The results of the 2023 F1 Bahrain Grand Prix are in, and the Red Bull Racing team has taken the win with a dominant performance. Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez finished first and second respectively, with Fernando Alonso coming in third, securing his first podium for the Aston Martin team in his 99th F1 career podium. Chinese driver Zhou Guanyu finished in 16th place and while he did set the fastest lap of the race in the final moments, he was unable to score any points.
The top ten drivers were Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, Sergio Perez, Carlos Sainz, Lewis Hamilton, George Russell, Fernando Alonso, Valtteri Bottas, Lance Stroll, and Lando Norris.
This season, in addition to the usual powerhouses like Red Bull, Mercedes, and Ferrari, the Aston Martin team has emerged as a surprise contender. Alonso and Stroll, both driving for Aston Martin, qualified in fifth and eighth positions respectively. By the end of the race this morning, 41-year-old Alonso had put in another amazing performance to secure third place, his 99th career podium, and the driver of the day award. "It's great to be on the podium in the first race of the year," said Alonso, joking that the team may have had the second-best car on the track, something many did not anticipate before the race.
Zhou Guanyu, the Chinese driver who finished 16th, had a difficult race and struggled throughout. Before the practice and qualifying sessions, Zhou had said that his car's long-run pace was comparable to the top ten cars, and his personal goal was to score points in the race, but this was not reflected in his performance. In the end, he finished 16th, with his teammate Bottas in 8th place, scoring 4 points.
Zhou said he encountered some slipperiness during the start and lost a few positions. The virtual safety car didn't come at a good time during the race, and they couldn't do much to change that. "Despite that, our whole team still had some positive takeaways, and we'll go to Saudi Arabia with confidence and try to score some points in every race."
Although the results were not ideal, Zhou Guanyu set the fastest lap of the race in the 56th lap by changing his tires, clocking in at 1:33.996, his second career fastest lap. However, Zhou was unable to win the fastest lap award as he didn't finish in the top ten. "I'm happy to contribute to the team by running the fastest lap in the final stages," said Zhou. He added that the car felt better than it did in qualifying, and they should continue to improve in the next races.