F1 Bahrain Grand Prix 2023 live: Highlights and analysis as Verstappen leads and McLaren’s Piastri suffers nightmare start

Current Drivers’ World Champion Max Verstappen will be looking to convert his pole position into a win at the 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix to kick off his title defense in style.

The Dutchman proved too difficult to crash on Saturday as he put his Red Bull to the top of the timesheets, closely followed by teammate Sergio Perez.

Ferrari pair Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz will be looking to move quickly from P3 and P4 respectively, particularly Leclerc who saved an extra set of fresh soft tires for the race after opting not to compete in Q3 Return track to complete a second flying lap.

Also keep an eye out for Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso at the Bahrain International Circuit. The wily veteran will start the race from P5 and, having already been fastest in both FP2 and FP3 this weekend, is aiming for only a second podium finish after the 2014 Chinese Grand Prix.

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F1 Bahrain Grand Prix 2023 Live Updates, Highlights: How It Happens

Round 30: Haas’ Hulkenberg drives the fastest lap of the Bahrain Grand Prix to P18.

Round 28: Here in Bahrain, a very exciting battle is developing between Mercedes and Aston Martin. Currently Hamilton is P5, Alonso P6, Russell P7 and Stroll P8 but the two Astons are increasing the pressure on their targets.

Elsewhere, things are getting worse for Ocon, who previously served his five-second penalty by mistake and now has another 10-second penalty. Oh, and now it’s five seconds more because I was speeding in the pit lane. Ouch.

Round 26: Perez passes Leclerc for P2 at Bahrain Grand Prix! The Mexican driver had picked up his pace and passed the Ferrari man into the first corner.

Verstappen leads overall, but 14 seconds.

Round 24: At the bottom of the standings, Norris gets past Ocon after the two put up a great fight on the early laps of the track.

Alonso starts to pressure Hamilton for P5.

Round 21: Perez starts chasing Leclerc for P2 as the Mexican sets the fastest lap of the race so far.

These two drivers have very different strategies for now with Leclerc on the hard and Perez on the soft.

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Round 20: Norris has to pit again to solve the same problem he already had. Unfortunately, I think this could be an upcoming DNF for Norris, just like his teammate Piastri.

Round 18: Bottas sat in P6 but Alonso takes the fin off to demote the Alfa Romeo driver to P7. He’s also under pressure from Russell now.

Perez eventually makes his first pit stop of the race and continues in P3 behind Verstappen and Leclerc.

Round 16: Alpine driver Ocon collects the first penalty of the 2023 F1 season. The Frenchman receives a five-second penalty for not starting the grid correctly, probably too far forward in his pits.

Round 14: Leclerc, Sainz and Russell Pit. The Ferrari pair has quick stops, but it’s slower for the British driver.

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

Round 13: Alonso is beginning to put considerable pressure on Russell in the battle for P6. The British rider fends off his rival at Turn 1 but Alonso hits back and overtakes at Turn 3.

That was a great fight between the two!

Round 12: It sounds like an engine problem for Norris, who pits for new tires while also having his car checked. That doesn’t sound good for the Brit at all.

Round 11: Gasly makes the first pit stop of this race to undercut his on-track competitors. This will lead to many follow-up stops.

At the top, Verstappen is almost seven seconds behind Leclerc.

Round 9: Perez is in the process of staying ahead in the battle for P2 in the one-second window to Leclerc, although his engineer just said over the radio not to worry as they believe Ferrari are struggling with tire management becomes.

Behind, Russell asks if front teammate Hamilton is managing his tires or is having trouble, the reply comes in the form of ‘fight, fight’.

Round 5: As Verstappen extends his lead, a bit of a DRS train forms afterwards as Leclerc, Perez, Sainz, Russell and Hamilton battle it out.

It’s a great start from the back for American rookie Sargeant, who is in P13 and is currently battling with Norris. Alfa Romeo’s Bottas also moved up to P9 and has already made three overtaking manoeuvres.

Round 2: The replays show that Stroll cornered far too quickly and tagged Alonso in the back quite heavily. The Spaniard is lucky not to take any major damage there.

Our kid, Verstappen, is already tearing away and has a two-second advantage over Leclerc in P2.

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LIGHTS OUT: We’re racing here at the Bahrain International Circuit and Verstappen manages to stay ahead but Leclerc jumps Perez to P2!

