Max Verstappen made the perfect start to the 2023 season, snatching an easy win at the Bahrain Grand Prix with a comfortable lead over his teammate, Sergio Perez, who finished right behind him, in P2, followed by Fernando Alonso in P3.
This was the first podium scored by the Spaniard after the 2021 Qatar Grand Prix, and the 99th of his 20-year-old career, on which he said: "Finishing on the podium in the first race of the year is amazing. To have the second best car on race one is just unreal."
Bahrain Grand Prix – Lap by lap:
Race Start: Max Verstappen immediately started extending his lead over Charles Leclerc, who managed to pass Sergio Perez in the opening lap of the race, to place his SF-23 in P2.
Lap 1: A small moment of awkwardness between the two Aston Martin drivers, as Lance Stroll dove into the back of Fernando Alonso. Thankfully no damage picked by either drivers.
Lap 12: An amazing battle between George Russell and Fernando Alonso, which saw the Spaniard come ahead of the Brit at the end of Lap 13.
Lap 15: Oscar Piastri's first ever Formula 1 race came to an early end, as some sort of an electrical issue has forced McLaren to retire the car.
Lap 25: A battle that ended shortly enough, as Sergio Perez reclaimed P2 from Charles Leclerc on the first Turn of the next lap.
Lap 29: "My left front is giving up a little bit," said Max Verstappen, as he kept extending his lead over his teammate.
The Esteban Ocon curse: The Frenchman certainly didn't have a good day, as he received a 5 sec penalty for not positioning his car correctly on the grid. He then served the penalty but incorrectly, earning another 10 sec penalty, and then another 5 sec. one for speeding in the pitlane.
Lap 37: An amazing battle between Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso saw the two multi-Champions swapping places three times in total, with Alonso securing that P5.
Lap 41: Heartbreak for Charles Leclerc, as his SF-23 died under his watch, with the Monegasque pulling over and retiring from the race. Maranello says that it was an ICE issue and that the entire PU will be discarded completely.
Lap 46: A two-lap long battle for the last place on the podium saw Fernando Alonso pass Carlos Sainz, with the younger Spaniard of the two having to defend from Lewis Hamilton as well, even though the Mercedes driver didn't manage to pass through, and Sainz kept his P5.
Rightfully so, Fernando Alonso won the fans' vote for DOTD.
Max Verstappen took a comfortable win in Bahrain, followed by his teammate, Sergio Perez in P2, and Fernando Alonso in P3.
Carlos Sainz manage to fend from Lewis Hamilton and kept P4, with the Brit staying at P5. Lance Stroll in P6, had a steady, quick race, seeming to have perfectly recovered from his bike injury that left him out of the pre-season testing last week. The second Mercedes driver, George Russell, ended up in P7, followed by Valtteri Bottas in P8, Pierre Gasly in P9 and Alex Albon in P10.
Honourable mention to Logan Sargeant (P12), who, even though finished outside of the top 10, achieved the highest position of the Rookies, as Nyck de Vries finished in P14 and Oscar Piastri DNF'ed.