F1: Gasly tops opening practice for Bahrain GP

AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly turned the fastest lap in opening practice for the Bahrain GP F1 season opener.

Gasly’s lap on the Pirelli soft tires of 1m34.193s was 0.364s faster than Charles Leclerc’s #16 Ferrari on the medium tires.

Charles Leclerc. Ferrari F1 Team Photo

Carlos Sainz Jr. was third for Ferrari, also on the medium tires, 0.418s behind.

George Russell was 4th for Mercedes on the soft tires, while Max Verstappen rounded out the top-5 on the medium tires for Red Bull.

Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the #1 Red Bull on track during practice at the Bahrain International Circuit on March 18, 2022 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Getty Images/for Red Bull)

Just three teams opted not to sample the soft tires there – Red Bull, Ferrari and Haas. Everyone else gave the Medium rubber a go, with very mixed results.

Sandbagging Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 Team Photo

At the back were the two Haas slugs, 2.3 and 2.6s off the pace.

Valtteri Bottas never put a time in as his Alfa Romeo had an engine issue.

The war of words has already started, with all sorts of interesting assessments coming out from some of the drivers. But as for the two title protagonists from last season, Hamilton has declared he is going to be more aggressive, while Verstappen is asserting that Mercedes are sandbagging and not as off the pace as they appear.

“We did make some progress [with porpoising] and we did play around with ride heights in the session, What we do need to do is find some more car performance,” said Mercedes Trackside Engineer Andrew Shovlin

Another hour of practice under the lights in cooler temperatures await. That’s the only representative running before qualifying, so it should be a busy one.

Practice 1 Results

1 10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 1:34.193 +0.000s Soft 22
2 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:34.557 +0.364s Medium 21
3 55 Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 1:34.611 +0.418s Medium 22
4 63 George Russell Mercedes 1:34.629 +0.436s Soft 22
5 1 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1:34.742 +0.549s Medium 21
6 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes 1:34.814 +0.621s Soft 21
7 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:34.943 +0.750s Soft 16
8 14 Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault 1:35.000 +0.807s Soft 13
9 22 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 1:35.028 +0.835s Soft 19
10 11 Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing 1:35.050 +0.857s Medium 22
11 24 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo Ferrari 1:35.053 +0.860s Soft 19
12 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault 1:35.151 +0.958s Soft 14
13 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes 1:35.644 +1.451s Soft 14
14 27 Nico Hulkenberg Aston Martin Mercedes 1:35.815 +1.622s Soft 22
15 23 Alexander Albon Williams Mercedes 1:35.923 +1.730s Soft 16
16 4 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes 1:36.304 +2.111s Soft 21
17 3 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes 1:36.402 +2.209s Soft 19
18 47 Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari 1:36.536 +2.343s Medium 22
19 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:36.804 +2.611s Medium 20
20 77 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Ferrari No Time 2


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