After winning his second consecutive world championship in October 2022 with four races to spare and setting a record for the most race wins in a season, Verstappen began this weekend as the outright favorite.
And the Dutchman justified that tag in emphatic style, leading from start to finish as he won the Bahrain Grand Prix for the first time in his career.
It turned into a perfect evening for Red Bull as Sergio Perez finished in second place behind his teammate, while 41-year-old Fernando Alonso rolled back the years to finish third for Aston Martin and secure the 99th podium of his career.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc had been sitting in third with 16 laps remaining but a mechanical issue forced him out the race and a virtual safety car onto the track for a short time.
Mercedes’ struggles show no signs of easing as Lewis Hamilton finished well off the podium places in fifth place, with teammate George Russell down in seventh.
More to follow…