The long-awaited F1 season will kick off in Bahrain on the first weekend of March from the 3rd to the 5th of March and the teams will be looking to make a positive start to the 2023 season. On the Sakhir Circuit’s 3.36 miles, 57 laps comprise the 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix.
Final Practice took place on the 3rd of March and seemed to bring the drivers up to the pace and get used to the all-new cars. Fernando Alonso was the fastest overall with the best time of 1:30.907, closely followed by Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez from Red Bull.
Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz at Ferrari take 4th and 14th place respectively. One surprise would be Nico Hulkenberg finishing 5th whereas his teammate at Haas, Kevin Magnussen finished 16th overall.
Alonso spoke about FP2 “It felt good to drive the car today and it is nice to see both cars high up on the timing sheets, especially after only three days of Testing.”
On the other hand, reigning champion Max Verstappen spoke about the testing “In FP1 we couldn’t get the balance right, which was a bit odd as we didn’t experience this in testing. In FP2, the short run laps weren’t too bad and the car felt a bit more connected and with the long runs, the pace was good. “
Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell finished the FP2 in 8th and 13th place consequently. Another surprise was AlphaTauri performing a little worse than what fans expected, claiming 18th and 19th place.
Bahrain GP starting grid
The qualifying for this Sunday’s Grand Prix showed some promising results. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen took the pole position with his undeniable performance with his teammate, Sergio Perez coming in a close second. Ferrari’s Leclerc and Sainz got 3rd and 4th positions respectively, with a surprising performance from Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso, who came in 5th.
Aston Martin’s performance seems to be the talk of the town as both the drivers were consistently in the top 10 during the Free Practice, with Alonso even topping FP2. Mercedes seems to have gotten over the issues with W13 and have not faced anything of the sort with the W14, however, there seems to be no improvement in the performance from the 2022 season.
The starting grid for the Bahrain Grand Prix 2023 is:
- Max Verstappen – Red Bull
- Sergio Perez – Red Bull
- Charles Leclerc – Ferrari
- Carlos Sainz – Ferrai
- Fernando Alonso – Aston Martin
- George Russell – Mercedes
- Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes
- Lance Stroll – Aston Martin
- Esteban Ocon – Alpine
- Nico Hulkenberg – Haas
- Lando Norris – McLaren
- Valtteri Bottas – Alfa Romeo
- Zhou Guanyu – Alfa Romeo
- Yuki Tsunoda – AlphaTauri
- Alex Albon – Williams
- Logan Sargeant – Williams
- Kevin Magnussen – Haas
- Oscar Piastri – McLaren
- Nyck De Vries – AlphaTauri
- Pierre Gasly – Alpine
Red Bull seems to have carried over their performance from the 2022 season. However, if Max Verstappen is to win the Bahrain Grand Prix, he might become a victim of the infamous ‘Sakhir Curse’.
How to watch Bahrain GP
Fans can watch the Bahrain GP can watch FP1, FP2, FP3, Qualifying, and the final race on F1’s official digital platform (f1tv.formula1.com) or on ESPN.
The race will begin at 10:00 AM ET/7:00 AM PT on March 5.
The Sakhir GP Curse
Since 2017, there has been a gloomy pattern regarding the results of the Sakhir GP Final Race. Every Bahrain GP winner since the 2017 season has come second in the overall WDC standings. From Sebastian Vettel in 2017 and 2018, to Valtteri Botas in 2018 and 2019 to Lewis Hamilton in 2020, and Leclerc in 2021.
Charles Leclerc won the 2022 Bahrain GP at Sakhir, which was the first Ferrari one-two for Ferrari since Sebastian Vettel and Leclerc in 2019.
The curse of the first race win 👻— Autosport (@autosport) March 2, 2023
Will the winner of the 2023 Bahrain GP finally break F1’s wicked spell? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/Ei3fFZp2vO
It was dubbed the beginning of the revival of Ferrari as the Ferrari F1-75 was the first car in a while that was able to compete at the top level. Red Bull Honda’s cars suffered from powertrain reliability issues, and both resulted in DNFs in the last leg of the race. Mercedes came in at 3rd and 4th trailing Ferrari but suffering with porpoising.
Haas’ replacement for Nikita Mazepin, Kevin Magnussen, came 5th as a shocker to show the performance and reliability of the Ferrari powertrain.
However, the teams will be looking forward to breaking the curse this season as the March of the 2023 season.