F1 Bahrain 2021 pre-season testing - Day 1


By: Haydn Cobb, Tom Howard, James Newbold, Jake Boxall-Legge


Leaderboard - Day 1

1. Verstappen, Red Bull, 1m30.674s
2. Norris, McLaren, 1m30.889s
3. Ocon, Alpine 1m31.146s
4. Stroll, Aston Martin, 1m31.782s
5. Sainz, Ferrari, 1m31.919s
6. Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo, 1m31.945s
7. Ricciardo, McLaren, 1m32.203s
8. Gasly, AlphaTauri, 1m32.231s
9. Tsunoda, AlphaTauri, 1m32.727s
10. Hamilton, Mercedes, 1m32.912s
11. Leclerc, Ferrari, 1m33.242s
12. Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo, 1m33.320s
13. Vettel, Aston Martin, 1m33.742s
14. Nissany, Williams, 1m34.789s
15. Mazepin, Haas, 1m34.798s
16. Schumacher, Haas, 1m36.127s
17. Bottas, Mercedes, 1m36.850s

What's happened so far?

  • Verstappen fastest from Norris and Ocon this afternoon
  • Sandstorm created initially tricky conditions after lunch break
  • Mazepin, Schumacher (Haas) and Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) make first appearances
  • Reborn McLaren-Mercedes combination gets off to encouraging early start with team newcomer Daniel Ricciardo fastest in the morning
  • Gearbox changes for Bottas and Schumacher in the first half of the day
  • Mechanical problem for Leclerc's Ferrari brought out the first red flag of F1's 2021 pre-season test with 10 minutes remaining of the morning session
Status: Stopped

That is Day 1 in the books but join us again tomorrow bright and early for full coverage of the second day of F1 pre-season testing from Bahrain. Track action begins at 7am UK time (10am local time), so don't miss out! Until then have a lovely Friday.

12:09 Here's the full report on today's F1 pre-season testing action: https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/verstappen-fastest-after-bahrain-day-1/5698260/

No doubt the analysis and data work for all F1 teams will go long into the night in preparation for tomorrow. Remember, there are just two days left of 2021 pre-season testing before the opening race.


More problems for Mercedes? Hamilton returns to the Mercedes garage and is greeted by a chap wearing rubber gloves and safety clothing who checks on the car, which would indicate a potential electrical issue.


But it counts for little under the VSC as the red flags are waved to declare that the day's track action is complete. Verstappen and Red Bull claim the headlines in the dust.


The TV graphics have decided enough is enough but there is still a littler over a minute left to go.


Moments later Norris does effectively the same thing as Hamilton at the first corner but only more dramatically. It doesn't look related to the McLaren driver's off, given he has got going again, but a Virtual Safety Car has been called.


Hamilton isn't giving up on searching for a decent push lap as he prepares to go again but it ends almost as quickly as it began when he snatches the brakes at Turn 1, locking up and going wide into the dusty run-off.


And how about F1 world champions Mercedes? Hamilton and Bottas have done 45 laps combined today with 10 minutes to go and no lap times that are worth shouting about. Hamilton sums up his day with a wide moment coming out of Turn 10 and has to back out.


Sainz, looking to get in on the act for Ferrari, goes P5 with a 1m31.919s to go 1.2s off Verstappen on the same yellow-walled C3 tyres.

11:48 It has been an eye-catching day down at both McLaren and Alpine too. Norris (P2) and Ricciardo (P6) have combined to produce 86 laps, while Ocon (P3) as done 124 laps on his own.

Verstappen, who dominated the 2020 final race let's not forget, is putting in a similar display today. Most laps by an individual driver and the fastest time of the day - aside from an early spin it has been the perfect day for Red Bull.


There is a wide selection of tyre compounds on show currently, from both C3s up to C1, and Stroll is on a quicker lap for Aston Martin with a new set of the no mark C3 tyres. Stroll puts in a 1m31.782s to jump up to P4.


Norris puts in a 1m30.889s on the C3s to put himself P2 on the times once again to make it a really good day for McLaren so far. Verstappen's last lap was in the 1m30s but three-tenths off his best.


This one isn't ending quietly though, as both Norris and Verstappen are lighting up the timing screens...


Closing in on the end of the opening day which means a third of F1 pre-season testing for 2021 will be done and dusted - well definitely dusty. Haydn Cobb will see you through to the chequered flag.

11:29 Stroll, Giovinazzi and a Haas the only cars on track, all gathering more numbers and data to throw into their respective simulation software packages.
11:24 A lesser-spotted Alonso is lurking in the Alpine pits - he'll get his turn with the A521 tomorrow.
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