It is finally upon us, the time long awaited and heavily desired for throughout the dreaded winter break – the F1 2023 season is here! Last Sunday we saw the first race of the season in Bahrain, which definitely set the tone for a thrilling year ahead. Let’s recap the weekend, in case you missed it…
If you are a Redbull fan, I am sure you have already heard the good news, as it was a double podium for the team, with Verstappen taking first place (by a long while) and Perez in second. Verstappen’s race was nothing short of a relaxing Sunday afternoon stroll for the driver, as he zoomed far ahead of his competitors and remained a respectable distance away for the remainder of the race, a real dominator of the sport. After such a finish, I can imagine the Redbull team treated themselves to an abundance of celebrations that evening, as frankly they could not have possibly achieved a better result. As it stands, one can therefore assume that Redbull will continue to eliminate its competition throughout the season and remain frontrunners, but for the purposes of exhilarating competition, fans don’t really want this to be the case in a sport like Formula 1.
Redbull was not completely short of threats this race however, and had the Ferrari’s of Sainz and Leclerc following close behind for some time. Leclerc had an astounding start to the race, with a reaction time significantly faster than Verstappen, allowing him to overtake Perez and grab P2 by the first corner. Leclerc was showing significant progress throughout the race, maintaining a steady pace, but if we know Ferrari, something was bound to go awry and unfortunately for Charles it did indeed. A large portion into the race, suddenly, Leclerc’s car has an engine issue and subsequently fails. He was therefore forced to retire, and received a DNF, as opposed to the win he received in Bahrain the previous year. Sainz also lost places due to tire deficiency, and finished in P4 only. Ferrari did not have the weekend they had anticipated in the slightest, and I am assuming they will be desperate to redeem their abilities at the next grand prix.
The major surprise of the weekend was surprisingly not to do with one of the leading teams, but the remarkable pace and power of the new Aston Martin, especially of Alonso. The team has never been able to compete with the likes of the major teams, but this year has shown the capability of becoming a top contender. After producing stellar laps in Qualifying, Alonso went on to secure P3 in Bahrain, an unprecedented result for the team. His amazing defending and overtaking tactics, coupled with the very many years of F1 experience, posed a large threat to his competitors. Potentially an exciting fight could be at play this season, with a team who is ready to start taking wins!
There were many more shocking aspects of the race in which could be discussed, including a McLaren downfall and a great performance by rookie, Logan Sergeant. It is therefore evident that this season will be full of exciting twists and turns based on the Bahrain Grand Prix, let’s go!
Image: Alexandr Bormotin on Unplash