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Daniel Ricciardo on top of the morning session in Bahrain

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Ricciardo came out on top of this morning’s session, lapping the circuit in 01:32:215. Fernando Alonso had an impressive debut in the A521, whereas Hamilton struggled quite a lot and even caused a red flag.

The big info of this morning’s session is that Mercedes fixed their gearbox issues and were one of the first cars on track after the lights turned green. However, another Mercedes-powered car struggled due to its gearbox. Indeed, Sebastian Vettel completed a poor 8 laps during this morning’s session as he had to stay away from the track for more than three hours.

McLaren interestingly started the session completing one to two laps at a time before letting Daniel Ricciardo pit to get feedback from him. Nevertheless, it looks like this strategy worked out well as the former Renault driver looked very confident in the MCL35M, putting in several interesting lap times and of course, the best time of the session with a 1:32.215 on the mediums.

No team completed more than 6 laps at a time during the first hour of testing, this number increased throughout the session, some drivers putting in stints of approximately 15 laps on soft or medium rubber. Haas almost only tested using these two, letting Nikita Mazepin set a personal best lap time of 1:33.101. The Russian was also the driver completing the most laps this morning, going around the track 75 times.

Alpha Tauri completed 57 laps, pretty much only testing used rubber and completing one of the longest stints of the session with 16 laps on the Medium compound. The 20 years old went for a flying lap on new soft tires and managed to lap the circuit in 1:32.684.

Carlos Sainz continued learning about the Ferrari. However, he didn’t look too confident this morning and had a big loss of control in the middle of the session.

Another driver that didn’t look too confident this morning is surprisingly Lewis Hamilton, who even caused a red flag, beaching his car in a gravel pit.

Fernando Alonso officially re-introduced himself to the rest of the grid and he did look very confident and very fast in the A521, setting the provisional fastest time of the session multiple times on hard tires (whereas Daniel Ricciardo set his fastest time on mediums). The Spaniard finished the session one-tenth behind the McLaren driver.

Finally, Sergio Perez tested the RB16B and it looks like he still has a lot of work to do to be able to close the gap to Verstappen. He managed to lap the Bahrain International Circuit in 1:32.339 on hard tires this morning.

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