Charles Leclerc won the Bahrain Grand Prix, heading a Ferrari 1-2 as its rivals fell apart in the 2022 season-opener.
Verstappen had been on course to finish second before dramatically losing power on lap 55 of 57, retiring into the pits and promoting Carlos Sainz to second behind his team-mate.
Then Sergio Perez, in third, reported problems with his own Red Bull just afterwards and spun his car on the final lap.
“You love to see it,” posted Mercedes on Twitter as Lewis Hamilton moved into third place, but the reigning constructors’ champions had plenty of struggles during the race and were only in close proximity to the leaders thanks to a late safety car.
Pole-sitter Leclerc led from the word go, followed by Max Verstappen’s Red Bull, ahead of Carlos Sainz. Sergio Perez lost out to Hamilton at the start but regained fourth place.
Despite a gripping battle for the lead and the best efforts of pitstop strategists, that order prevailed all the way to lap 46 when Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri caught fire triggering a safety car.
The field closed up: the Mercedes pair behind the Red Bulls and Ferraris, followed by an impressive Kevin Magnussen who had been fighting Lewis Hamilton in the Haas.
Languishing at the back, were the Mercedes-powered McLaren Aston Martin and Williams drivers — raising questions about their engines.
But it was Red Bull left with its own power unit conundrum after the late-race issues of its drivers. See how the action unfolded below