Reigning Formula One champion Max Verstappen claimed his maiden victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix to win the first race of the 2023 Formula One season. The Dutchman started the new season as he ended the last one, ending the race in style.
Verstappen won his second consecutive Formula One title last year, winning a record 15 races en route to the title. The 25-year-old Red Bull driver claimed the first pole position of the season in Saturday’s qualifying session ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Verstappen maintained his lead from the start of the race all through the opening laps, taking advantage of his pole position. Charles Leclerc quickly moved to second place, overtaking Sergio Perez early on thanks to his new tyres. Debutant Oscar Piastri was the first one to leave the race after an electrical issue affected his McLaren car in the 15th lap. Red Bull driver Perez was in third place behind his teammate, with Ferrari’s Leclerc in second place.
Last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix winner Leclerc saw his race come to an abrupt end in the 41st lap after power issues affected his car.
Verstappen held on for an easy win in Bahrain, the 36th of his Formula One career. His teammate Perez finished in second place, completing a Red Bull 1-2. 41-year-old Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso secured his 99th career podium finish in third place.
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz finished in fourth place and legendary Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton finished in fifth place. Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll finished sixth and George Russell of Mercedes finished in seventh place. Valtteri Bottas finished in eighth place in the race, with Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon taking the final points of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Verstappen remains a favourite to claim his third successive Formula One title and has started the season in the perfect manner. The season will continue in the Middle East in the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix from March 19th.