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Ricciardo quickest as McLaren show form in testing

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Daniel Ricciardo was quickest in the opening session of pre-season testing as McLaren showed good form in the blustery winds of Bahrain. 

It is the first time Formula One heads to Bahrain for pre-season testing since 2014 as the current Covid-19 travel restrictions have prevented testing to be held at the usual venue of Barcelona. The first four hour long session saw the Aussie top the timesheets as Mercedes and Ferrari both had issues.

As the cars broke cover in their striking new liveries, it was the Alfa Romeo of Kimi Raikkonen who set the pace early on with Esteban Ocon in the revamped Alpine F1 team and Frenchman Pierre Gasly in the Alpha Tauri not too far behind.  Max Verstappen also had a good start in his Red Bull but lost the rear coming out of turn 2, spun the car and was effortlessly saved by the Dutchman.

As the pace ramped up, Ricciardo went quicker with a unbeaten time of 1:32.203 on the C2 compound tyre. Gasly was just 0.028 slower and finished the session second quickest putting in 74 laps in his AT02, with Verstappen 0.042 behind in third. Alpine got off to a great start with Ocon finishing in fourth, with 55 laps covered from the Frenchman.

Charles Leclerc finished the session in 5th despite bringing out the red flag after encountering an issue between turns 3 and 4. He had to park the car at turn 4, ending the session. Raikkonen put in an impressive performance for Alfa Romeo to finish in 6th covering 63 laps, and Sebastian Vettel brought home his new AMR21 in 7th.

Williams had Roy Nissany piloting the FW43B for the opening session, and after 39 laps he finished in 8th with rookie Mick Schumacher finishing in 9th for Haas. The German suffered a gearbox issue, and missed most of the session, completing just 15 laps.

He wasn’t the only one who came across a gearbox issue, as Valtteri Bottas only managed 6 laps early on in the session before he headed back to the garage.

Many teams will now switch drivers for the afternoon session, and we could see some tricky conditions with a sandstorm forecast.


Image Source: McLaren and Scuderia Ferrari

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