The Bahrain Grand Prix kicked off the 2023 Formula 1 season with a bang, as Max Verstappen cruised to a commanding victory, while Fernando Alonso put up an outstanding performance to claim a well-deserved podium finish for Aston Martin.
Verstappen, who’s gunning for his third consecutive world title this year, dominated from the get-go, holding on to his pole position and opening up a significant lead over the rest of the field. Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez held on to second place, while Charles Leclerc kept pace in third after overtaking Perez early on.
However, Leclerc’s podium hopes were dashed with just 17 laps remaining, as a power failure ended his race prematurely. This allowed Alonso to swoop in and claim the final podium spot after a thrilling drive.
Alonso was in top form, weaving his way through the field after a slow start, overtaking the Mercedes duo of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton before going on to catch and pass Carlos Sainz of Ferrari, despite making contact with the Spanish driver.
While Red Bull was in a class of its own, it was a remarkable comeback from Aston Martin, with both Alonso and teammate Lance Stroll recovering from a poor start to finish on the podium and sixth, respectively.
Stroll, who raced just a week after undergoing wrist surgery, impressively overtook Russell’s Mercedes for sixth place, while Hamilton and Russell struggled to keep up with the pace of the Red Bull cars, finishing in fifth and seventh place.
Valtteri Bottas took eighth place for Alfa Romeo, followed by Pierre Gasly in the Alpine and Alex Albon, who put in a strong performance for Williams.
Gasly’s teammate, Esteban Ocon, had a night to forget, receiving three separate penalties – for an incorrect grid position, not serving his first penalty correctly and speeding in the pit lane – before ultimately retiring from the race.
The race was also a disappointing one for McLaren, with Lando Norris finishing last and his teammate Oscar Piastri not finishing the race.
Verstappen has started the season on a good note, better than last year, and would now battle as he hopes to make three championships in a row.