The Bahrain Grand Prix opened the dances of the new Formula 1 season. These are the major tops and flops of the first 2023 weekend.
Max Verstappen (and Red Bull)
The two-time World Champion started the new season with an epic win, leaving the rest of the grid behind him for almost half a lap. Verstappen was in great form, and clearly ready to fight for his third crown, thanks to a car that perfectly suits him and his driving style. The number 1, after a perfect start, created a big gap with the other drivers, making it impossible for anyone to fight for the first position.
Aston Martin ended the Bahrain Grand Prix with Fernando Alonso on the podium and Lance Stroll in sixth. After two difficult seasons for the team, 2023 seems to be the right year for them. Alonso fought against Lewis Hamilton and Carlos Sainz to achieve the third spot on the podium, crossing the finish line happy with the result and the feeling of the car. On the other hand, the performance of Stroll was amazing, considering that the Canadian is still recovering from breaking both wrists and several toes in a bike incident two weeks ago.
How happy?! 🤩#BahrainGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/wZikJ1Jp9I
— Formula 1 (@F1) March 5, 2023
Pierre Gasly started the season’s first race from the back of the grid, after a difficult qualifying session on Saturday. Taking advantage of the retirements of the drivers in front of him and gaining positions with a winning strategy. At the finish line, he ended up in ninth place, collecting important points for Alpine, especially given Esteban Ocon’s difficult day.
The 2023 season started in the worst of the ways for McLaren, which had to retire Oscar Piastri’s car and saw Lando Norris finishing last of the runners. Piastri, one of the three new rookies, left the race early on due to a technical issue with his steering wheel. The problems weren’t reserved for just car number 81, because Norris dealt with air pressure issues on his vehicle. The Bahrain Grand Prix is a weekend to forget for McLaren.
Oscar Piastri's first F1 race is over 😖
Looks like an electrical issue has ended his night#BahrainGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/5xJ2wrCI27
— Formula 1 (@F1) March 5, 2023
Ferrari saw its chances to gain a podium thrown away after Charles Leclerc‘s retirement. The Monegasque had to leave the Grand Prix after a problem with the control unit that Ferrari had changed before the race. However, Carlos Sainz remained in third after Leclerc’s retirement. But Sainz’s tire wear didn’t hold up against Alonso’s on the hard ties. He fought for as long as possible but ultimately was overtaken by Alonso. The Scuderia needs to find the problem with the SF-23 if they want to fight Red Bull.
If Pierre Gasly had a positive race, his teammate Esteban Ocon had a nightmare. His first Grand Prix of the season was already compromised by a five seconds penalty for being out of position on the grid. Ocon saw the situation worsen when he received another ten seconds penalty for failing to serve his initial penalty correctly. He was then given a further five-second penalty for speeding in the pit lane. The French driver ended the race in the garage after retiring his car.