Max Verstappen kicks off F1 title defence with crushing Bahrain GP win

Max Verstappen cruises to dominant win at F1 season-opener in Bahrain, leading a Red Bull 1-2.

Max Verstappen (NLD), Red Bull Racing Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix, Sakhir, Bahrain, Race Day.-
Max Verstappen (NLD), Red Bull Racing Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 1,…

F1 world champion Max Verstappen got his title defence off to the perfect start as he cruised to a dominant victory at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix. 

Verstappen led every lap and finished over 20 seconds ahead of Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez, with Carlos Sainz completing the podium for Ferrari.

There were shades of 2023 as the three-time world champion dominated throughout on his way to a clean sweep. At times Verstappen lapped over a second faster than the rest of the field as he scored his eighth consecutive win.

Having held off Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc to maintain his lead at the start, the win was never in doubt for Verstappen, who moves onto 55 career grand prix victories.

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen

Leclerc struggled with lock-ups and oversteer in his Ferrari as he slipped to fourth, ahead of the lead Mercedes of George Russell, who took fifth.

Lando Norris was sixth, while Lewis Hamilton complained about engine issues and a broken seat on his way to splitting the McLarens in seventh, with Oscar Piastri taking eighth.

Aston Martin pair Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll - who was left facing the wrong way at Turn 1 after being pitched into a spin by Nico Hulkenbergh - completed the points-scoring positions in ninth and 10th. 

There were zero retirements in what was a fairly uneventful season-opener in the Middle East. 

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