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Ferrari haunted by ghosts of F1 past as Aston Martin embarrass rivals - What we learned at the Bahrain GP

Ferrari haunted by ghosts of F1 past as Aston Martin embarrass rivals - What we learned at the Bahrain GP

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Ferrari haunted by ghosts of F1 past as Aston Martin embarrass rivals - What we learned at the Bahrain GP

Ferrari haunted by ghosts of F1 past as Aston Martin embarrass rivals - What we learned at the Bahrain GP

The first F1 race weekend of the year is in the books with Red Bull utterly dominant.

Max Verstappen headed home team-mate Sergio Perez by 12 seconds to complete a comfortable one-two ahead of Fernando Alonso, who stunned for Aston Martin.

With Red Bull and Aston Martin gleeful and Ferrari and Mercedes on the back foot, GPFans takes a look at what we learned at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Red Bull supremacy

There were ominous signs ahead of the weekend that Red Bull could run away with the victory, but surely nobody could have predicted they would do so in such a dominant style.

Third-placed Alonso was 38 seconds down by the chequered flag, with Carlos Sainz's Ferrari a further 10 seconds back.

READ MORE: Verstappen delivers masterclass as Alonso stuns and Ferrari crumble

Verstappen's qualifying pace was touchable only by team-mate Perez and the RB19's race pace was sublime.

There is every chance this car could win every race this year given the chasm in performance to its rivals - a daunting prospect for the likes of Ferrari and Mercedes.

Aston Martin embarrass rivals

First on the Scuderia and Silver Arrows' radar will be Aston Martin, who performed a miracle of sorts to secure a podium.

Alonso was at his very best in picking off Lewis Hamilton and Sainz in the race - his move on the Mercedes particularly sensational.

The performance of the still-recovering Lance Stroll to finish sixth and ahead of George Russell underlines the strength of the AMR23, which given the Silverstone factory upgrades are yet to be completed is an outstanding achievement.

READ MORE: Hamilton in Mercedes demand in wake of HUGE deficit

There may not be a championship challenge this season, but with a wealth of aerodynamic testing time, this could be a set-up year for Aston Martin before a tilt in 2024.

Ferrari ghosts retrun

Another year, yet more pain for Ferrari as Charles Leclerc retired in the final third of the race.

The Monégasque looked to have settled for third with a comfortable gap back to team-mate Sainz, who was ahead of Alonso at the time, when a power unit failure left him stranded on the side of the road.

After the issues experienced with the engines last season, Ferrari fans could be forgiven for feeling empty after the opening race. Leclerc was already on his second energy store for the year after a swap before lights out.

This almost guarantees at least one grid penalty letter in the season. Ferrari's outlook is bleak.

McLaren misery

If something could go wrong for McLaren, it likely did.

Oscar Piastri's eagerly-awaited F1 debut was cut short with an electrical issue just 13 laps into the race.

For Lando Norris, fortunes were no better with his MCL60 forced into six pit stops in order to top up on pneumatic pressure.

READ MORE: F1 2023 race day team-mate head-to-head rankings

That left Norris at the back of the field and although his pace behind Hamilton and Alonso when a lap down was cause for optimism, the fundamental issues for the Woking-based team leave it a long way behind its rivals.

Williams surprise

Points for Williams in the season opener seemed highly unlikely, despite the team's promising pre-season test.

Logan Sargeant was impressive on debut, missing out on Q2 despite setting an identical time to Norris who went through by virtue of setting his time first.

By the end of the first lap, the American was up three places and eventually finished less than 10 seconds behind Alex Albon in 12th.

But the Thai-British driver was able to fend off the late advances of AlphaTauri's Yuki Tsunoda to take a point in 10th, underlining the steps forward taken at Grove.

With former Mercedes strategy guru James Vowles now at the helm, Williams' fortunes could well be on the up.

READ MORE: F1 Schedule 2023: Dates, times and TV details for all races

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