Max Verstappen wins the Formula 1 season opener, Mercedes takes a swatter – and a doyen writes the story of the day. The international press celebrates Fernando Alonso, who shocks everyone except the world champion.

Sport: “Alonso did magic again in Bahrain. Reality has overtaken fiction. A brutal race by the Asturian.”

Marca: “Magic Alonso returns through the big door. Alonso destroys Hamilton and is back on the magic podium. Max Verstappen wins in Bahrain but this is the day of Fernando Alonso’s return.”

As: “Alonso reinvents the podium and makes Hamilton look old. Verstappen and Perez play in a different league, but the protagonist is Alonso.”

El Mundo Deportivo: “Epic podium for Alonso in Bahrain, Verstappen wins without a sweat. Fernando Alonso drove like he was unleashed.”

Trouw: “Formula 1 doesn’t seem to have changed much in the new season. Max Verstappen continues his sole rule, the competitors are struggling with themselves and with their cars.”

De Volkskrant: “Verstappen and Perez are forcing the rivals into a modest supporting role. Max Verstappen is continuing where he left off last year, winning unattainably in Bahrain. The mood after the victory: Let’s be happy about the struggles behind Red Bull. “

Guardian: “Max Verstappen did everything he could to make the season opener feel like a repeat of last year – but the sport was saved by its eldest. With panache, panache and sheer daring, Fernando Alonso drove to a mighty third place for Aston Martin. He is still exciting to watch at 41.”

Telegraph: “If there was a glimmer of hope in that opener, with the title race effectively declared dead, it was the rise of Aston Martin. Fernando Alonso’s brilliant third place was a much-needed feel-good factor given the dominance of Max Verstappen.”

Daily Mail: “As if a tornado had swept through the paddock. Announced long in advance, but all the preparations didn’t help – and when Max Verstappen was finished, no stone was left standing.”

Gazzetta dello Sport: “World champion Verstappen does not want to hand over the scepter to any rival. He deals with all the minor problems, he starts like a number one. Defeating him and this Red Bull car seems a mission impossible for the opponents.”

Corriere dello Sport: “Ferrari can’t save anything from this start of the season. A year after Bahrain’s brace, Maranello proves that they are not at the level of their opponents.”

Tuttosport: “Ferrari, this start of the season is a nightmare. Maranello has to do something, so we’re not competitive!”

Corriere della Sera: “In the first race of the season, Verstappen and Perez are reminiscent of Schumacher’s monologues with Ferrari and Hamilton’s with Mercedes.”

La Repubblica: “Shock in the desert for Ferrari. The Scuderia is anything but a competitor for the heavyweight Red Bull.”