Max Verstappen got off the line quickly at the 2023 Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday to lay the foundation for a comfortable first victory as teammate Sergio Pérez completed the 1-2 to wrap up a perfect start to the defence of Oracle Red Bull Racing’s FIA Formula One World Championship titles.
Dutchman Verstappen managed to hold off the field from pole position as the RB19 looked imperious with Mexican Pérez dropping to third off the line, however fighting back to finish ahead of Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team’s Fernando Alonso, who drove well for third.
Max Verstappen, Driver, Red Bull Racing
This is exactly the start we wanted, a one-two finish. I’m incredibly proud that we have achieved this as a Team. I could see early on that we had the pace in the car. I was able to build a gap from the start and then just managed it for the rest of the race. It was a straightforward day for us. It also feels good to finally win in Bahrain. I haven’t had the best history here. Looking ahead to Jeddah, it’s a completely different track with different conditions, there are a lot of long straights and fast corners, so it will give us a completely different picture of where everyone is on the grid, but at least this was a very good start for us.
Sergio Pérez, Driver, Red Bull Racing:
My start wasn’t ideal, Charles was a little too aggressive and pushed me to the right, and I did my best to avoid him. That meant my first stint wasn’t ideal, Charles was very strong on that new tyre, and it was difficult to get through him quickly enough. I think that’s where I lost out to Max. I was behind him by about 10 or 12 seconds, and after that, it was game over on catching Max. It was all about getting Charles. It was important to get by him, minimise the damage and get that P2 for the Team. There are a lot of improvements we can still make to try and make our car better, but there is still plenty of work going on behind the scenes. We have been very strong on this tarmac, but Bahrain is a unique circuit, and things will be closer to other circuits.
CHRISTIAN HORNER – CEO and Team Principal, Red Bull Racing
What a race! Max certainly showed he had not lost any pace coming into the new season, grabbing the pole and the victory with both hands. Checo had a bit of work to do with Charles, but he played it well, and then from there, it was about managing the race till the end. The pace and reliability were also there, and we had a solid pit-stop strategy. It’s great to have both the guys up there within a tenth, fighting over the fine margins. That pushes the Team forward, and they certainly delivered. Comparing it to last year, when we finished with no points, is quite a contrast. However, it’s important to remember this is just race one, there’s still a lot of racing, but it is a great start from the whole team. It was important for us to get on the board and get some good points in early; we have done that today. We look forward to seeing what Jeddah brings.