Formula 1 season kicks off with Red Bull’s dominant start

Verstappen is poised to win third consecutive Driver’s Championship. (Courtesy / FLICKR)

Verstappen is poised to win third consecutive Driver’s Championship. (Courtesy / FLICKR)

Jordan Tavares, Crier Staff

Formula 1 is one of the most high octane sports in the world. It harbors some of the biggest champions in the world such as Michael Schumacher and Sir Lewis Hamilton. 

The first three races of the 2023 Formula 1 have just wrapped up and there are many things to take away as we enter a brief break before the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on April 30. 

The landscape of F1 is always changing, however, there are always a few constants along the way. Red Bull driver and defending F1 World Champion Max Verstappen is off a dominant start as he looks to go for the three-peat as the king of the F1 mountain. 

His teammate Sergio “Checo” Perez has also been off to a scorching hot start. The two drivers are the top 2 drivers in the driver standings, which also have combined for 123 points and putting Red Bull firmly in first in the Constructors Championship. 

In these first three races, Verstappen has won the opening race in Bahrain, won the recent Australian Grand Prix on April 2, and logged a podium finish in Saudi Arabia, while Checo claimed the victory. 

Aside from Red Bull there have been some significant power shifts within F1. Two time champion Fernando Alonso has joined the Aston Martin team for this season alongside Lance Stroll. 

In the first three races, Alonso has been a pleasant surprise to start the season, with podiums in all three races and is currently 3rd in the drivers standings. 

Meanwhile, Ferrari had high expectations to begin the season. Many genuinely believed they would be able to dethrone Red Bull as top dog in Formula 1. However, the men in red have had a rather not ideal start to the season. 

While Carlos Sainz has had a decent start to the season, sitting at 5th in the drivers standings, his teammate Charles Leclerc, who was 2nd in the drivers standings last season, has struggled to get going for Ferrari. He is currently 10th and has had several technical problems with the car. 

However, expect Leclerc and Ferrari to solve their technical issues and pose a threat to the top of the F1 hierarchy as the season progresses. While on the topic of technical issues, Mclaren’s F1 team needs to be addressed. 

Expectations were riding high for Mclaren, as they have up and coming and fan favorite driver Lando Norris leading the way alongside the exciting rookie from Australia Oscar Piastri.

 Unfortunately, Mclaren have been flat to start the season. While they sit 5th in the Constructors Championship, and Norris and Piastri both have logged points, their only points have come from the Australian Grand Prix that was full of accidents and better teams being knocked out of the race. Other than that, Mclaren can be found in the basement of the race results. 

Which brings us to Mercedes. A team that had seen what many saw as endless success hit a bump in the road last season. While they finished 3rd in the constructors championship last season, the team seemed to be noticeably off their mark. 

Seven time World Champion Sir Lewis Hamilton seems to be poised to get Mercedes back to their winning ways alongside young gun and fellow Englishman George Russell, who had a breakout season last year. 

As we look ahead to the next three races, F1 will come back to Azerbaijan on April 30, then it will be onto the US for the Grand Prix in Miami. Then the paddock will move to Italy to Imola. All very different tracks with multiple teams being able to gain momentum to compete with Red Bull. 

While you can easily see Aston Martin and Ferrari up at the top of the grid with Red Bull, watch out for the French team Alpine in these next three races. The French duo of Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon should be seen as a sneaky pair to come out with several strong finishes as well as a couple possible podiums. 

Along with Alpine, be on the lookout for Alfa Romeo driver Valterri Bottas, who tends to find magic at the beginning of every season. 

While it may seem as if Red Bull is going to run away with both the drivers and constructors championships, the reality is that this F1 could be more wide open than it has been in a long time.