Formula One

Verstappen Goes Quickest on Day 1 of Testing

Max Verstappen on March 12, 2021 in Bahrain. Photo by Joe Portlock. Red Bull Content Pool.

Sure, looking at the new liveries and team photoshoots is better than nothing, right? Well, enough with that…Formula One cars are officially back on the track!

The first of the three pre-season days in Bahrain is over. And yes, that is correct. The 2021 Formula One season has designated only 3 days of pre-season action. This number is down from the 8 in 2019, and even the 6 days we had last year. Thus, making it even more challenging for teams and drivers to tune their equipment to its maximum potential. Thankfully, this year’s season-opener will be in Bahrain. This should make everyone’s job a tiny bit easier.

But what are the main takeaways after the first laps for 2021? And also, does it even matter at such an early stage of the season? Let’s take a look:

MAX VERSTAPPEN AND RED BULL AT THE TOP – The Dutch driver simply went quickest today. Although, his 1:30.674 lap time was only 0.215 seconds quicker than McLaren’s Lando Norris best attempt. Whether this was everyone’s true pace today we cannot know. In fact, it probably was not. Nonetheless, Verstappen reminded us of his determination to dethrone Hamilton. Max did not waste any time today. He did the more laps than anyone else, 138 in total.

MERCEDES FACE PROBLEMS ONCE AGAIN – It seems like a trend now. But we have seen Mercedes struggling at the early stages of the season many times before. Today, for example, Valtteri Bottas’ transmission allowed him to only complete 6 laps, while Lewis Hamilton completed only 42 (not very clean) laps, and had extreme problems with the grip. Ultimately, Lewis finished in P10, while Bottas remained last in P17. On a positive note, the Silver Arrows will likely bounce back as soon as tomorrow or Sunday. After all, they have a championship to defend…

FERRARI, MCLAREN, ALPINE AND ASTON MARTIN – Just like we mentioned a couple of months ago, these four teams will be watched extremely closely throughout the season. Did today’s testing reveal anything special for any of them? Unfortunately, not really… For example, McLaren’s Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo finished in 2nd and 7th. On the other hand, Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel placed 4th and 13th for Aston Martin. Similarly, Ferrari had Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc in 5th and 11th, respectively. And lastly, Esteban Ocon finished 3rd for Alpine. Basically, everyone was pretty much all over the place. Realistically, this was a rather productive session for all of them, especially the “new guys”. Vettel, Ricciardo and Sainz have an additional job to do and become familiar with their new teams as quickly as possible. Tomorrow might brung more clarity of that one.

ALPHATAURI, WILLIAMS, ALFA ROMEO AND HAAS – Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda placed 8th and 9th for AlphaTauri. The pair seem to have done their job well, and the team seems to be in a strong position for attacking the top 10 consistently. Another pair, however, did not do so great today. Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher with Haas finished 15th and 16th, respectively. The team’s lack of pace is becoming pretty evident even after only a single day of testing. But this is not surprising. No surprises from Williams either. Their test driver Roy Nissani came in 14th, surpassing only the Haas duo and Valtteri Bottas’ unrealistically slow time. Last but not least, Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen finished the session off in 6th and 12th, respectively. So far, their performance appears improved compared to last season.

SkullKing Sports would like to know what were your takeaways from the first day of Formula One pre-season testing. Comment down below!

For complete first pre-season session results click HERE.

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