Bahrain F1 test: Bottas on top as McLaren enjoys "best day" of testing

Valtteri Bottas edged out Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel on the final day of the in-season Formula 1 test at Bahrain on Wednesday – after clocking up an impressive 143 laps.

Bahrain F1 test: Bottas on top as McLaren enjoys "best day" of testing
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08
Gary Paffett, Williams FW40
Sergey Sirotkin, Renault Sport F1 Team RS17
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H
Gary Paffett, Williams FW40
Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MCL32
Sergey Sirotkin, Renault Sport F1 Team RS17
Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MCL32
Esteban Ocon, Force India VJM10
Pascal Wehrlein, Sauber C36
Daniil Kvyat, Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12
Gary Paffett, Williams FW40
Pierre Gasly, Red Bull Racing RB13

The Finn spent his day focused on both some aerodynamic work and better understanding of tyres, with Mercedes clear in their intention to make up for its recent struggles with long-run form.

Despite triggering one red flag with a stoppage on track caused by a mechanical problem just before lunch, Bottas got through an intensive programme – setting his best lap of 1m31.280s in the final hour of testing as track conditions cooled.

His lap tally was in stark contrast to Vettel, who endured frustrations with a big amount of time lost in the pits.

In the morning, Ferrari discovered some hydraulic leaks during a setup change in the garage, and that meant a car overhaul which left him with a tally of just eight laps before lunch.

After getting going against shortly after 1pm, Vettel lost further time when data problems in the garage left engineers without telemetry and he had to stay in the garage until the issues could be rectified.

In the end, Vettel managed to get more more running done later in the afternoon to set the second best time of 1m31.574 seconds.

Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz ended the day third fastest, having run only in the afternoon, while Stoffel Vandoorne finally gave McLaren something to smile about with the fourth fastest time with a late lap in the closing minutes of the session.

Despite no changes having been made to the engine specification since Tuesday's troubles, McLaren endured a pretty much trouble-free day of testing as Honda encountered no repeat of the MGU-H problems that have dogged it for the past week.

In fact, McLaren racing director Eric Boullier called it the "best day" of testing that the team had enjoyed so far this year

With a late short run, Vandoorne was able to set a lap of 1m32.108 seconds – just eight tenths off Bottas's best lap of the day. More encouragingly, though, was that Vandoorne completed 81 laps – more than a race distance.

Kevin Magnussen continued work on Haas' evaluation of brakes to set the fifth fastest time, while Esteban Ocon's morning time in the Force India was good enough to leave him sixth overall at the end, ahead of Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat and Williams driver Gary Paffett.

Renault's Sergey Sirotkin finished his first day of testing with the French car manufacturer ahead of Red Bull's Pierre Gasly and Sauber's Pascal Wehrlein.

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1  Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:31.280   143
2  Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:31.574 0.294 64
3  Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:31.884 0.604 68
4  Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1:32.108 0.828 81
5  Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:32.120 0.840 88
6  Esteban Ocon Force India 1:32.142 0.862 85
7  Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:32.213 0.933 60
8  Gary Paffett Williams 1:32.253 0.973 61
9  Sergey Sirotkin Renault 1:32.287 1.007 126
10  Pierre Gasly Red Bull 1:32.568 1.288 65
11  Pascal Wehrlein Sauber 1:34.462 3.182 91
12  Sergio Perez Force India 1:35.015 3.735 70
shares
comments
Baptism of Fire: Lance Stroll needs a clean weekend and points to settle into F1

Previous article

Baptism of Fire: Lance Stroll needs a clean weekend and points to settle into F1

Next article

Garage power cut added to Ferrari's test troubles

Garage power cut added to Ferrari's test troubles
Load comments
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Prime

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his teammate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon.

Formula 1
May 6, 2021
What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Prime

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight.

Formula 1
May 5, 2021
The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix Prime

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix

Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings

The 2021 Portuguese GP will for several drivers go down as a weekend of missed opportunities amid imperfect track conditions that caused struggles with tyre warm-up. But the performances of a select few stood out from the crowd

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory Prime

The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory

Just as he did in 2020, Lewis Hamilton had to come from behind to win the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix. Only this time there were two rivals he had to pass, among the several challenges he had to overcome, on his way to securing a 97th grand prix victory

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Imola 1994: Memories from Ayrton Senna’s F1 rivals Prime

Imola 1994: Memories from Ayrton Senna’s F1 rivals

The tragic events of the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix changed Formula 1 forever. Here, 17 of the drivers who took part explain how they coped with the devastating deaths of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna.

Formula 1
May 1, 2021
The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy Prime

The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy

Lewis Hamilton topped the crucial FP2 session on Friday as F1 returned to Portugal, but his Mercedes team cannot be sure it has the edge on its Red Bull rivals. As cool temperatures and wind combine with the still-slippery surface to present drivers with quandaries over set-up and tyre warmup, there's still everything to play for come qualifying.

Formula 1
May 1, 2021
How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion Prime

How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion

As a highly-rated Mercedes junior, George Russell is naturally billed as Lewis Hamilton's heir apparent where Britain's next Formula 1 champion is concerned. But he may face competition for that accolade from Lando Norris, fresh from a confidence-boosting run to third at Imola whose rise is being accelerated by his McLaren team’s revival

Formula 1
Apr 29, 2021