F1 Bahrain Grand Prix 2023 results: Highlights, analysis as Verstappen wins and Alonso takes 99th career podium

F1 Bahrain Grand Prix 2023 results: Highlights, analysis as Verstappen wins and Alonso takes 99th career podium

It proved the perfect race for Red Bull’s Max Verstappen as he kicked off his world drivers’ championship title defence in style by winning the 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix in dominant fashion. 

Starting from pole position, the Dutchman effectively led from start to finish as teammate Sergio Perez made it a one-two finish for last year’s constructors’ championship victors. 

Just behind, Fernando Alonso rolled back the years to claim his 99th podium finish in F1 as he pushed out fellow Spaniard Carlos Sainz to finish in P3. 

The Bahrain Grand Prix proved another headache for Ferrari though, as Sainz’s teammate Charles Leclerc was forced to retire after his car suffered a huge failure whilst the Monegasque driver occupied P3. 

Lewis Hamilton, Lance Stroll, George Russell, Valtteri Bottas, Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon rounded out the points-paying position as Formula One returned. 

MORE: When and where is the next F1 race?

F1 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix results

Position Driver Team Points
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 25
2 Sergio Perez Red Bull 18
3 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin 15
4 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 12
5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 10
6 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 8
7 George Russell Mercedes 6
8 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 4
9 Pierre Gasly Alpine 2
10 Alex Albon Williams 1
11 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri  
12 Logan Sargeant Williams  
13 Kevin Magnussen Haas  
14 Nyck de Vries AlphaTuari  
15 Nico Hulkenberg Haas  
16 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo  
17 Lando Norris McLaren  
DNF Esteban Ocon Alpine  
DNF Charles Leclerc Ferrari  
DNF Oscar Piastri McLaren  

Verstappen dominates season opener

After claiming pole position by a substantial margin on Saturday, many expected Verstappen to cruise to the 36th F1 victory of his career in style on Sunday.

F1 Bahrain Grand Prix 2023 results: Highlights, analysis as Verstappen wins and Alonso takes 99th career podium

The Dutchman didn’t disappoint as he kicked off his title defence perfectly. From the off he proved too tough to challenge for the field and eventually came home to finish nearly 12 seconds ahead of his teammate, Perez who took P2. 

Barring a minor problem which saw him struggle slightly with his downshifts, the opening weekend of the 2023 season couldn’t have gone much better for Verstappen and his Austrian team. 

Alonso claims the 99th podium finish of his career and ‘F1 Driver of the Day’ title

There were a few eyebrows raised last season when Alonso announced he was leaving Alpine for Aston Martin but skip forward six months and his decision already looks like a master stroke. 

Starting from P5 on the grid, Alonso struggled in the early exchanges after being hit by teammate Lance Stroll on the opening lap but he quickly shrugged off any adversity to fight Lewis Hamilton and Carlos Sainz on track for the final step on the podium. 

The veteran driver first pulled a great move at turn ten to slip down the inside of Hamilton before he then out dragged Sainz down the back straight to claim the 99th podium of his illustrious career. 

Leclerc suffers a nightmare start to the season

Although pundits and fans almost unanimously agree that Verstappen will take home a third World Drivers’ Championship this season, many put Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc as his main competitor this year.

Unfortunately, just 12 months on from his win in Bahrain last year, the Monegasque driver suffered a nightmare start to his 2023 championship campaign as he was forced to retire midway through the opening race due to a power failure.

Leclerc was safely running in P3 when the incident occurred which stripped him of a likely podium finish and some vital early points in the championship race. 

F1 Bahrain Grand Prix 2023 live updates, highlights: As it happened

CHEQUERED FLAGVerstappen wins the 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix!!! A truly dominant showing from the world champion who kicks off his title defence in perfect style. 

Teammate Perez comes home in P2 whilst Aston Martin score only their second ever podium finish in F1 as Alonso rounds out the top three. 

Lap 53: Sainz looks like he’s done just enough to hold off Hamilton this afternoon. That will save some pride for Ferrari after Leclerc’s DNF. 

Lap 50: Verstappen is miles ahead in this race and looks set to start off his title defence in the perfect way here in Bahrain. 

It’s proving another tough race for Ferrari though as Sainz continues to struggle with Hamilton breathing down his neck. 

Gasly clocks the fastest lap down in P9. A great race from him so far considering he started right at the back. 

Lap 47: And now Sainz comes under pressure from Hamilton who would love to take an unlikely P4 today. The Ferrari driver is really struggling with his tyres here. 

Lap 45: Alonso overtakes Sainz for P3!!! The Ferrari man couldn’t handle the pressure as he locks up his front left into corner ten which give the veteran a chance which he takes. Magical stuff for Alonso and Aston Martin.

Lap 43: What a battle we have for P3 in this race now. Sainz leads that particular race as it stands but Alonso is only just one second behind. The Veteran could find his way onto the podium here in Bahrain!

Alpine make the decision to retire Ocon.

Lap 41: LECLERC IS OUT!! It’s an absolute disaster for the Ferrari driver who loses all power and is forced to pull off at the side of the track. 

