Verstappen dominates, and Alonso puts Aston Martin on the podium.
Formula 1 is finally back for the 2023 season at the Bahrain Grand Prix, with reigning world champions Max Verstappen and Red Bull looking to win a third consecutive title. Formula 1 fans are eager to see their favorite teams battle it out in the longest season in F1 history, with teams competing in 23 Grand Prix. The first race took place at the Bahrain International Circuit, where Ferrari finished 1-2 with Charles Leclerc, winning the race in 2022.
As with any season, many questions must be answered, and the 2023 season is no different. Will Ferrari bounce back after a poor end to the season? Can Mercedes become a viable contender with the top teams consistently? Will rookie drivers like Oscar Piastri, Nick de Vries, and Logan Sargeant make an impact? These are just some of the questions that will be answered in time for the Bahrain Grand Prix, giving us a good idea of what to expect for the rest of the season.
Fernando Alonso left Alpine to replace legend Sebastien Vettel at Aston Martin, and the Spaniard certainly made a splash during Friday and Saturday’s practice sessions leading up to the race. Alonso topped the grid with a stellar performance in what appeared to be a much stronger Aston Martin than last year. Could Alonso qualify from the front of the grid?
The weather conditions in Bahrain would not play a significant role under the starry skies of the Middle East, and all the teams were keen to qualify as high as possible. Ferrari showed much improvement after a lackluster performance in practice, with Charles Leclerc qualifying in third place, followed by his teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. The front row was a familiar sight, with Sergio Perez and his Red Bull in second place while reigning two-time world champion Verstappen took his first pole of the season and the 21st of his career. Red Bull sent a clear message that they are still the team to beat! Alonso and team-mate Lance Stroll gave Aston Martin plenty to cheer about, with the Spaniard in P5 and the Canadian in P8. Mercedes had George Russell in P6, followed by teammate Lewis Hamilton in P7. Rounding out the top ten was the Alpine of Esteban Ocon in P9 and Haas’s Nico Hulkenberg in P10.
The weather would not be an X-factor on race day under the starry skies of Bahrain, and the first Grand Prix of the season was ready to kick off with a bang. To complete the race, the drivers must navigate 15 turns and cross the finish line after 57 laps. Medium tires were out of favor for the weekend, with the majority of the field opting for soft tires, except for two drivers who opted for hard tires to start the race. Charles Leclerc was forced to change a component on his engine prior to the race, giving him and his Ferrari one more opportunity to change his engine without being penalized. This change would prove to be a bad omen for Leclerc.
Start of the race
The 2023 Formula One season roared off as soon as all the red lights went out, and Verstappen and his Red Bull had no trouble maintaining the benefits of his pole position heading into turn one. Leclerc had a monster start and jumped ahead of Sergio Perez’s Red Bull for P2. Valtteri Bottas had the best start of the day, jumping from 12th to 8th. It was a clean start for the entire field; no safety cars or red flags would be needed. Verstappen immediately began to pull away from his rivals and was never in danger of losing the lead for the entire race. While Verstappen was pulling away, an old legend stole the spotlight and provided F1 fans with plenty of entertainment.
Aston Martin will not regret signing their newest driver Fernando Alonso who battled through the two Mercedes to finish in P5. Alonso battled his old nemesis Lewis Hamilton with poise, especially when he ran wide trying to pass the Brit. The bot drivers put on a show, but Alonso was undeterred. Alonso set his sights on Carlos Sainz Jr, who struggled to keep his tires in good condition. Alonso caught his young protégé and took P4 after an excellent battle for position. Leclerc, who was at least forty seconds behind Perez in third, had his day ruined and lost his chance to start the season with a podium finish when his engine failed, and he was retired. Alonso, who had done so well to move up through the field, earned that good fortune and finished third.
Is Verstappen already on his way to a third championship?
Max Verstappen was unstoppable, and Red Bull sent a clear message to the rest of the field to step up their game, or this championship could be over sooner than anyone would like. Verstappen took his first win at the Bahrain International Circuit and his 36th career victory. Sergio Perez was second, followed by Aston Martin’s Alonso, and the elation of his entire team could be felt throughout the circuit. It was Alonso’s 99th career podium and his first since 2020, when he finished third at the Qatar Grand Prix with Alpine.
Sainz kept enough pace to be a saving grace for Ferrari in 4th, followed by Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes in P5. George Russel and his Mercedes finished in P7, followed by Valtteri Bottas and his Alfa Romeo in P8. Lance Stroll, who underwent surgery 12 days before the race to deal with serious wrist problems and a broken toe, managed to finish in 6th place to make Aston Martin’s day even more fruitful.
Alpines Pierre Gasly, who had a monster of a day, climbed eleven places to earn a couple of points for his team in 9th. Williams, who have struggled to score points in the past, started their season with a single point as Alexander Albon crossed the line in tenth.
On to the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix
Nin Two weeks, Formula One’s traveling circus will gears up for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in Jeddah, and already Red Bull is looking like the clear favorite to win it again. Sergio Perez will have to compete with his team-mate to provide some drama at the front of the field if we are to have anything worth watching at the top of the grid. Aston Martin will have to prove that the Indian Grand Prix wasn’t a one-off experience, while Ferrari will have to prove that they can compete with the best of the best.
Want tickets to Formula 1 Grand Prix’s around the world contact Grandprixexperience.com right now, and before you know it you will be sitting in the grandstands cheering on your favorite teams.
2023 BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX FINAL STANDINGS
|1||MAX VERSTAPPEN||NETHERLANDS||RED BULL|
|2||SERGIO PEREZ||MEXICO||RED BULL|
|3||FERNANDO ALONSO||SPAIN||ASTON MARTIN|
|4||CARLOS SAINZ JR||SPAIN||FERRARI|
|6||LANCE STROLL||CANADA||ASTON MARTIN|
|8||VALTERRI BOTTAS||FINLAND||ALFA ROMEO|
|11||YUKI TSUNODA||JAPAN||ALPHA TAURI|
|12||LOGAN SARGEANT||UNITED STATES||WILLIAMS|
|14||NICK DE VRIES||NETHERLANDS||ALPHA TAURI|
|16||ZHOU GUANYU||CHINA||ALFA ROMEO||1:33.996|
|RETIRED||ESTEBAN OCON-LAP 41||FRANCE||ALPINE|
|RETIRED||CHARLES LECLERC-LAP 39||MONACO||FERRARI|
|RETIRED||OSCAR PIASTRI-LAP 13||AUSTRALIAN||ALPINE|