By Robert Haile
The first race of the 2023 Formula One season around the Bahrain International Circuit has finished with an ominous familiarity.
A Red Bull 1-2 in qualifying was converted to a race 1-2 as Max Verstappen and Sergio ‘Checo’ Perez finished where they started.
Defending champion Verstappen said: “It was a very good first stint where I made my gap and, from there, it was all about looking after the tyres. Very happy to finally also win here in Bahrain.”
Having shown in practice they had the pace to trouble the front Aston Martin backed it up with Fernando Alonso taking fifth in qualifying and then converting it to third place and a podium place.
The feeling of frustration for Ferrari fans continued as Carlos Sainz finished fourth for Ferrari as teammate Charles Leclerc retired.
They seem to have a car capable of challenging Red Bull but will reliability issues derail their potential.
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton finished fifth as a relieved Lance Stroll for Aston Martin split the Silver Arrows as George Russell took seventh.
Alfa Romeo got their first points with Valtteri Bottas coming home eighth, Alpine’s Pierre Gasly came back from a poor qualifying starting twentieth to finish ninth.
Williams’ Alex Albon rounded out the points scoring positions in tenth with AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda eleventh and rookie Logan Sargent finished twelfth for Williams.
Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg were thirteenth and fifteenth for Haas with Williams’ Nyck de Vries splitting the pair.
The last two were Zhou Guanyu for Alfa Romeo and Lando Norris’s McLaren in sixteenth and seventeenth.
A penalty littered race for Alpine’s Esteban Ocon finished early, Leclerc’s Ferrari came to a halt on lap 41 and rookie Oscar Piastri’s McLaren was retired with electrical issues.
Formula One makes the long trip to Saudi Arabia on March 17-19 in two weeks time.
- Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 25
- Sergio Perez (Red Bull) – 18
- Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) – 15
- Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) – 12
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 10
- Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) – 8
- George Russell (Mercedes) – 6
- Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) – 4
- Pierre Gasly (Alpine) – 2
- Alex Albon (Williams) – 1
- Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) – 0
- Logan Sargent (Williams) – 0
- Kevin Magnussen (Haas) – 0
- Nyck De Vries (AlphaTauri) – 0
- Nico Hulkenberg (Haas) – 0
- Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo) – 0
- Lando Norris (McLaren) – 0
- Esteban Ocon (Alpine) – 0
- Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – 0
- Oscar Piastri (McLaren) – 0
- Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) – 37
- Mick Schumacher (Haas) – 12
- Red Bull – 43
- Aston Martin – 23
- Mercedes – 16
- Ferrari – 12
- Alfa Romeo – 4
- Alpine – 2
- Williams – 1
- AlphaTauri – 0
- Haas – 0
- McLaren – 0