Elsewhere, the two Aston Martins are coming together, but both look good to continue for now. Alonso was passed by both Russell and Hamilton in the process, which isn’t ideal for the veteran.

2 minutes to light off: We’re heading to the warm-up lap ahead of the 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix. Formula 1 is finally making a return!

15 minutes until lights out: The drivers begin to move to the front of the grid for the national anthem. Now it’s not long until we race for the first time in 2023 at the Bahrain Grand Prix!

30 minutes until lights out: Two drivers are making their full F1 debuts in Bahrain today.

Williams’ Logan Sargeant will start from P16 after missing a Q2 run despite setting the exact same time as Lando Norris, while McLaren’s Oscar Piastri will start just behind in P18.

45 minutes until lights out: At the other end of the field, new Alpine rider Pierre Gasly will start from the back. The Frenchman finished P16 in Q1 but his second lap time was annulled after breaching the track limits.

Things couldn’t have gone much worse for him back then, but he could still finish in the points today considering Alpine seems to have more pace than some of the other cars starting at the back of the grid.

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

There is no penalty this time, but each driver is only allowed two of those free changes all season, so it’s a very early setback for the title hopes.

1 hour and 30 minutes until 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 will start from pole after setting the perfect lap in yesterday’s qualifying session and holding off the pressure from teammate Perez, who starts from P2. The Ferrari duo starts close behind, while title hopeful Leclerc saves an extra set of soft tires for the race after setting just one flying lap in Q3 on Saturday.

It was quite a tactical move by the Italian team so we’ll have to see if it paid off today.

Starting grid Grand Prix of Bahrain 2023

position driver
1 Max Verstappen
2 Sergio Perez
3 Charles Leclerc
4 Carlo Sainz
5 Fernando Alonso
6 George Russell
7 Lewis Hamilton
8th lance walk
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 Magussen
18 Oskar Piastri
19 Nyck de Vries
20 Pierre Gasli
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MORE: F1 qualifying results: Max Verstappen on pole for 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix to start title defense in style

When does the F1 race start?

  • Date: Sunday, March 5th
  • Start time: 3pm GMT / 10am ET / 2am AEST (March 6) / 6pm local time

The 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday is scheduled to start at 18:00 local time. Lights out takes place just after 3pm BST.

Below is the full schedule of the weekend’s F1 events at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Date case Time (GMT) time (ET) Time (AEST)
Friday, March 3rd practice 1 11:30 a.m 6.30 am 22 O `clock
Friday, March 3rd practice 2 3 pm 10 am 2 a.m. (March 4th)
Saturday, March 4th exercise 3 11:30 a.m 6.30 am 22 O `clock
Saturday, March 4th qualification 3 pm 10 am 2 a.m. (March 5)
Sunday, March 5th race 3 pm 10 am 2 a.m. (March 6)

What TV channel is F1 on?

United Kingdom USA Canada Australia
TV channel SkySports F1 ESPN/ABC TSN (English); RDS (French) Fox sports

Where can I live stream F1?

United Kingdom USA Canada Australia
Live broadcast NOW TV / Sky Go app ESPN+ fuboTV, TSN Direct kayo

How to watch Formula 1 in the USA

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

F1 fans in the US can catch all the action in 2023 when all 23 races will be broadcast live on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2. For Spanish-speaking viewers, there is live coverage on ESPN Deportes, although ESPNews and ESPNU will also show some practice and qualifying sessions live throughout the year.

In addition to the official F1 TV service, the action can be streamed live with subscriptions to Hulu + Live TV. Elsewhere, Sling TV will show the action, as will FuboTV in the US.

How to watch Formula 1 in Canada

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

For fans in Canada, TSN will broadcast the races in English. For those looking for French language broadcasts, RDS is here for you.

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

How to watch Formula 1 in the UK

  • TV channel: SkySports F1
  • Live broadcast: NOW TV / Sky Go app

Viewers in the UK can follow all the F1 action on Sky Sports F1, the dedicated F1 channel. Viewers planning to live stream F1 in 2023 can watch it via the Sky Go app if they’re already a subscriber, or they can buy a Sky Sports Pass on NOW TV.

How to watch Formula 1 in Australia

  • TV channel: Fox Sports; channel 10
  • Live broadcast: kayo

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

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