You can think big in this 2023, but don’t let Red Bull find out because a knock could fall on you. The classification of the Bahrain GP was beautiful, it had alternatives and emotion. There was an exchange of fast laps and Ferrari and Mercedes returned to show up on time. But Verstappen and Pérez had always had the last word: The Dutchman starts from pole position this Sunday with 0.138 over his Mexican teammate and a little more than Leclerc and Sainz. The two-time champion is favorite to win the first of the year, is what the cold numbers handled by the paddock engineers say. Fortunately, F1 is much more than that and mathematics does not always explain what happens on the track: the noble area of the grid recovers for the cause a dreamer who this Sunday goes for the podium. Alonso is ahead.
The Spaniard starts fifth, behind the SF-23. Throughout qualifying he was among the best and finished with some cushion over Hamilton and Russell. The AMR23 has escaped the web of the mid zone and fights head to head against the giants. The merit of the factory is enormous: in twelve months, since Q3 in Bahrain 2022, they have cut 2.5 seconds. Besides, With the race pace they have shown, they will fight for the podium this Sunday against Charles and Carlos. Behind the green car, two black cars with their heads down that, even so, after one turn, do not have to give up. The top-10 was completed by a diminished Stroll and the ever-present Ocon. But the Alpine is separated by 0.6 seconds from the hope green Aston Martin. Wise choice.
It is just as true that the weekend in Sakhir triggered euphoria: Alonso had led two free practice sessions and outside the garage much more was asked for. Inside, fifth place on the grid always sounded like a realistic goal and, after all, achievable. At the last minute Ferrari aroused the fury of its new power unit, which slams it back to where things happen (Hulkenberg drove the Haas all the way to Q3). Sainz comes out just ahead and the two Spaniards will fight for positions of honor, not long ago they did it for the crumbs of points.
In another league, from which Carlos and Fernando have fortunately escaped, Norris was 11th, with a McLaren who sees the points train go. Nor did the Alfa Romeo convince with Bottas and Zhou far from the cut in Q2. Before, Q1 consummated the eliminations of the ‘rookies’ Sargeant, Piastri and De Vries, in addition to Magnussen and Gasly. The Frenchman lost his time for exceeding the track limits, so he will also start last with the Alpine, which belonged to Alonso a few months ago. Many people say that you have to wait before drawing conclusions, perhaps until the last race. But here an obvious one can already be drawn: the Aston Martin has returned Fernando to the area of the grid that he deserves. For that alone, Formula 1 wins.