F1 POWER RANKINGS: Who starts the year on top after the season opening Bahrain Grand Prix?
With the first race of the brand new 2023 Formula 1 season now in the books, it’s time to tally up our judges’ scores from a thrilling Bahrain Grand Prix and see which drivers sit at the top the Power Rankings leaderboard before we head to Jeddah.
How it works
Our five-judge panel assess each driver after every Grand Prix and score them out of 10 according to their performance across the weekend – taking machinery out of the equation
Our experts’ scores are then averaged out to produce a race score – with those scores then tallied up across the season on our overall Power Rankings Leaderboard (at the bottom of the page)
Fernando Alonso’s tremendous third place finish in Bahrain earns him a spot at the top of the leaderboard. Lining up fifth, Alonso lost a couple of places at the start, but recovered with some brilliant overtakes on the Mercedes pair of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, and the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz, to claim the 99th podium of his career.
MUST-SEE: How Alonso muscled his way onto the podium in Bahrain – plus his ecstatic reaction
Max Verstappen picked up where he left off last season by claiming pole position on Saturday, and victory on Sunday, in dominant fashion. The two-time world champion rarely looked troubled after pulling away from his rivals in the first stint, and did not put a foot wrong either, on the way to claiming the 36th victory of his career.
READ MORE: Verstappen says winning start to 2023 for himself and Red Bull is ‘exactly what we were dreaming of’
Alex Albon’s drive to get the final points-paying position after starting 15th went under the radar, especially after many predicted Williams to be at the back of the field in Bahrain. The Thai driver held off the challenge from the drivers behind him in a battling performance that is fast becoming his trademark in Williams blue.
READ MORE: ‘We’ve made unbelievable progress’ – Albon thrilled with ‘shock’ points finish for Williams in season opener
After starting at the back of the grid in his debut race for Alpine, few people would have been more pleased at the chequered flag in Bahrain than Pierre Gasly. The French driver took a methodical approach as he made his way through the field to ninth place, with his final stint on the soft tyre almost seeing him pip Valtteri Bottas to P8.
READ MORE: Gasly explains turnaround from miserable qualifying after racing from last place to points on Alpine debut
Charles Leclerc qualified in third place after he and Ferrari opted to only do one lap in Q3 and save a set of new soft tyres for the race start. And the Monegasque racer exploited the plan flawlessly, jumping ahead of Sergio Perez, in the Red Bull, on the run down to Turn 1.
READ MORE: Leclerc calls on Ferrari to ‘understand what went wrong’ after painful Bahrain GP retirement
While, he could not keep the Mexican behind for the whole race, Leclerc was putting in a strong performance that looked set to reward him with a podium, until an unfortunate mechanical issue forced him to retire.
Lance Stroll mentioned post-race on Sunday that after undergoing surgery to fix his broken wrists – sustained in a bicycle accident – he was told by his doctors that he would most likely be back in an F1 car in Australia. So, it is a massive credit to him that he managed to make it back into the cockpit just 12 days on from the operation.
READ MORE: Stroll recounts ‘insane journey’ from hospital bed to P6 in Bahrain with a broken wrist
Alonso may have stolen the headlines on Sunday, but Stroll’s performance definitely caught the eye, as he finished in a comfortable P6, with the Canadian, like his new two-time world champion team mate, pulling off a fine overtake on Russell in the process.
It was a good start to the year for Sergio Perez, but if not for a slow getaway that not only lost him a place, but also cost him time behind Leclerc, could it have been better? This does not hide the fact that Perez was strong all weekend, qualifying second, and he did get back past Leclerc to reclaim P2, giving Red Bull a one-two finish to kick off their season.
READ MORE: Perez says losing P2 at the start meant ‘game over’ for his victory hopes in Bahrain
It was an accomplished yet understated drive from the Finn, who quietly made his way into the top 10 at the start and also undercut Alonso, Russell and Stroll after the first round of pit stops. Bottas ran a lonely and comfortable race in P8 for much of the evening, although he might have been nervous late on as Gasly closed in on him.
READ MORE: Quick start and Alfa Romeo’s ‘aggressive’ strategy key to points finish in Bahrain, says Bottas
He was unable to repeat the heroics of Jacques Villeneuve and Nico Rosberg – both scoring points on their rookie debuts for Williams – but it was still a particularly impressive first showing from Logan Sargeant.
READ MORE: 6 Winners and 5 Losers from Bahrain – Who started their season in style in Sakhir?
The American narrowly missed out on making it to Q2 on Saturday, but put in an assured drive on Sunday to finish in 12th. It was the type of performance that would have definitely turned some doubters into believers.
Lewis Hamilton’s brilliant start saw him jump ahead of both Alonso and Russell to fifth. However, he struggled to match the pace of the Ferraris and the Red Bulls ahead, and ultimately was overtaken by Alonso. But, it was still a solid individual drive from Hamilton, which nearly ended with him taking P4 from Sainz.
READ MORE: ‘We’re the fourth fastest team now’ – Hamilton offers honest Mercedes assessment as he admits the team are ‘going backwards’
Sainz narrowly misses out on a place in the top 10 after the Ferrari driver ran a lonely race to fourth on Sunday. At one stage it seemed like a podium was on the cards for the Spaniard after team mate Leclerc retired… until Alonso came past.
After the race, Sainz admitted that it was a bit of a reality check to be so far behind his rivals, but he was still able to bring home some solid points for the Scuderia.