Stepping in for Lewis Hamilton, George Russell set the pace in the opening free practice session for the Sakhir Grand Prix as drivers conquered the Outer layout of the Bahrain International Circuit.
Despite the lack of preparation, George Russell demonstrated his own speed and Mercedes W11’s dominant performance by putting his new machinery to the top of the Standings. Following their double podium finis hat last weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix, Red Bull drivers Red Bull and Alexander Albon finished second and third respectively.
However, it was a less productive session for the London-born Thai driver in terms of mileage as he only completed 18 laps around the 3.5km Outer Circuit which was the lowest number of laps in the opening session. The two-time F1 podium finisher also had a scary moment when he had a high-speed spin at Turn 2 late in the session but his RB16 was fortunately left unscathed.
Mercedes’ Finn driver Valtteri Bottas finished three tenths of a second behind Russell as he suffered from balance issues on the short Sakhir track. AlphaTauri drivers Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly made a flying start to their weekend by posting the fifth and sixth fastest lap in the session.
Renault and Ferrari drivers occupied the lower end of the Top ten with the Scuderia showing a slightly improved pace than last weekend.
This weekend’s two debutants, Pietro Fittipaldi and Jack Aitken ended up at the bottom end of the leaderboard. The Miami-born Brazilian completed 24 laps, a second behind Haas’ Dane driver, Kevin Magnussen.
Fittipaldi’s running was cut short after he suffered a lock-up on his second set of tyres, flat-spotting them. The incident meant that he had to return to the garage and follow the closing stages of the session from the pits.
Jack Aitken notched up 33 laps in total, recording a lap time of 57.187 that was four tenths of a second slower than what his team mate Nicholas Latifi achieved.
|2||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda||54.722||+0.176s||29|
|3||23||Alexander Albon||Red Bull Racing Honda||54.811||+0.265s||18|
|5||26||Daniil Kvyat||Alphatauri Honda||55.011||+0.465s||40|
|6||10||Pierre Gasly||Alphatauri Honda||55.166||+0.620s||37|
|11||18||Lance Stroll||Racing Point Bwt Mercedes||55.558||+1.012s||41|
|12||11||Sergio Perez||Racing Point Bwt Mercedes||55.716||+1.170s||33|
|13||55||Carlos Sainz||Mclaren Renault||55.757||+1.211s||41|
|14||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||55.783||+1.237s||32|
|15||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||55.858||+1.312s||35|
|16||4||Lando Norris||Mclaren Renault||56.078||+1.532s||47|
|17||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||56.130||+1.584s||37|
|18||6||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes||56.764||+2.218s||48|
|19||51||Pietro Fittipaldi||Haas Ferrari||57.077||+2.531s||24|
|20||89||Jack Aitken||Williams Mercedes||57.187||+2.641s||33|