Every Formula 1 team should like its chances before the first race of the season. The cars don’t have a scratch. The strategy feels right. Nothing has gone terribly wrong — yet. There is, for this one brief moment in time, only upside and hope.
Most of the things that can send a season off the rails — bad decisions, bad crashes and bad weather — are still safely out over the horizon. Only one thing, in fact, is certain as Formula 1 opens its new season on Sunday with the Bahrain Grand Prix: Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, the two-time defending world champion, remains the driver everyone needs to catch.
Verstappen will start on the pole Sunday after holding off his teammate Sergio Perez and the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz in qualifying on Saturday. That is only how they will start, though; the rest of the story line — 22 races, countless challenges and all those miles — will roll out from there.
“Hopefully,” Verstappen said, “no crazy things will happen.”
How to Watch?
Time: Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix starts at 10 a.m. Eastern, 6 p.m. local time in Bahrain.
TV: ESPN in the United States. For a full list of Formula 1 broadcast rights holders wherever you are, click here.
Sunday’s Starting Grid
Red Bull — in a surprise to almost no one — qualified first and second, with the two Ferraris right behind.
Behinds the Scenes in Bahrain
Catch Me Up Before the Start
If you’re feeling as if a lot has happened since the end of last season, you’re right. Here’s a refresher on how things ended up in 2022: