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Fernando Alonso comes third in the Bahrain Grand Prix: Grandpa goes racing every Sunday


His team-mate rammed him, but Fernando Alonso was undeterred: The 41-year-old Spaniard finished on the podium in the Aston Martin – for the 99th time in his career. Winner Max Verstappen could only be seen with binoculars.

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Fernando Alonso in the Aston Martin is happy about 15 points

Photo: Ariel Shalit / AP

Formula nostalgia:

Lewis Hamilton, 38, and Fernando Alonso, 41, have been world champions in Formula 1 several times and are figureheads of the racing series.

And both are still very passionate about this sport.

So it came about that the two experienced drivers fought tough duels in the first race of the new Formula 1 season in Bahrain.

For a long time Hamilton in the Mercedes managed to fend off the attacks of the Spanish opponent in the Aston Martin, towards the end of the race the two-time world championship champion Alonso passed - and he still didn't have enough.

He then grabbed Carlos Sainz in the Ferrari.

Race result:

Veteran Alonso secured third place in the first race of the year, ensuring a dream result for the highly rated Aston Martin.

It was Alonso's 99th podium, the last time he had finished in the top three was in 2021.

“It's unbelievable what Aston Martin has achieved over the winter.

To have the second best car in the first race is just surreal,” said Alonso.

Result of the race, part 2:

However, it was not possible to beat the superiority of Red Bull: Sergio Pérez was second, at the front world champion Max Verstappen drove a lonely race.

Ferrari only got one driver to finish with Carlos Sainz (fourth).

Read the race report here.

The starting phase:

World Champion Verstappen started from pole position and was able to follow his team-mate Pérez's fight with the two Ferrari drivers from the front in the rear-view mirror.

Charles Leclerc emerged victorious from the duel and pushed his Ferrari from third to second position.

However, another attack on Verstappen failed – the Dutchman in the Red Bull extended his lead over the competition early on.

After ten of a total of 57 laps, Verstappen already had a lead of over seven seconds.

Team building with a difference:

A new team should grow together, but in the fourth corner after the start, a Formula 1 driver took it too seriously: there Lance Stroll touched the car of his new Aston Martin teammate Alonso.

The rear of the Spanish veteran remained undamaged, but the secret qualifying winner (fifth place) lost two places.

'Someone touched me.

It doesn't work that way," Alonso radioed to his team.

Maybe it was good for team chemistry that his pit crew didn't tell him directly who had touched him.

Flash healing:

Speaking of Stroll: He could no longer move his hands, nor was he able to walk.

This is what his world looked like just a few days ago, and there are better situations for a racing driver.

In a bicycle accident during the pre-season, the Canadian Aston Martin driver broke his right wrist, sprained his left and also broke a toe.

It had already been speculated whether Sebastian Vettel would return to the cockpit for a race after the end of his career and replace Stroll.

But Stroll, who had been operated on just 12 days ago, now had his hands on the steering wheel and his feet on the pedals.

Except for the dropout at the beginning, Stroll drove well and finished sixth.

Alonso is chasing the silver arrows:

After the poor qualifying on Saturday, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff had already questioned whether his racing team was still part of the top trio with Red Bull and Ferrari.

Although Lewis Hamilton and George Russell initially finished fifth and sixth, they didn't really want to be satisfied.

"Is Hamilton driving tactically to protect his tires or is he just slow?" Russell asked over the radio, implying he wasn't going fast enough.

But there was also danger behind Russell: Alonso, who was driving an Aston Martin that had been greatly improved compared to the previous season, constantly attacked the Brit and overtook him on the 13th lap.

Hamilton was also due later.

Hulk left his strength:

"HulkHulkenberg" is what Nico Hulkenberg calls himself on Instagram, and the last remaining German in Formula 1 actually reported back in qualifying on Saturday with a tour de force.

Hülkenberg, who did not have a permanent cockpit in Formula 1 for three years and succeeded Mick Schumacher at Haas, started the race in tenth place - then he lost his strength.

The 35-year-old got off to a weak start, lost parts of his front wing after contact and fell back.

Schumacher followed the performance of his successor as the Mercedes reserve driver from the pit lane.

Perhaps he was remembering his own time at Haas, which was often unfortunate for him too.

Hulkenberg finished the race in 15th place.

New home:

Four races in the Arab region, three Grands Prix in the USA alone – the Arabization and Americanization of Formula 1 is progressing.

In Europe it may have lost popularity - here in Germany the long-standing TV partner RTL left -, in other regions of the world the racing series is still very popular, not least the hype surrounding the Netflix documentary »Drive to survive«. proves

So it is not surprising that Formula 1 with the US owner Liberty Media initially starts with races in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and ends with a newly created race in the glittering world of Las Vegas and finally in Abu Dhabi.


The winner of the opening race in Formula 1 will not become world champion.

This rule has been in effect since 2017 at least. So far, Nico Rosberg was the last driver to also become champion after winning the opening Grand Prix at the end of the year.

The German won in Melbourne in 2016 and also secured the world championship at the season finale.

So Max Verstappen shouldn't celebrate too soon, but given his dominance, it's hard to imagine another world champion in Formula 1.

Source: spiegel

All sports articles on 2023-03-05

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