The 2023 Formula 1 season kicks off in Bahrain on Sunday at the Bahrain International Circuit just outside Sakhir.
Friday practice and qualifying are done and dusted, and defending champion Max Verstappen will start the first race of the season on pole position, ahead of teammate Sergio Perez.
Charles Leclerc was third for Ferrari and Fernando Alonso a promising fifth for Aston Martin, ahead of the two Mercedes cars.
The 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix will take place on Sunday 5 March.
What time do the sessions start?
Friday March 3rd
First practice – 11:30 GMT
Second practice – 3 pm
Saturday, March 4
Third practice – 11.30 am
Qualifiers – 3 pm
Sunday, March 5
Bahrain Grand Prix – 3 pm
What TV channel is it on?
Sky Sports F1 has almost exclusive rights to live coverage in the UK this year and beyond with their usual excellent team.
Sky’s qualifying program starts at 14:00 GMT on Saturday, with match coverage at 1:30pm. of Sunday.
Channel 4 also has extensive highlights coverage this year. Their qualifying coverage starts at 7.30pm. on Saturday with coverage of their game at 9 p.m. of Sunday.
What were the times after qualifying?
- Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull 1 minute 29.708 seconds
- Sergio Perez (Mex) Red Bull 1:29.846
- Charles Leclerc (Mon.) Ferrari 1:30,000
- Carlos Sainz Jr. (Spa) Ferrari 1:30.154
- Fernando Alonso (Spa) Aston Martin 1:30.336
- George Russell (Gbr) Mercedes GP 1:30.340
- Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes GP 1:30.384
- Lance Stroll (Can) Aston Martin 1:30.836
- Esteban Ocon (Fra) Alpine 1:30.984
- Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) MoneyGram Haas F1 1:30.809
- Lando Norris (Gbr) McLaren 1:31.381
- Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake 1:31.443
- Guanyu Zhou (Chn) Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake 1:31.473
- Yuki Tsunoda (Jpn) Scuderia AlphaTauri 1:32.510
- Alexander Albon (Tha) Williams 1:31.461
- Logan Sargeant (USA) Williams 1:31.652
- Kevin Magnussen (Den) MoneyGram Haas F1 1:31.892
- Oscar Piastri (Aus) McLaren 1:32.101
- Nyck de Vries (Ned) Scuderia AlphaTauri 1:32.121
- Pierre Gasly (Fra) Alpine 1:32.181
What do we know about Bahrain International Circuit?
- Circuit Length: 5,412 km
- First Grand Prix: 2004
- Rounds: 57
- Race Distance: 308,238 km
- Race lap record: 1:31.447 (Pedro de la Rosa, 2005, McLaren)
- 2022 winner: Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
- Number of corners: 15
- Overtaking opportunities: Fairly decent overall, although again, you’re more likely to see it along the long pit straight, with the help of DRS on the hard braking hairpin at turn one. A few other opportunities throughout the round, though they require a bit more bravery.
What is the driver lineup for this year?
Red Bull: Max Verstappen (1) and Sergio Pérez (11)
Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton (44) and George Russell (63)
Ferrari: Carlos Sainz (55) and Charles Leclerc (55)
Alpine: Esteban Ocon (31) and Pierre Gasly (10)
McLaren: Lando Norris (4) and Oscar Piastri (81)
Alfa Romeo: Valtteri Bottas (77) and Guanyu Zhou (24)
Aston Martin: Lance Stroll (18) and Fernando Alonso (14)
Haas: Kevin Magnussen (20) and Nico Hulkenberg (27)
AlphaTauri: Yuki Tsunoda (22) and Nyck de Vries (21)
Williams: Alexander Albon (23) and Logan Sargeant (2)
What are the last odds?
- Max Verstappen 4/9
- Charles Leclerc 6/1
- Fernando Alonso 10/1
- Lewis Hamilton 12/1
- George Russell 14/1
- Sergio Perez 20/1
- Carlos Sainz 33/1
Here’s what you need to know… the lines to watch ahead of the 2023 F1 season
By Tom Carrey
A mammoth 23-race season, the longest in Formula 1 history, gets underway in Bahrain this weekend, where Max Verstappen will be hoping to bring the defense of his crown to a flying start as he chases a hat-trick of titles.
Can anyone stop him? This will certainly be the main focus of attention on the opening weekend, with all eyes on Ferrari and Mercedes to see where they stand against Red Bull.
But the battle for the drivers’ championship, while undoubtedly the main story in town, is by no means the only one. Telegraph Sport looks at the various lines that will entertain F1 fans this year…
Can anyone stop Red Bull?
Clearly the biggest question of all. We should have a much better idea by the end of this weekend. The consensus from last week’s test – the only test of the pre-season – is that they will be incredibly difficult to stop. Red Bull have been ridiculously dominant in 2022, winning 17 of 22 races last year (Verstappen a record 15 of them). And the truth is that this year’s cars are a continuation of last year’s rather than a radical redesign of the rules. Yes, Red Bull has an aircraft testing penalty, for breaching the 2021 budget cap, to contend with. This could pick up the field a bit when it starts biting later in the year. But we may be clutching at straws. Red Bull looked ominously good in testing. They start as a hot favorite.
Will Mercedes return to winning ways? And if they can, who wins Hamilton or Russell?
After an uneventful season, literally, Mercedes have largely stuck to their guns in terms of their car design, refusing to abandon their ‘narrow side’ philosophy. Toto Wolff remains adamant the car has plenty of potential, but some have wondered if they are just being proud. Testing was mixed, with Mercedes experiencing three very different days (although it appears to have largely overcome its seal woes).
Regardless of whether they are fighting for wins, fans will enjoy the battle between Hamilton and Russell. The youngster came out on top last year, but there were signs in the second half of the season that Hamilton had got his mojo back. With speculation frenzied about the seven-time champion’s contract – whether he will sign/not sign and if he does, for how long – there will be a lot of interest in his and Mercedes’ form in the opening races.