Finally, Formula 1 fans across the world got to hear the infamous words from the start of any Grand Prix: it’s lights out and away we go!
Bahrain 2023 got off to a pretty standard start with Max Verstappen (Redbull) keeping his starting grid place and continuously widening the gap between him and the driver in 2nd.
That spot was dominated by both Ferrari and Redbull with Carlos Sainz, Charles Leclerc (both Ferrari) and Serigo Perez (Redbull) constantly fighting for the place, but Bahrain ultimately ended with a Redbull 1-2.
“This is exactly what we were dreaming of and what we wanted to achieve, so yeah, great day for the whole team… It has been a great start for us, for the whole team, so this is not something we are used to. We are very happy at the moment, but we always keep working.”-Max Verstappen, F1.com
However, only time will tell if the Bahrain winner’s curse will come to fruition this year.
Since 2017, the driver that has won the Bahrain Grand Prix has not only lost out on the Driver’s Championship but has also finished second place.
Victims of the curse include Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton and Charles LeClerc, all losing out to their biggest rival in that season.
Some of the best racing came from surprise 3rd placed Fernando Alonso.
After the shock of the Aston Martin driver’s domination in practice and him ultimately setting the fastest pace in both Practice 2 and 3, fans were waiting with bated breath to see what the oldest driver on the grid would do.
Alonso did not disappoint and gained his 99th podium of his Formula 1 career.
It is no surprise that the Spaniard was also voted salesforce Driver of the Day, securing whopping 53.3% of the fan votes.
His fellow teammate, Lance Stroll, also placed 6th, an impressive result 12 days after his surgery.
The young driver was involved in a mountain biking accident and suffered a fracture and displacement in his right wrist, a fracture in his left wrist, a partial fracture in his left hand and a fracture in the big toe on his right foot.
‘With an incredible medical team and my friends and family supporting me – I was able to push through the pain and get back on track in Bahrain with my team and fellow drivers. And we did it!’-Lance Stroll
However, not everyone was as fortunate in Bahrain.
Mercedes did not get off to a great start with 7-time world champion Lewis Hamilton finishing 5th and teammate George Russel not far behind in 6th.
McLaren did even worse with their rookie driver, Oscar Piastri, ending his race after 15 laps when his car would not restart.
Lando Norris did not fare much better and finished 17th after pitting a staggering 6 times.
Ferrari hopes of a world championship are not looking great.
Charles LeClerc, who placed 2nd in the 2022 Drivers’ World Championship, did not finish the race after his car ground to a halt on lap 41.
His teammate, Carlos Sainz, finished 4th. Only time will tell if Ferrari can improve their car over the season.
However, Esteban Ocon had seriously bad luck during the race.
The Alpine driver was given a 5 second penalty for an inaccurate start position, then handed a 10 second penalty for failing to serve the first penalty properly during his pit stop, followed by another 5 second penalty for speeding in the pit lane.
He equalled the unenviable record for penalties in one race, set by Pastor Maldonado in the 2015 Hungarian Grand Prix. Ocon ultimately did not finish his race after suffering an mechanical issue on Lap 41. His teammate, Pierre Gasly, finished 9th.
The full results of the Bahrain grand prix can be found on the official Formula 1 website.
The first race of the 2023 season has managed to be predictable and unpredictable.
It can’t be said who will win the championships this year but Redbull have got an impressive car and two brilliant drivers.
It would be no surprise if Max Verstappen could secure his 3rd World Championship early in the season. Formula 1 2023 will have its ups and downs but promises to be another exciting watch.
The next race is 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, which takes place at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 17 to 19.
Featured Image Credit: Formula 1