WATCH: Huge drama as Verstappen and Leclerc crash out of the Sakhir GP on Lap 1
All eyes were on George Russell as the lights went out to start the Sakhir Grand Prix as the young Brit – subbing in for Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes this weekend – got a great launch off the line from second to leapfrog his team mate Valtteri Bottas and take the lead of the race.
It was a great start for Russell, but there was carnage behind him as Bottas, Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez were all battling wheel to wheel in the opening corners.
As they funnelled into Turn 4, Perez turned in to take the corner and was struck by Leclerc's Ferrari, who'd been attacking Verstappen. The Dutchman swerved left to take avoiding action, but then ended up on the gravel and was powerless to prevent his Red Bull from sliding into the tyre barrier, as Leclerc hit the wall beside him. Both of them were instantly out of the race, as Perez dived back into the pits for a new set of tyres.
The Safety Car was immediately called out, as Russell led from Bottas. Back in the gravel trap, Verstappen – who would have fancied his chances of taking victory with Hamilton not in the race – could be seen kicking the barrier in frustration.
See how the whole thing played out in the video above, and tap here to follow all the latest on the race in our live blog.