The 2023 Formula One season is underway, and we were treated to quite an exciting opening race filled with differing performances from the grid. Below I will be giving highlights and a recap of the Bahrain Grand Prix, as well as a brief preview of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

Highlights From Bahrain Grand Prix

Although there were no real shocks from Formula One’s opening race, there was still plenty of exciting action. After giving a first taste of the campaign, we have a better picture of what the 2023 season has in store for its fans.

It was no real surprise seeing Max Verstappen nab first place, as he was coming off back-to-back World Drivers Championships and 15 Grand Prix victories in 2022. The Dutch driver led from the jump and finished eleven seconds ahead of his Red Bull teammate, Mexican Sergio “Checo” Perez, who rounded out a 1-2 finish by the Red Bull drivers.

Their team has opened the season on a high note with 47 points, as they hope to defend their Constructors Championship.

Finishing off the Podium was veteran Spanish driver Fernando Alonso, who claimed Aston Martin’s 2nd podium in their history. This wasn’t very shocking as Alonso had posted great times in pre-season testing, but it definitely solidified Aston Martin as contenders this year, as their second driver Canadian Lance Stroll was able to earn a 6th place finish.

Aston Martin has already put up 40% of their points total from 2022, with 23 points from the opening Grand Prix, and will look to keep improving.

Moving on to Ferrari, it was another race filled with disappointment. Although Spanish driver Carlos Sainz Jr. was able to finish 4th and earn fifteen points for his team, Monaco driver Charles Leclerc suffered a horrific end to the race. In what was likely a podium finish for Leclerc ended up in disappointment as his car’s engine failures followed him from the 2022 season.

Despite owning a championship-contending car, Ferrari still seems to have a few bumps in the road before they challenge Red Bull for the title.

Another thing that became apparent at the Bahrain Grand Prix is that Mercedes is no longer a legitimate contender and will be battling for a 3rd place finish in the constructor’s championship. Mercedes took a stumble in 2022, and now it seems that they’ve fallen flat onto its face.

British drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell finished 5th and 7th, respectively, which isn’t terrible by any means, but it definitely falls far below the expectations Formula One fans have for the team. Hamilton has also voiced his frustrations with Mercedes, as he believes they didn’t listen to his input following a disappointing campaign last year.

Hopefully, Hamilton and Mercedes will be able to make the changes necessary to get them back into title conversations.

Other highlights from Bahrain included Alfa Romeo driver Zhou Guanyu, who was able to clock the fastest lap on his final time around the track, with a time of 1:33.996. The Chinese driver was able to gain a single point, despite his 16th-place finish.

In addition to this, Leclerc was joined by Mclaren’s Oscar Piastri and Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, who were also unable to finish the race.

Preview of Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

Although there’s no race this weekend, the action continues next week with the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Similar to past formats, the action is spread across three days from Friday, March 17, until Sunday, March 19, and consists of three free practice sessions, a qualifying session, and the Grand Prix.

The Grand Prix will take place at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, a 6.174-kilometer track with 27 turns, 3 DRS detection zones, and a speed trap. All twenty drivers will return to the grid in the second edition of the 2023 Formula One campaign, as Red Bull will look to repeat their dominant performance.