FP1: Gasly sets the pace in opening session for the Bahrain Grand Prix

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Bahrain, Bahrain International Circuitbh

Scuderia AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly set the pace in first practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix, beating the Ferrari duo of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz. Reigning world champion Max Verstappen ended up fifth fastest.

The session soon provided a surprise as debris from an Alpine required a stoppage. Alpine had brought a new prototype sidepod design to mimick some of Ferrari's unique sidepod design traits, but on his first pass on the main straight, Ocon's right hand sidepod tore to pieces, requiring him to complete his lap with the radiators visible to everyone. It was an early end to the new sidepod design this weekend as Alpine had one one such package.

Alonso, who at the time of the early red flag was the only man not to have gone out on track was therefore not impacted and swiftly ventured out when debris was cleared and the session got restarted.

Alfa Romeo's Valtteri Bottas was also quickly sidelined after reporting a lot of misfiring on his installation lap. The Finn would end the 90-minute session with just two laps completed, making for a dismal start at his new team.

Many looked forward to seeing the true pace of Mercedes, trying to work out if they had been sandbagging their way through Bahrain's pre-season test. But, as some suspected, the Mercedes team appeared to struggle genuinely with their porpoising issue on the main straight, even resulting in a broken front wing for George Russell.

Things were more straightforward at Ferrari. Despite a spin for Leclerc, both Ferraris were consistently among the fastest cars out there. In fact, Pierre Gasly was the only man able to be faster than Leclerc and Sainz.

Russell made it to fourth eventually, edging Verstappen who said after the session he was "very very pleased" with the start of the weekend.

Lance Stroll was the fastest man for Aston Martin as Nico Hulkenberg was busy trying to learn the AMR22, having been called up to replace the COVID-19 infected Sebastian Vettel just days ago.

Lewis Hamilton was 7th fastest, ahead of Alonso in the fastest Alpine. Tsunoda and Perez completed the top ten with rookie Zhou Guanyu just missing out by 0.003s.


110Pierre GaslyAlphatauri Rbpt1:34.19323
216Charles LeclercFerrari1:34.557+0.364s22
355Carlos SainzFerrari1:34.611+0.418s23
463George RussellMercedes1:34.629+0.436s23
51Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Rbpt1:34.742+0.549s22
618Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:34.814+0.621s22
744Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:34.943+0.750s17
814Fernando AlonsoAlpine Renault1:35.000+0.807s14
922Yuki TsunodaAlphatauri Rbpt1:35.028+0.835s20
1011Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Rbpt1:35.050+0.857s23
1124Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:35.053+0.860s20
1231Esteban OconAlpine Renault1:35.151+0.958s15
136Nicholas LatifiWilliams Mercedes1:35.644+1.451s15
1427Nico HulkenbergAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:35.815+1.622s23
1523Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes1:35.923+1.730s17
164Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes1:36.304+2.111s22
173Daniel RicciardoMclaren Mercedes1:36.402+2.209s20
1847Mick SchumacherHaas Ferrari1:36.536+2.343s23
1920Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:36.804+2.611s21
2077Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo Ferrari2