From Bahrain to Abu Dhabi, Formula 1 drivers are proving their positions each week for the 2023 F1 Season. It is no surprise to Formula 1 fans who currently leads the scoreboards, although some may not be too happy with it.
The 2023 F1 season took off back at the beginning of March with the Bahrain Grand Prix. Red Bull had the dream start for their team this season with Max Verstappen taking the number one spot for the race,, followed by Sergio “Checo” Perez for a one-two finish. Verstappen held P1 from the beginning to finish off the race which granted him maximum points and crossed the line more than 10 seconds clear of Perez. Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc halted during the closing stages, costing him a probable podium finish and a hatful of championship points. Leclerc’s halt gave the opportunity for Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso to snatch his spot on the podium from the other Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz and Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton. The start of the race was not short of some F1 drama when Lance Stroll ran into the back of teammate Alonso and Nico Hulkenberg clipped Esteban Ocon. Meanwhile, McLaren driver Oscar Piastri was an early retiree on his F1 debut amid technical trouble. The final results of the Bahrain Grand Prix brought Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso to the podium.
The Saudi Arabia Grand Prix which was held from March 17 to 19, showed off the strength of the Red Bull team once again with Perez taking the lead followed by Verstappen backed behind Alonso making the podium almost identical to the first race of the season. Perez, starting on the pole, lost his lead to Alonso on the rundown to Turn 1 but later made his way back past. Verstappen gained his finishing spot of second after starting from 15th on the grid - due to suffering a driveshaft issue in qualifying. Mercedes’ George Russell was the fourth car to cross the line, who briefly inherited the P3 spot due to Alonso being given a 10-second penalty after the race, only for the decision to be overturned later. Russell finished fourth, one ahead of his teammate Hamilton. Lance Stroll has not had a promising start to his season after bringing out the safety car when his Aston Martin had to be stopped amid mechanical troubles. Stroll wasn’t the only one retired in the race, Williams’ Alex Albon also retired from the race with a brake problem.
The Australian Grand Prix wrapped up on April 2 with a new look at the leaderboard. Max Verstappen once again took P1 winning the Australian GP followed by Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso. The race was not short of drama from safety cars, red flags and more. Verstappen, the pole-sitter, lost his lead on the opening lap to Mercedes’ George Russell. Shortly after, Charles Leclerc made contact with Lance Stroll and spun out of the race, bringing out a safety car and taking him out of the race. Following the trend, Williams’ Alex Albon crashed out at high speed and brought out a safety car - during which leader Russell pitted - and then a red flag, allowing Mercedes’ rivals to take a free stop for tires. Verstappen then took the lead and Russell’s race soon ended with his engine in flames, while teammate Hamilton was seemingly set for second place. Haas driver Kevin Magnussen hit the wall late in the race, bringing out another red flag that would see the 2023 Australian Grand Prix decided in a last-gasp shootout. Off the track, an F1 fan was left with a bleeding arm due to Magnussen’s crash on the exit of turn two. The CEO of the Australian GP, Andrew Westacott, described the incident as a “freak one-off” as the debris shot 20 meters in the air and lacerated the man’s arm on the way down, which is odd as the debris fences are consistent in height around the world.
The hunt for the championship will continue on April 30 at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix where Red Bull will be fighting to keep their lead on the scoreboard. Verstappen will be looking to take the number one spot again, as he did last year at Azerbaijan. Perez finished second last year and if done again, the Red Bull team will be three times one-two positions for the season so far.
Currently for the season points, Red Bull is leading with 123 points from Verstappen and Perez, with a 58 point lead over Aston Martin’s team who holds 65 points currently. Mercedes’ sits in third with 56 points while Ferrari holds 26 in fourth position and McLaren rounds out the fifth position with 12 points. The bottom five positions hold Alpine in sixth with 8, Haas with 7, Alfa Romeo with 6, and AlphaTauri and Williams’ in the bottom with one point each. Each team will be looking to gain more points in three weeks on the Baku City Circuit.