The virtual safety car is out. 

Lap 39: Here comes Alonso! The Aston Martin makes the move into corner three but then his car steps out of line and Hamilton retakes P5 onto the next straight. The action carries on throughout the rest of the lap but the Spaniard can’t make another move first corner. 

But wait, he goes down the inside at turn ten, what a move that is! “Yes, let’s go” he shouts down the radio. 

Lap 35: Perez is in for what should be his pit of the race as he straps on a set of hard tyres for the remainder.

Alonso also makes another stop and comes out just behind Hamilton. The Spaniard does have fresher tyres now though and will look to steal P5 from the Brit before the end. 

Lap 33: The undercut works for Stroll. Russell comes out ahead of the Canadian driver but then can’t defend down into corner three. That battle isn’t over just yet though as Russell stays within a one-second gap. 

Lap 32: Red Bull’s Perez is really opening up the gap to Leclerc in their fight for P2. He needs it as the Ferrari will go onto soft tyres at the end whilst he’ll have to go onto medium or hards. 

Hamilton and Stroll exchange pit stops.

Lap 30: Haas’ Hulkenberg logs the fastest lap of the Bahrain Grand Prix all the way down in P18. 

Lap 28: There’s a very exciting battle between Mercedes and Aston Martin developing here in Bahrain. At present it’s Hamilton in P5, Alonso P6, Russell P7 and Stroll P8 but the two Aston’s are piling the pressure on their targets. 

Elsewhere, it goes from bad to worse for Ocon who incorrectly served his five-second penalty earlier on and now has another worth 10 seconds. Oh, and now its another five seconds on top for speeding in the pit lane. Ouch. 

Lap 26: Perez overtakes Leclerc for P2 of the Bahrain Grand Prix! The Mexican driver had been picking up his pace and he east past the Ferrari man into the first corner.

Verstappen leads overall but 14 seconds.. 

Lap 24: Right at the back of the standings, Norris gets past Ocon after the pair have a great battle through the opening laps of the track. 

Alonso is beginning to pressure Hamilton for P5. 

Lap 21: Perez is beginning to hunt down Leclerc for P2 as the Mexican clocks the fastest lap of the race so far. 

Those two drivers are on very different strategies with Leclerc on the hards and Perez on the softs for now. 

Lap 20: Norris has to pit again to sort out the same problem he already had. Unfortunately, I think that could be an impending DNF for Norris just like his teammate Piastri. 

Lap 18: Bottas was sat in P6 but Alonso picks off the Fin to demote the Alfa Romeo driver down to P7. He’s now also under pressure from Russell. 

Perez finally comes in for his first pit stop of the race and resumes in P3 behind Verstappen and Leclerc. 

Lap 16: Alpine driver Ocon picks up the first penalty of the 2023 F1 season. The Frenchman takes a five-second penalty for not lining up properly on the grid, likely too far forward in his box. 

Lap 14: Leclerc, Sainz and Russell pit. The Ferrari pair have quick stops but it’s a slower one for the British driver. 

It’s a disaster for McLaren as Piastri is forced to retire from this race. Rotten luck for the Australian rookie!

Lap 13: Alonso is beginning to put some sizeable pressure on Russell in the battle for P6. The British driver fights off his rival into the opening corner but Alonso fights back and makes the overtake into corner three.

That was some great battling from the pair!

Lap 12: It sounds like an engine issue for Norris who pits for new tyres and needs his car checking over at the same time. That doesn’t sound good at all for the British driver. 

Lap 11: Gasly makes the first pit stop of this race in an attempt to undercut his rivals on track. That will cue plenty of follow up stops. 

Out in front, Verstappen has built a near seven second gap to Leclerc. 

Lap 9: Perez is just about staying in the one second window to Leclerc in front in the fight for P2, though his engineer has just been on the radio to say not to worry as they believe Ferrari will struggle with tyre management. 

Behind, Russell asks if teammate Hamilton in front is managing his tyres or struggling, the reply comes in the form of ‘struggling, struggling’. 

Lap 5: As Verstappen builds his lead, there’s a bit of a DRS train forming afterwards as Leclerc, Perez, Sainz, Russell and Hamilton fight it out.

It’s a great start towards the back for American rookie Sargeant who is up into P13 and is currently battling it out with Norris. Alfa Romeo’s Bottas also promoted himself up to P9, making three overtakes already. 

Lap 2: The replays show that Stroll went into the corner way too quickly and he tagged the back of Alonso quite heavily. The Spaniard is lucky to avoid any big damage there.

Out infant, Verstappen is already streaking away and has a two second lead on Leclerc in P2. 

LIGHTS OUT: We’re underway here at the Bahrain International Circuit and Verstappen manages to stay out in front but Leclerc jumps Perez into P2!

Elsewhere the two Aston Martin’s come together but both look fine to continue on for now. Alonso has been overtaken by both Russell and Hamilton in the process though which isn’t ideal for the veteran. 

2 mins to lights out: We’re off for the formation lap ahead of the 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix. It’s finally time for Formula One to return! 

