Formula 1 seems to have picked up where we left off last November: with Max Verstappen and Red Bull dictating the pace and everyone else chasing. The Dutch driver was the only one to lap for the entire opening day of the collective test in Bahrain and was also the fastest in both sessions.
In the afternoon, in fact, he managed to adjust his time, going down to 1’32″837 with the C3 tyres. But above all, the RB19, which had remained unknown to the competition until this morning, gave the sensation of already being a The consistency with which the two-time world champion managed to hammer the 1’36” in long runs was truly impressive, as were the 157 laps completed without incidents.
Behind him there is a surprise, because Fernando Alonso managed to bring the Aston Martin to just 29 thousandths of a second from the top. And to think that the day had started uphill for the Spaniard, given that the underbody on a stand had been damaged during a pit stop test. Once back on track, however, he was fast on an AMR23 that seems to have what it takes to be the fourth force.
His teammate, the reserve Felipe Drugovich, also had electrical problems this morning, then finished in 14th place in 1’34″564. This is an important test for him, because now that he has learned that Lance Stroll has broken his wrist, it seems increasingly likely that next week he will have the chance to make his debut in a real GP.
In third and fourth positions we find the two Ferrari drivers, with Carlos Sainz who was faster than Charles Leclerc by just 14 thousandths. It wasn’t an exhilarating day for the Cavallino though, because the gap is four tenths and the SF-23 gave the feeling that it had some problems to solve to eliminate the bouncing in the fast corners. Also, the wheelbase doesn’t seem to hold a candle to the RB19 for now. Except that the indications of the tests always leave the time they find.
Also because Lando Norris is in fifth position, but McLaren is one of the teams that gave the sensation of being in the greatest difficulty. After staying in the pits for a long time due to a problem apparently related to something wrong in the cockpit, the Briton actually set his best time in the finale, when track conditions were at their best. Previously, however, he was even last and his teammate, the rookie Oscar Piastri is still 18th.
In sixth position we find the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton. The performance competitions therefore at the moment, at least among the top teams, do not seem very different from those we had left in Abu Dhabi, even if the 7-times world champion is not too far from the Reds with the same C3 tires with his 1′ 33″508. More distant instead George Russell, ninth, who in the morning had obtained his time with the C3 proto tyres. The good news for the Brackley team is that the new car seems to have much fewer problems with porpoising and also with the pace it gave the feeling that it could be quite constant, especially with the C1s.
However, there are also some surprises in the top ten positions, like both Williams drivers: Alex Albon set the seventh fastest time in 1’33″671, but it must be said that he was also the only one to use the red band tyres. therefore the softest in the range.The tenth time of rookie Logan Sargeant, who managed to lap in 1’34″324 with the C3s, is probably more significant.
The performance of Guanyu Zhou, eighth with Alfa Romeo, was also interesting ahead of him, but his teammate Valtteri Bottas, 12th, was not far either, even if with a time eight tenths higher. The full-time return of Nico Hulkenberg was also positive, because the German driver managed to bring the Haas to 11th position. All while teammate Kevin Magnussen finds himself at the back of the group, even if it must be said that he spent a lot of time in the pits with the VF-23 on its stands, therefore clearly accusing some technical problems.
In 13th position we find the other rookie Nyck De Vries, who signed his 1’34″559 with C3 proto tyres, but was thus able to get behind his teammate in AlphaTauri, the Japanese Yuki Tsunoda, who is 15th On the other hand, this first day of the Alpine was disappointing, because the team fresh from fourth place in the Constructors’ standings always found itself in the back-up positions with the transalpine pair formed by Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon, who finished respectively with 16th and 17th, but more than two seconds late.It must be said, however, that both obtained their respective performances with the C2 tyres.
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