around $25,000.

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