15 minutes to lights out: The drivers are starting to head to the front of the grid for the national anthem. Not long left now until we go racing for the first time in 2023 at the Bahrain Grand Prix!

30 minutes to lights out: Two drivers make their full F1 debut in Bahrain today.

Williams’ Logan Sargeant will start from P16 after he missed out on a Q2 run even though he posted exactly the same time as Lando Norris, whilst Oscar Piastri starts just behind in P18 for McLaren. 

45 minutes to lights out: At the other end of the field and it’s new Alpine driver Pierre Gasly that starts from the back of the pack. The Frenchman finished in P16 in Q1 but then had his second lap time deleted after failing to keep within track limits. 

It couldn’t have gone much worse for him then but he could still finish amongst the points today given the fact that Alpine look like they have more pace than some of the other cars starting towards the back of the grid. 

1 hour to lights out: Some news out of the Ferrari garage and it sounds like Leclerc has already had to take a new energy store for this race.

There’s no penalty this time around but each driver is only allowed two of those changes free of charge all season long so that’s a very early blow for the title hopeful. 

1 hour and 30 mins to lights out: Hello and welcome to The Sporting News’ live coverage of the 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix — the opening race of the new F1 season.

Two-time world champion Verstappen starts from pole after hooking up the perfect lap in qualifying yesterday, holding off the pressure from teammate Perez who starts from P2. The Ferrari duo start just behind with title hopeful Leclerc saving an extra set of soft tyres for the race after completing just one flying lap in Q3 on Saturday. 

It was quite the tactical move from the Italian team so we’ll have to see if it was worth it today.. 

Bahrain Grand Prix 2023 starting grid

Position Driver
1 Max Verstappen
2 Sergio Perez
3 Charles Leclerc
4 Carlos Sainz
5 Fernando Alonso
6 George Russell
7 Lewis Hamilton
8 Lance Stroll
9 Esteban Ocon
10 Nico Hulkenberg
11 Lando Norris
12 Valtteri Bottas
13 Zhou Guanyu
14 Yuki Tsunoda
15 Alex Albon
16 Logan Sargeant
17 Kevin Magnussen
18 Oscar Piastri
19 Nyck de Vries
20 Pierre Gasly

MORE: F1 qualifying results: Max Verstappen on pole for 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix to begin title defence in style

What time does the F1 race start?

  • Date: Sunday, Mar 5
  • Start time: 3 p.m. GMT / 10 a.m ET / 2 a.m AEST (Mar 6) / 6 p.m. local time

Sunday’s 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. local time. Lights out will take place just after 3 p.m. BST.

Below is the complete schedule for the weekend’s F1 events at the Bahrain Grand Prix. 

Date Event Time (GMT) Time (ET)  Time (AEST)
Friday, Mar 3 Practice 1 11:30 a.m. 6:30 a.m 10 p.m
Friday, Mar 3 Practice 2 3 p.m. 10 a.m 2 a.m (Mar 4)
Saturday, Mar 4 Practice 3 11:30 a.m. 6:30 a.m 10 p.m
Saturday, Mar 4 Qualifying 3 p.m. 10 a.m 2 a.m (Mar 5)
Sunday, Mar 5 Race 3 p.m. 10 a.m 2 a.m (Mar 6)

What TV channel is the F1 on?

  UK USA Canada Australia
TV Channel Sky Sports F1 ESPN/ABC TSN (English); RDS (French) Fox Sports

Where can I live stream F1?

  UK USA Canada Australia
Live Stream NOW TV / Sky Go app ESPN+ fuboTV, TSN Direct Kayo

How to watch Formula 1 in the US

  • TV channel: ABC; ESPN
  • Live stream: FuboTV / Hulu / Sling TV

F1 fans in the USA can catch all the action in 2023 with all 23 races set to be shown live on ABC, ESPN, and ESPN2. For Spanish-language viewers, they can find live broadcasts on ESPN Deportes, though ESPNews and ESPNU will also show some practice and qualifying sessions live throughout the year.

As well as on the official F1 TV service, the action can be live streamed on Hulu + Live TV with subscriptions. Elsewhere, Sling TV will also show the action, as too will FuboTV in the US.

How to watch Formula 1 in Canada

  • TV channel: TSN (English); RDS (French)
  • Live stream: TSN Direct

For fans in Canada, TSN will carry the English-language telecast of races. For those looking for the French-language broadcast, RDS will have you covered.

Races can be streamed on fuboTV and via TSN’s streaming service, TSN Direct.

How to watch Formula 1 in the United Kingdom

  • TV channel: Sky Sports F1
  • Live stream: NOW TV / Sky Go app

Viewers in the United Kingdom can catch all F1 action on Sky Sports F1, the dedicated F1 channel. For viewers planning to live stream F1 in 2023, you can watch via the Sky Go app if you’re an existing subscriber or you can purchase a Sky Sports Pass on NOW TV.

How to watch Formula 1 in Australia

  • TV channel: Fox Sports; Channel 10
  • Live stream: Kayo

Fox Sports will carry all races in Australia for the 2023 season.