Red Bull’s Max Verstappen celebrates after winning the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Defending champion, Max Verstappen started the 2023 season in dominant form and won the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix from pole position on Sunday.
Verstappen’s teammate in Red Bull, Sergio Perez, finished in second while 41-year-old racing veteran, Fernando Alonso, took a brilliant third place with a stunning race debut for Aston Martin.
“I’m so proud of you guys,” a jubilant Alonso told his team after completing the podium.
This was Verstappen’s 36th career win, but more notably his first at the flood-lit Sakhir circuit, where he retired just laps from the end in last year’s opening race.
Unfortunately, the same could not be said for Charles Leclerc, after winning last year, who retired on Lap 41 of 57 when his Ferrari lost power.
Leclerc’s vehicle had an engine battery change prior to the race, but the seaof red fans were left disappointed once again with the underwhelming performance of their favorite team, “Unfortunately we’ve taken a step back and Red Bull’s on another planet. Third was the best we could hope for,”
Leclerc’s retirement caused concern at Ferrari, and Carlos Sainz Jr. didn’t even bother defending from Alonso, possibly due to concerns he could experience mechanical issues himself, allowing the Spaniard to overtake him with 11 laps left.
Sainz finished fourth ahead of seven-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton, while Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll secured sixth position. Hamilton’s teammate, George Russell, managed a seventh-place finish for Mercedes.
Verstappen started from pole with Perez alongside him, while Leclerc and Sainz occupied the second row and experienced Alonso starting from fifth position on the grid.
Logan Sargeant, the first American driver to grace an F1 grid since 2015 finished the race in the twelfth spot, after starting from the sixteenth position.
Stroll’s performance was impressive, considering he missed preseason testing due to an injury picked up in a bicycle accident that required minor surgery on his right wrist.