Max Verstappen cruises to victory in season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix

    Red Bull Racing's Dutch driver Max Verstappen holds up his medal on the podium after winning the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir on March 5, 2023.

    (CNN)Max Verstappen cruised to victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday, stamping his authority on the season in the opening race.

    After winning his second consecutive world championship in October 2022 with four races to spare and setting a record for the most race wins in a season, Verstappen began this weekend as the outright favorite.
    And the Dutchman justified that tag in emphatic style, leading from start to finish as he won the Bahrain Grand Prix for the first time in his career.
      It turned into a perfect evening for Red Bull as Sergio Perez finished in second place behind his teammate, while 41-year-old Fernando Alonso rolled back the years to finish third for Aston Martin and secure the 99th podium of his career.
        Ferrari's Charles Leclerc had been sitting in third with 16 laps rem