Bahrain, FP1: Hamilton quickest in opening practice
Bottas 2nd, Perez 3rd
Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheet in the opening practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix with the champion-elect finishing half a second ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas as Mercedes dominated proceedings.
The opening phase of the session saw teams testing the 2021-specification Pirelli tyres homologated by the FIA after the test in FP2 at Portimão in Portugal last month but after running quickest on the unmarked test tyres, Hamilton later confirmed his place at the top of the order when he moved to medium tyres.
The Briton set his fastest lap, a 1:29.033s on the yellow-banded compound, finishing 0.449s ahead of Bottas who also used medium tyres for his best effort. Racing Point’s Sergio Pérez took third place for though the Mexican driver was nine-tenths of a second off the pace set by Hamilton and a step softer on compound.
Fourth place in the 90-minute session, which was held under uncharacteristically grey skies and following rain in the morning, went to McLaren’s Carlos. The Spaniard’s best lap was 0.985 behind the lead Mercedes leaving him as the last man within a second of the P1 time.
Pierre Gasly completed the top five with time of 1:30.049, with the AlphaTauri driver finishing more than two tenths clear of Max Verstappen of sister outfit Red Bull Racing. The Dutch driver struggled for balance on the green circuit and had a spin in the final corner as the session edged towards its final third.
By contrast, Verstappen’s team-mate Alexander Albon seemed to find a groove more quickly and he ended the session in seventh place and just eight thousandths of a second slower than the Dutchman.
Renault’s Esteban Ocon took eighth place ahead of the second Racing Point of Lance Stroll. The Canadian edged Daniel Ricciardo in the second Renault car by just under a tenth of a second.
Elsewhere, Kimi Räikkönen’s Alfa Romeo was taken over by Robert Kubica with the Polish driver finishing 13th and a tenth of a second ahead of the second Alfa of Antonio Giovinazzi who finished 16th. George Russell’s place at Williams was taken by Roy Nissany who finished in last place three tenths of a second behind regular Williams driver Nicholas Latifi.
|01||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes W11||1:29.033||40|
|02||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes W11||1:29.482||41|
|03||Sergio Perez||Racing Point Mercedes RP20||1:30.000||31|
|04||Carlos Sainz||McLaren Renault MCL35||1:30.018||31|
|05||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri Honda AT01||1:30.049||34|
|06||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Honda RB16||1:30.294||18|
|07||Alex Albon||Red Bull Honda RB16||1:30.302||34|
|08||Esteban Ocon||Renault RS20||1:30.384||28|
|09||Lance Stroll||Racing Point Mercedes RP20||1:30.426||30|
|10||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault RS20||1:30.508||30|
|11||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari SF1000||1:30.589||29|
|12||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari SF1000||1:30.628||24|
|13||Robert Kubica||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C39||1:30.732||24|
|14||Romain Grosjean||Haas Ferrari VF-20||1:30.832||28|
|15||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari VF-20||1:30.854||29|
|16||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C39||1:30.896||27|
|17||Daniil Kvyat||AlphaTauri Honda AT01||1:31.020||37|
|18||Lando Norris||McLaren Renault MCL35||1:31.392||27|
|19||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes FW43||1:32.472||29|
|20||Roy Nissany||Williams Mercedes FW43||1:32.801||27|