Feature image: @F1 on Twitter
Formula 1 marked its long-awaited return for day one of testing in Bahrain ahead of the 2021 season in less than optimal conditions due to the presence of a sandstorm which hit the Bahrain International Circuit during the lunch break this afternoon.
The reigning champions, Mercedes had a nightmare in Valtteri Bottas’ morning session, having to change his gearbox which cost them three hours of time. The Fin only managed 6 laps when given the green light and will be hoping for more track time tomorrow afternoon.
Daniel Ricciardo looked comfortable as he topped the morning session in his first test with McLaren and gained some valuable data in his 45 laps. He topped Pierre Gasly and Max Verstappen, with Verstappen doing both AM and PM sessions on day one. Esteban Ocon and Roy Nissany also had the day to themselves, with a lot of fans puzzled as to why Nissany has such a large portion of testing to himself.
After the session, Ricciardo told journalists, “It was really good. It was a nice half a day. Everything went pretty smooth. It’s nice to see your name up at the top but really testing day one is about reliability and making sure everything runs.”
With the sandstorm taking the first few hours, Max Verstappen topped the afternoon session with the fastest time of the day on the yellow C3 tyre compound after running 139 laps throughout the day. He led Esteban Ocon, who ran 129 laps on Alpine’s debut test and looked very comfortable behind the wheel.
The two rookies Yuki Tsunoda and Nikita Mazepin had valuable time to get to know their 2021 challengers, with a few spins in there which showed their lack of experience. Tsunoda is a talent who is widely regarded as an exciting prospect for the 2021 season, being promoted from Japanese Formula 4 to Formula 1 in just 3 years since 2018.
Lance Stroll spent the session at the bottom of the timing sheet with his team-mate managing the 12th fastest time overall. Being a new team who could be in contention for the top spot, we didn’t really get to see the full potential of the AMR21, which isn’t uncommon for pre-season testing.
Tomorrow’s Testing Schedule – Day 2
|Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team 🇩🇪||Lewis Hamilton 🇬🇧||Valtteri Bottas 🇫🇮|
|Red Bull Racing Honda 🇦🇹||Sergio Perez 🇲🇽||Sergio Perez 🇲🇽|
|McLaren F1 Team 🇬🇧||Daniel Ricciardo 🇦🇺||Lando Norris 🇬🇧|
|Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team 🇬🇧||Sebastian Vettel 🇩🇪||Lance Stroll 🇨🇦|
|Alpine F1 Team 🇫🇷||Fernando Alonso 🇪🇸||Fernando Alonso 🇪🇸|
|Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow 🇮🇹||Carlos Sainz Jr. 🇪🇸||Charles Leclerc 🇲🇨|
|Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda 🇮🇹||Yuki Tsunoda 🇯🇵||Pierre Gasly 🇫🇷|
|Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen 🇨🇭||Antonio Giovinazzi 🇮🇹||Antonio Giovinazzi 🇮🇹|
|Uralkali Haas F1 Team 🇺🇸||Nikita Mazepin 🇷🇺||Michael Schumacher 🇩🇪|
|Williams Racing 🇬🇧||Nicholas Latifi 🇨🇦||Nicholas Latifi 🇨🇦|