Sakhir F1 test, Day 1: Gasly tops opening day of pre-season test in Bahrain

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By Olivier Ferret

10 March 2022 - 17:43
Sakhir F1 test, Day 1: Gasly tops (...)

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.

Pos.DriverCarTimeLaps
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

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