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Max Verstappen wins the first Grand Prix of the 2023 Formula 1 season; Sergio "Checo" Pérez was second


The podium in the first race of the year: Max Verstappen from the Netherlands, Sergio "Checo" Pérez from Mexico and Fernando Alonso from Spain

Max Verstappen at the end of the first race of the season.

Credit: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

(CNN) --

A perfect start for defending champion Max Verstappen to the 2023 Formula 1 season with a win he dominated from start to finish in Bahrain on Sunday.

Verstappen managed to avoid any drama early in the race, establishing a lead of more than a second on the opening lap.

Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso was less lucky, losing a place when new teammate Lance Stroll headed for his car at the first corner, while Ferrari's Charles Leclerc managed to pass Sergio Perez into second and split the field. from Red Bull.

Verstappen maintained his impressive pace throughout the night at the Bahrain International Circuit, enjoying a 10-second lead over his nearest rival after just 14 laps.

The eventual margin of victory for the 25-year-old Dutchman was just 12 seconds ahead of his teammate Perez.

"It was a really good first stage where I basically made my space," Verstappen said after the race.

"I am very happy to finally win here in Bahrain."

Leclerc was forced to retire on lap 41 after a power failure forced the virtual safety car to start.

Alonso capitalized on that mishap, beating Leclerc's teammate Carlos Sainz to the 99th podium of his illustrious career in his first race with Aston Martin at the age of 41.


Max Verstappen shared the podium with Sergio Pérez and Fernando Alonso Credit: Peter Fox/Getty Images

Looking to surpass Michael Schumacher's world championship record (both currently hold 7 titles), Lewis Hamilton struggled to make an impact in the race as his Mercedes couldn't keep up with the Red Bull and Ferrari.

The 38-year-old has gained two positions since his opening start of seventh, but expects to see big improvements in his car's performance in the coming weeks.

"You have to keep pushing. There's some serious work to be done," the Briton could be heard telling his team on the radio after crossing the finish line.

McLaren had a disastrous opening race, with newcomer Oscar Piastri forced to retire early as a result of an electronics problem, while Lando Norris was the last car to finish the race.

Credit: Lars Baron/Getty Images

Looking ahead to the upcoming Grand Prix in Saudi Arabia, Verstappen said: "We can definitely fight with this [car].

A big thank you to the team in winter for what they have done again, it is a very fast race car.

The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will take place on March 19 at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

Fernando Alonso Max Verstappen Sergio "Checo" Pérez

Source: cnnespanol

All news articles on 2023-03-05

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