Verstappen wins first GP of the season, Alonso on podium
The long wait has ended - Formula 1 is officially back following the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday. Here's a short recap for you, with an in-depth analysis coming tomorrow.
The starting grid
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull|
|2||Sergio Perez||Red Bull|
|5||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin|
|8||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin|
|12||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo|
|13||Guanyu Zhou||Alfa Romeo|
|19||Nyck de Vries||AlphaTauri|
If you want to know more about what happened during Saturday's qualifying session, check this analysis we've made.
Verstappen with the early lead
Polesitter Max Verstappen took the early lead in the race. The Dutch driver defended well from Ferrari's attacks at the start with some help from teammate Sergio Perez. Then, he continued leading the race with Charles Leclerc trying to catch him behind. However, the Red Bull's pace was much greater and had a 7-second gap to the Ferrari by lap 13.
It was a calm race for them - the current champion kept the lead for most of the race and won it, with his teammate behind, making it a 1-2 for Red Bull at Bahrain.
Ferrari: Non-stop frustrations
The team didn't have a bad start to the race. They fought Verstappen in the opening lap, and they managed to stay behind both Red Bulls through most of the race.
However, misfortune came for Charles Leclerc on lap 42, when his car suddenly stopped, bringing out the Virtual Safety Car as the crews recovered his vehicle.
"No power, no power, no power!"
Charles Leclerc on the radio
It's worth noting that the team had already changed two parts of Leclerc's Power Unit before the race.
Carlos Sainz finished the race in P4 behind Fernando Alonso and ahead of Lewis Hamilton.
Aston Martin: Keeping up with the expectations?
The duo of Fernando Alonso (starting P6) and Lance Stroll (starting P8) surely had a good start to their first Grand Prix of the season. Both drivers didn't drop down, instead managed to stick around their initial places. We even saw Fernando Alonso fighting George Russell for P7 following a pit stop, and winning the battle. The Spaniard then charged on 6th-placed Valtteri Bottas, overtaking him.
Things are still complicated for Stroll, who suffered an accident before the start of the season and is still recovering, so while he did struggle to gain places at the start, he managed to perform well under the circumstances. However, the Canadian presented a good battle against Russell on lap 33, claiming P7 with a fresh set of tires.
"What a lovely car to drive!"
Alonso on the radio on lap 53
Alonso kept pushing through the race and managed to overtake Lewis Hamilton, and then caught up to 3rd-placed Carlos Sainz following Leclerc's retirement. The Spaniard was instructed to push, as Sainz was more conservative about his tires. In the end, Alonso managed to go through and claimed the last place on the podium. Stroll finished the race P6.
Things weren't looking good in pre-season testing already and the fate seems to have continued into the season for McLaren. The team had a poor start and had to call Oscar Piastri into the pits due to a shifting issue. Through the radio, we could hear the engineer tell the Australian that it was an issue with the steering wheel and that it would be replaced. However, the car was retired from the race.
Lando Norris meanwhile struggled through the race and had many pit stops. With 6 laps remaining, the British driver was sitting last (P17 with previous retirements) with a gap of over a minute to the car of Nico Hulkenberg in front.
Can't not mention: Pierre Gasly
The French driver for Alpine started the race in P20 but made a great recovery drive to finish the race inside the points in 9th place, ahead of Alexander Albon who also scored for Williams.
Stick around! An in-depth analysis of the race is coming tomorrow. Make sure to subscribe to access all of our content!