As F1 drivers put in their first runs of the year at the Bahrain International Circuit, Red Bull driver Max Verstappen continued the forward momentum from his Championship-winning season last year, recording the best lap time so far on the first day of pre-season testing.
Trailing just 0.029 seconds behind Verstappen was veteran Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso. With Lance Stroll out due to a wrist injury caused by a cycling accident, Aston Martin ran with reserve driver Felipe Drugovich who placed P14. In third and fourth were Ferrari drivers Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc followed by McLaren‘s Lando Norris, Mercedes‘ Lewis Hamilton, Williams driver Alex Albon, and Alfa Romeo driver Zhou Guanyu. Rounding out the top ten are Mercedes’ George Russell and Wiliams rookie Logan Sargeant.
Red Bull was the only team that chose to carry out the day’s morning and afternoon sessions with the same driver on the track. Sergio Perez is expected to step in on day two. The strategy allowed the team to run the most precious laps on the track with 157, followed by Mercedes (152) and Williams (149). McLaren notably was the only team unable to pass the 100 mark at 92.
While Red Bull seems to have the edge once again, that may soon change as teams look to push for pace on the final two days. Stay tuned for more updates as teams make precious adjustments ahead of the first race of the season on March 5.
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