Cyprus Mail
Formula 1Sport

Verstappen takes dominant win in Bahrain season opener

bahrain grand prix
The defending champion won by a massive 22 seconds

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen started his bid for a fourth successive Formula One title with a commanding Bahrain Grand Prix win from pole position, plus fastest lap, ahead of team mate Sergio Perez.

The Dutch driver led every lap and took the chequered flag a massive 22.457 seconds clear of Perez, as Red Bull repeated last year’s one-two and sent a clear message to rivals yearning for change.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz completed the podium under the floodlights at Sakhir with team mate Charles Leclerc finishing fourth.

The win was Red Bull’s 114th since they arrived in Formula One 20 years ago, lifting the team level with former champions Williams at fourth equal in the all-time lists. Verstappen now has 55 career wins.

Verstappen, 26, has led the championship for 40 successive races dating back to May 2022 and is on an eight-race winning streak going back to Japan last September.

He looked even more dominant this year than last, when he beat Perez by 11.987 seconds but did not take the fastest lap.

“That was simply lovely what a great race, great start to the year guys, One-two as well. Fantastic,” Verstappen, who ended up with 19 wins in 22 races last year, said over the team radio.

Mercedes’ George Russell was fifth with McLaren’s Lando Norris sixth.

Seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton started ninth and finished seventh for Mercedes, with McLaren’s Oscar Piastri eighth, Fernando Alonso ninth for Aston Martin and team mate Lance Stroll 10th.

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