2023 Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix highlights



Red Bull enjoyed a perfect start to the season in the 2023 Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix as Max Verstappen cruised to victory over teammate Sergio Perez – while Fernando Alonso finished third as Charles Leclerc retired from the race.

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Everyone bar hard-shod Kevin Magnussen (P15) began the race on soft tyres, and Verstappen had a solid getaway, but teammate Perez fell back and lost second place to Leclerc – while Carlos Sainz couldn’t quite pry P3 off the Red Bull. The reigning champion stretched his legs in the lead and eventually won by over 10 seconds. Perez completed the one-two with both Red Bull drivers on similar soft-soft-hard strategies.

Aston Martin’s hopes of crashing the podium fight seemed to have come crashing down on Lap 1 when Lance Stroll lunged on teammate Alonso into Turn 4 and hit the rear-right of his car, allowing both Mercedes ahead.

Ferrari’s hopes of the podium did, however, come crashing down on Lap 41 when Leclerc retired with an engine issue. That was just after Alonso made a brilliant move to take P5 off Lewis Hamilton down the inside of Turn 10. Alonso went on the warpath, and on Lap 45, he passed Sainz after a stunning battle through Sector 2 to seal his first podium since Qatar 2021.

Therefore, Sainz settled for fourth, fending off a brief attack from Hamilton, who ended up fifth on the board. As for Stroll, he was perhaps relieved not to get a penalty for hitting his teammate on Lap 1 and perhaps more relieved to see Alonso finish on the podium. The Canadian made an admirable recovery from his wrist injury, however, and finished sixth between the Mercedes – as George Russell was undercut by the Aston Martin in the second pit stop and finished seventh.

Valtteri Bottas capitalised on poor starts for his rivals and finished a solid eighth for Alfa Romeo, while Pierre Gasly recovered from P20 for Alpine, pitting three times, to finish ninth. Alex Albon finished 10th for Williams after a great start, while Yuki Tsunoda narrowly missed the final point in his AlphaTauri.

Rookie Logan Sargeant battled with Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu to take 12th on debut. At the same time, Zhou pitted on the penultimate lap of the race to promote Kevin Magnussen – whose hard-hard-soft gambit didn’t yield points – to P13.

Nyck de Vries took P14 on his AlphaTauri debut, leaving Nico Hulkenberg 15th with a five-second penalty. Zhou was classified 16th for Alfa Romeo, and Lando Norris endured a tough race, a slow pit stop seeing him barrel down the order. A last-lap pit stop for softs saw the McLaren driver round out the standings.

Esteban Ocon had a calamitous start to the season for Alpine, copping a five-second penalty for lining up on his grid slot incorrectly, a further 10-second penalty for serving that penalty incorrectly, and another five seconds for speeding in the pit lane. Alpine decided to retire him late on.

Leclerc was incredulous when he retired on Lap 41, and Oscar Piastri’s debut ended after just 13 laps when he pulled into the McLaren pits with an electrical issue.

Meanwhile, Alonso was jubilant to take his first podium in over a year.

And it was a perfect start to 2023 for Red Bull – but things can change. Just last year, both Red Bulls retired from the season’s opening race of the season…

Mario Isola, Motorsport Director, Pirelli:

The race strategies played out largely as expected at the first grand prix of the new season. All the teams stopped at least twice, but we saw a number of different choices for the second and third stints. Today’s key compound was the new P Zero White hard C1, which we introduced this year. It worked exactly as anticipated, performing in line with the data gathered over the last few days and during pre-season testing. The P Zero Red soft C3 instead showed less degradation than indicated by the previous data, probably influenced by track evolution as well. Congratulations to Red Bull for choosing a unique alternative strategy that helped them to seal a one-two, as well as to Aston Martin, also on the podium.

How the race was won:

Red Bull brought home a one-two at the opening race of the 2023 season. The Bahrain Grand Prix was won by Max Verstappen, who crossed the finish line on hard tyres. His teammate Sergio Perez and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso were also on the podium, using the hard for the final stint.

