Max Verstappen began his defense of the Formula One World Drivers’ Championship with a first-place finish at the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday.
Verstappen started the race on pole and never looked back, continuing his dominance on the F1 circuit and never missing a beat after winning the title the last two seasons. Returning to last year’s Japanese Grand Prix, where he won the 2022 title, Verstappen has won five of the last six races and 10 of his last 12.
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The Belgian-Dutch rider held off Sergio Pérez and Fernando Alonso, who finished second and third, respectively. Alonso passed Carlos Sainz late in the race, but was unable to catch Pérez.
Sainz finished fourth and Lewis Hamilton fifth.
Charles Leclerc was vying for a top five spot until he appeared to have an electrical problem that ruined his day. He pulled over to the side of the road as engineers worked to get his vehicle off the road.
FORMULA 1 LEWIS HAMILTON CLEARED TO RACE IN BAHRAIN AFTER CLAUD WITH FIA OVER NOSE PLUG
The McLaren team had struggled throughout the race. Oscar Piastri also had electrical problems and was forced to retire from the race. He finished in 20th place. Lando Norris was in and out of the pits while dealing with an engine problem. He did manage to finish the race, but was way behind in 17th.
Red Bull Racing would finish on top of the Bahrain Grand Prix with Verstappen finishing first and Perez in second. They also ranked 1-2. Verstappen has 36 career wins from him since he made his F1 debut at the 2015 Australian Grand Prix and 78 podium finishes. He now he has one in Bahrain.
Logan Sargeant represented the first American on the grid since 2015. He finished in 12th place after starting the race in 16th place.
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The next F1 race is scheduled for March 19: the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.