WATCH: Relive the race start in Bahrain as Verstappen charges into the sunset and the Aston Martins clash
After plenty of talking and predictions, the new F1 season finally got under way on Sunday night as the lights went out for the first time in 2023 at the Bahrain International Circuit.
When the field of 20 drivers charged off the line, it was pole-sitter Max Verstappen who made the best start to pull clear and hold his lead into Turn 1, as Red Bull team mate Sergio Perez went to battle with the Ferraris behind.
Some exhilarating wheel-to-wheel action saw Charles Leclerc slot into second ahead of Perez and Carlos Sainz, while Fernando Alonso somehow managed to continue after being thumped by fellow Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll at Turn 4.
There was more drama further back as F1 returnee Nico Hulkenberg ran into Esteban Ocon at the same Turn 4 bottleneck, with part of his front wing flying off shortly afterwards.
Relive an exciting race start at the Bahrain Grand Prix in the video player above.