Race conditions today were very similar to those seen in qualifying on Saturday, with 30°C of track temperature and almost no wind.

All the teams stopped at least twice. Tyre choices varied for the central stints, but most drivers finished the race on the hard compound. Four teams used a Virtual Safety Car to make a third pit stop for the soft tyre. Alpine’s Pierre Gasly was the only one to score points, ending up ninth.

Red Bull and Ferrari, fighting for the top positions for a large part of the race, opted for different strategies. Both teams started on the soft, but Red Bull chose the soft tyres again for the second stint, while Ferrari went for the hard. Both teams then chose the hard for the final stint, with Ferrari stopping slightly earlier than its rivals.

Alfa Romeo’s Guanyu Zhou set the fastest lap of the race (1m33.996s) on the soft tyre but didn’t score an extra championship point as he ran outside the top 10. The fastest lap set on the new hard tyre was from Alonso, who did a 1m36.156s.

2023 Formula 1 Bahrain GP pitstops

The alternative strategy:

The only driver not to take the soft tyre for the start was Haas’s Kevin Magnussen, who chose a new set of hards instead. Pierre Gasly (Alpine) was the first driver to stop, who took on hard tyres on laps nine and 25.

Red Bull was the only team to complete a soft-soft-hard strategy, with Williams doing something similar before making an extra stop for softs on lap 40. Gasly, Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) and Haas cars also pitted under the Virtual Safety Car, caused by a stoppage for Charles Leclerc (Ferrari).

Aston Martin ran the same strategy as the Ferrari drivers for Alonso: going from soft to hard on lap 14 and then completing the race on hard after a second stop. McLaren’s Lando Norris was the sole driver to use the P Zero Yellow medium C2.

2023 Formula 1 Bahrain GP

2023 Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix Race Results

1.1Max VerstappenNetherlandsRed Bull Racing Honda1:33:56.7362525
2.11Sergio PerezMexicoRed Bull Racing Honda+11.987s1818
4.14Fernando AlonsoSpainAlpine F1 Team+38.637s1515
4.55Carlos SainzSpainScuderia Ferrari+48.052s1212
5.44Lewis HamiltonGreat BritainMercedes-AMG Petronas+50.977s1010
6.18Lance StrollCanadaAston Martin F1 Team+54.502s88
7.63George RussellGreat BritainMercedes-AMG Petronas+55.873s66
8.77Valtteri BottasFinlandAlfa Romeo F1 Team+72.647s44
9.10Pierre GaslyFranceScuderia AlphaTauri+73.753s22
10.45Alexander AlbonThailandWilliams Racing+89.774s11
11.22Yuki TsunodaJapanScuderia AlphaTauri+90.870s00
12.2Logan SargeantUSAWilliams Racing+1 lap00
13.20Kevin MagnussenDenmarkHaas F1 Team+1 lap00
14.21Nyck De VriesNetherlandsScuderia AlphaTauri+1 lap00
15.27Nico HulkenbergGermanyHaas F1 Team+1 lap00
16.24Zhou GuanyuChinaAlfa Romeo F1 Team+1 lap00
17.4Lando NorrisGreat BritainMclaren Racing+2 laps00
18.31Esteban OconFranceAlpine F1 TeamDNF00
19.16Charles LeclercMonacoScuderia FerrariDNF00
10.81Oscar PiastriGermanyMcLaren RacingDNF00

2023 Constructor Standings

1.Red Bull Racing860
2.Mercedes-AMG F1 Team409
3.Scuderia Ferrari406
4.McLaren Racing302
5.Aston Martin F1 Team280
6.Alpine F1 Team120
7.Williams Racing28
8.Scuderia AlphaTauri25
8.Alfa Romeo Racing16
10.Haas F1 Team12

Here are the team-by-team highlights:

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