Red Bull Take Front Row For First Race Of 2023 Season In Bahrain

By Robert Haile

Max Verstappen and Red Bull got their title defence off to a flying start with a front row lockout in the first qualifying of the 2023 season.

Double World Champion Verstappen took pole position going 0.138 seconds fastest than teammate Sergio Perez.

Pole position qualifier Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing (C), Second placed qualifier Sergio Perez of Mexico and Oracle Red Bull Racing (R) and Third placed qualifier Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari (L) pose for a photo in parc ferme during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on March 04, 2023 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)

World Champion Verstappen, said: “I’m very happy to be on pole, it hasn’t been the easiest weekend so far as we’ve been struggling to find the right balance and I’ve been trying to find my rhythm.

“Overall, it was quite a good qualifying, we recovered well with the performance.

“It’s great for the whole Team to have a one-two start tomorrow, and to have Checo (Perez) up there as well is really promising.

“A lot of things can happen during a race as we all know, but I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do out there on track as a Team.”

It looks like it could be a repeat of last seasons battle with Ferrari taking the second row with Charles Leclerc beating Carlos Sainz.

Having set the pace in the final sessions of free practice the ever young Fernando Alonso seems to be enjoying life in green with Aston Martin as he starts fifth ahead of Mercedes.

George Russell took sixth with Lewis Hamilton in seventh with Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin eighth.

Alpine’s Esteban Ocon starts ninth with returning Nico Hulkenberg in tenth for Haas.

McLaren’s Lando Norris starts eleventh having missed out by tenths of a second from the top ten shoot out with Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu in twelfth and thirteenth.

Yuki Tsunoda finished in fourteenth for AlphaTauri with Williams Alex Albon in fifteenth.

All the rookie drivers went out in the first qualifying session with Williams’ Logan Sargent starting sixteenth after setting the same time as Norris but going out due to it being set after the McLaren.

Last years surprise return for Haas, Kevin Magnussen couldn’t match his new teammate and will start in seventeenth.

Eighteenth and nineteenth went to two rookies with McLaren’s Oscar Piastri out qualifying Williams’ Nyck de Vries with a shock twentieth for Pierre Gasly in his new Alpine.

The first race of the season at the Bahrain International Circuit starts 3:00pm (15:00) GMT on Sunday.

Bahrain Grand Prix Qualifying

  1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
  2. Sergio Perez (Red Bull)
  3. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
  4. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)
  5. Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin)
  6. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
  7. George Russell (Mercedes)
  8. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)
  9. Esteban Ocon (Alpine)
  10. Mick Schumacher (Haas)
  11. Lando Norris (McLaren)
  12. Vallteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo)
  13. Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo)
  14. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri)
  15. Alex Albon (Williams)
  16. Logan Sargent (Williams)
  17. Kevin Magnussen (Haas)
  18. Oscar Piastri (McLaren)
  19. Nyck de Vries (AlphaTauri)
  20. Pierre Gasly (Alpine)