Verstappen dominates proceedings on first morning of testing

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F1 Test, Sakhir, Bahrain International Circuitbh

Reigning world champion Max Verstappen ended the first morning of the three-day Bahrain test on top of the timesheets with Ferrari's Charles Leclerc finishing the first official running in second spot seven tenths of a second behind his Dutch rival.

Many teams had already done filming days - at Silverstone - to check basics but it is here at Bahrain that real testing kicks off with 3 days of testing before the first race weekend.

Mercedes' George Russell was the first to take the track, eager to get to learn the behaviour of the largely redesigned Mercedes after a couple of difficult seasons. All other drivers present soon followed him out for installation laps and then the typical testing cycles of short runs with different settings and longer runs to check tyre wear.

The early hours went on without any major trouble for anyone. Fernando Alonso soon emerged at the top of the timing sheet and looked quite comfortable with the behaviour of the new Aston Martin.

Max Vertappen seemed in even better shape and somewhat effortlessly brought it down to 1:32.548s even despite some non-ideal moments in Turn 5 and Turn 8. Charles Leclerc later also improved on Alonso's time to make for a solid second place on the morning's timesheet.

Oscar Piastri made it a solid fourth for McLaren followed by RB's Yuki Tsunoda.

For Mercedes it wasn't the perfect session however. Although there we no reliability issues, Russell was seen bumping had on the bump at the end of the main straight. The team therefore decided to make car changes that held them in the pitlane for quite a while.

The biggest issue perhaps was for Alexander Albon who rolled to a halt at the end of the main straight. When it seemed like a definite session stoppage after a minute of being stuck aside of the track, Albon got the car going again, safely returning to the pits without much hindrance to anybody else on track.

Testing continues this afternoon under artificial lighting at 15:00.