Daniel Ricciardo starts his cooperation with McLaren on the top of the standings on Friday’s morning session of testing.
Formula 1 is finally back after several months of off-season with pre-season testing in Bahrain. The racing action kicked off on Friday with the morning session of day 1.
A bunch of cars left the garages as soon as the lights went green to set some installment laps to check all the essential systems of their cars. There also were data-gathering devices and flow-viz paint on the vehicles. Shortly after, we got to see the drivers setting up the first competitive lap times. Charles Leclerc was the first to post a lap time in his Ferrari – 1:38.261.
As the track evolved, we saw significant time improvements. Nearly every driver led the standings at some point in the session. Also, the gaps between the lap times were relatively close, which hinted that the teams were not so far from each other in terms of performance.
Strong winds raised concerns in the morning session as it had brought sand storms and also caused some issue for the wind sensitive cars.
The testing did not go as planned for the reigning champions Mercedes. The team discovered a gearbox issue after Valtteri Bottas’ installation lap and spent a lot of time repairing it – not good news due to limited time in the testing. Bottas came back on the track with 36 minutes to go in the session. Williams, Alfa Romeo Racing, Aston Martin, and Haas also had to deal with some issues at some stages.
The session ended several minutes earlier after Charles Leclerc stopped because of a mechanical issue and brought out the red flag.
McLaren, Red Bull, and AlphaTauri had a very good morning. In fact, those three teams formed the top 3 of the session. Daniel Ricciardo set the fastest lap of the day so far – 1:32.203. Pierre Gasly and Max Verstappen followed him and both were less than 0.05s away from the McLaren driver’s lap time.
The lap times of the morning session of pre-season testing day 1: