F1 Bahrain Testing Day 1: Verstappen puts Red Bull RB19 on top in morning session

By Mark Cipolloni

Running on Pirelli Medium compound tires like most drivers, World Driving Champion Max Verstappen turned the fastest lap on the first morning of F1 preseason testing in Bahrain.

Verstappen’s lap of 1m32.959s was 0.294s faster than Carlos Sainz Jr. in the new Ferrari and around 1-second faster than Day 1 times last year.

World Driving Champion Max Verstappen laps in the Red Bull RB18. Note the green aero paint under the right sidepod as the team validates the airflow in that region

Alex Albon was 3rd quick for Williams but he set his time on the soft Pirelli tires.

Zhou Guanyu was 4th for Alfa Romeo while George Russell rounded out the top-5 for Mercedes.

Felipe Drugovich, who is standing in for the injured Lance Stroll, caused the first red flag when his Aston Martin stopped out on track with an electrical issue.  It was quickly resolved.

Everyone is still sandbagging, so don’t read too much into these early times.

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton will take over from Russell in the afternoon, while Fernando Alonso will be in action for Aston Martin. Verstappen stays in the Red Bull all day today, splits time in the car with Sergio Perez on Friday, and then on Saturday Perez will be in the car all day.

Bahrain Testing Day1 Morning Times

1 Max Verstappen NED Oracle Red Bull Racing 1m32.959s 71  Medium
2 Carlos Sainz ESP Scuderia Ferrari 1m33.253s 72 Medium
3 Alex Albon THA Williams Racing 1m33.671s 74  Soft
4 Zhou Guanyu CHN Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake 1m33.723s 67 Medium
5 George Russell GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team 1m34.174s 69 Medium
6 Nico Hulkenberg GER MoneyGram Haas F1 Team 1m34.424s 51 Medium
7 Felipe Drugovich BRA Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team 1m34.564s 40 Medium
8 Yuki Tsunoda JPN Scuderia AlphaTauri 1m34.671s 46 Medium
9 Pierre Gasly FRA BWT Alpine F1 Team 1m34.822s 60 Hard
10 Oscar Piastri AUS McLaren F1 Team 1m34.888s 52 Hard