Sakhir F1 test, Day 1: Gasly tops opening day of pre-season test in Bahrain
Ahead of Ferrari drivers
AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly topped the timesheet as Formula 1 pre-season testing got underway at the Bahrain International Circuit with the French driver’s hold on first place aided by a late red flag when Red Bull Racing’s Sergio Pérez spun on cold tyres.
Gasly posted his best time in the cooler conditions of the late afternoon, using the softest Pirelli C5 compound to set a time of 1:33.902 to leapfrog the Ferrari cars of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc who finished second and third respectively.
It might have been expected that others might attempt a late run at the softer end of the tyre spectrum, but with a few minutes left in the session race control ran a Virtual Safety Car test and Pérez, on track on cold tyres, had a slow-speed spin at Turn 8. His RB18 ended up beached in the gravel and the red flags were displayed, bringing the session to a slightly early conclusion. Pérez still managed the day’s highest lap count, completing 138 tours of the 5.3km Sakhir circuit.
With Leclerc third, fourth place in the session went to Lance Stroll who eatrly in the afternoon brought out the red flags himself when the aerodynamic rakes mounted on his car loosened with the right rear assembly then becoming detached on the back straight.
Williams’s Alexander Albon finished fifth on the timesheet thanks to a morning session time of 1:35.070. The British-Thai driver was one of just three drivers to make it past the century of laps mark, and he completed 104 laps to sit a lap ahead of Gasly.
Lando Norris took sixth place for McLaren, though the Briton struggled with brake issues in the morning as he deputised for the unwell Daniel Ricciardo. Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas took seventh place ahead of the second Aston Martin of Sebastian Vettel.
George Russell was ninth for Mercedes in a radically reshaped W13 that ran with minimal sidepods. The Briton completed 60 laps, while team-mate Lews Hamilton was 11th behind Pérez as he also got a taste of the changed Mercedes.
Fernando Alonso finished in 12th place behind Hamilton with the Spaniard’s Alpine team-mate Esteban Ocon slotting into P13 ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Guanyu Zhou. Last place on the timesheet was taken by Pietro Fittipaldi who drove the Haas to a best time 1:37.422, 3.5s adrift of Gasly. Haas were only able to run in the afternoon after the late arrival of the team’s freight delayed their start to the test.
|01||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri RBP AT03||1:33.902||103|
|02||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari F1-75||1:34.359||52|
|03||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari F1-75||1:34.531||64|
|04||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22||1:34.736||50|
|05||Alex Albon||Williams Mercedes FW44||1:35.070||104|
|06||Lando Norris||McLaren Mercedes MCL36||1:35.356||50|
|07||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42||1:35.495||66|
|08||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22||1:35.706||39|
|09||George Russell||Mercedes W13||1:35.941||60|
|10||Sergio Perez||Red Bull RBP RB18||1:35.977||138|
|11||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes W13||1:36.365||62|
|12||Fernando Alonso||Alpine Renault A522||1:36.745||24|
|13||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault A522||1:36.768||42|
|14||Guanyu Zhou||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42||1:37.164||54|
|15||Pietro Fittipaldi||Haas Ferrari VF-22||1:37.422||47|