Ferrari stated that they were confident they had fixed their reliability problems going into 2023, allowing Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz to form a stronger championship challenge.
Charles Leclerc’s 2023 campaign has gotten off to a disastrous start as the Monaco driver left the Bahrain Grand Prix with no points. While quick last season, Ferrari was hampered by a number of reliability issues and poor tactical decisions, which put the team behind eventual champions Red Bull by the time Formula One reached Abu Dhabi. Ferrari stated that they were confident they had fixed their reliability problems going into 2023, allowing Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz to form a stronger championship challenge.
This has already been disproven, though, as Charles Leclerc was forced to DNF from the opening race of the season after stopping on the 41st lap of the Bahrain Grand Prix. The failure of Leclerc’s energy store was the cause of his retirement, and this specific component cannot be repaired, according to Formula1News. Even worse, Leclerc’s team changed his energy reserve before the Bahrain Grand Prix, ironically because they had reservations about its dependability. If the Monegasque is now required to switch to a third energy store, he will be subject to a grid penalty that will drop him five positions for each component changed.
In the 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix, Max Verstappen defeated teammate Sergio Perez to win for Red Bull. Fernando Alonso finished third as Charles Leclerc withdrew from the competition. Verstappen had a strong start, but teammate Perez fell back and lost second place to Leclerc – while Carlos Sainz couldn’t quite take P3 away from the Red Bull. All but Kevin Magnussen (P15) started the race on soft tyres. The current champion extended his lead and ultimately prevailed by more than ten seconds. With both Red Bull drivers using similar soft-soft-hard driving styles, Perez completed the one-two.
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Sainz fought off a brief attack from Hamilton, who finished fifth overall, and settled for fourth as a result. Stroll was perhaps more relieved to see Alonso finish on the podium than he was to not receive a penalty for hitting his teammate on lap one. Although George Russell was passed by the Aston Martin in the second pit stops and finished seventh, the Canadian made an admirable recovery from his wrist injury to finish sixth between the Mercedes.
Alonso on podium
When Lance Stroll lunged at teammate Alonso into Turn 4 and hit the rear-right of his car, allowing both Mercedes ahead, Aston Martin’s hopes of disrupting the podium battle appeared to have been dashed on Lap 1. However, Leclerc’s engine problem forced him to retire on lap 41, shattering Ferrari’s chances of the podium. Alonso had just pulled off an absolutely brilliant manoeuvre to pass Lewis Hamilton for fifth place down the inside of Turn 10. After a stunning battle through Sector 2, Alonso passed Sainz on Lap 45 to secure his first podium finish since Qatar 2021. Alonso then went on the offensive.
2023 Monaco GP: Preview, Where to watch, Dates, Schedule, Live Streaming details