F1 Bahrain Testing Day 1: Verstappen fastest as first Preseason day wraps up

By Mark Cipolloni

Defending World Driving Champion Max Verstappen showed why he goes into the 2023 season as the clear favorite.  Not only was he the fastest driver of the first day of preseason testing in his Red Bull Honda RB19 without even trying very hard, but he turned a massive 157 trouble free laps.

Verstappen ended the day with a time of 1m32.837s despite spending most of the afternoon session running heavier fuel loads and working on race setups.

What was perhaps most impressive about Verstappen’s runs were his lap time consistency over long runs as he pounded around the 3.363-mile Bahrain circuit.

With that said, it is hard to read too much into the lap times after just one day of testing, but based on Verstappen’s body language, he appears quite happy with the car.

Fernando Alonso put up a time just 0.029s behind the Dutchman in the new Aston Martin in the last hour in cooler conditions.

Carlos Sainz Jr’s time from the morning session of 1m33.253s held up for the 3rd fastest lap of the day, ahead of the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc, the McLaren of Lando Norris and the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton, the Brit finishing the day 0.671s behind the Dutchman in 6th place.

Carlos Sainz Jr. 2nd quick. Photo Courtesy of Ferrari
Ferrari tested front wing struts to see how the car performed with no front wing flexing

Aside from an early morning red flag caused by an electronics problem for Felipe Drugovich’s Aston Martin – the Brazilian reserve driver subbing for injured Lance Stroll, there were no red flags in the PM session as everyone ran trouble free.

More to follow……………….

Final Bahrain Day 1 Times

1 Max Verstappen NED Oracle Red Bull Racing 1m32.837s 157 Medium
2 Fernando Alonso ESP Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team 1m32.886s 60 Medium
3 Carlos Sainz ESP Scuderia Ferrari 1m33.253s 72 Medium
4 Charles Leclerc MON Scuderia Ferrari 1m33.267s 64 Medium
5 Lando Norris GBR McLaren F1 Team 1m33.462s 40 Medium
6 Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team 1m33.508s 83 Medium
7 Alex Albon THA Williams Racing 1m33.671s 74 Soft
8 Zhou Guanyu CHN Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake 1m33.723s 67 Medium
9 George Russell GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team 1m34.174s 69 Medium
10 Logan Sargeant USA Williams Racing 1m34.324s 75 Medium
11 Nico Hulkenberg GER MoneyGram Haas F1 Team 1m34.424s 51 Medium
12 Valtteri Bottas FIN Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake 1m34.558s 71 Medium
13 Nyck de Vries NED Scuderia AlphaTauri 1m34.559s 85 Medium
14 Felipe Drugovich BRA Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team 1m34.564s 40 Medium
15 Yuki Tsunoda JPN Scuderia AlphaTauri 1m34.671s 46 Medium
16 Pierre Gasly FRA BWT Alpine F1 Team 1m34.822s 60 Hard
17 Esteban Ocon FRA BWT Alpine F1 Team 1m34.871s 53 Medium
18 Oscar Piastri AUS McLaren F1 Team 1m34.888s 52 Hard
19 Kevin Magnussen DEN MoneyGram Haas F1 Team 1m35.087s 57 Hard