F1 Bahrain Preseason Test Day 3: Perez tops ‘Glory Run’ day

by Mark Cipolloni

Sergio Perez, on a set of soft C4 Pirelli tires, turned a lap of 1m30.305s in his #11 Red Bull Honda to lead all comers on ‘Glory Day’ running of F1 preseason testing in Bahrain. That time beat the pole time here from last year at 1m30.558s.

More telling was the times Perez set on the next several laps that almost matched his quick lap, indicating the Red Bull is able to get good long run times on the soft C4 tire.

Lewis Hamilton strapped on Pirelli’s C5 Super Soft tires meant for street circuits with low fuel in his Mercedes, but try as he might, could not match the time put up by Perez on the harder C4 tire and ended up 2nd quick, 0.359s behind Perez.

Lewis Hamilton found more speed in his Mercedes using the super soft Pirellis. Photo by LAT for Pirelli

Asked to compare the W14 to its problematic predecessor, Hamilton continued: “Right now, for example, the bouncing that we had has pretty much gone. That’s a huge step for us.

“It’s nice to drive it without the bouncing in the corners. But there are still some underlying things that we are working through.”

“It’s going to be tough for everyone with this short period of testing.

“We’re trying to make sure we hit the ground running in understanding the car, the tires and the ability to respond. There are things we’re working through.

“Some of the balance limitations that we had last year are present. I’m really proud of everyone in the team for continuing to remain positive after a tough year last year.

“Amazing work through the winter to arrive and have the mileage that we’ve had. Every single year they arrive with the same mental focus and determination to fix whatever issue we have.

“I enjoy being in the offices just chugging away going through the data. We will hopefully get there.”

Valtteri Bottas did a Glory Run on the Super Soft C5 Pirellis to go third fastest during Happy Hour with a time of 1m30.827s in his Alfa Romeo that was 0.522s behind Perez who was on the harder C4s.

Valtteri Bottas – Alfa Romeo

The C4 and C5 tires will not be used in next weekend’s race, so all the times by drivers shown on the soft and super soft tires below are ‘Glory Runs’ and should be disregarded.

The Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. turned nearly identical times on the C4 rubber to go 4th and 5th quick with times of 1m31.024s and 1m31.036s respectively. The Ferrari never made a ‘Glory Run’ with low fuel during ‘Happy Hour’ so we do not know just how fast they can go.

Yuki Tsonoda rounded out the top-6 for Alpha Tauri on the C4 rubber.

Predictions for Pecking Order

It’s hard to tell the exact pecking order coming out of testing because all the teams hide their true pace, but based on what we saw, this appears to the order:

Pos Team Comments
1 Red Bull Car looks balanced, best long run times, Verstappen put up fast times without even trying hard. Perez fastest overall for week on C4 tire. Team beaming with confidence. Verstappen fastest on the C3 tire and Perez fastest on the C4 tire
2 Ferrari Car also looks balanced, good long run times, but slightly slower than Red Bull’s. They are definitely hiding their ultimate pace. Staying reserved until they see where they stand with respect to Red Bull after qualifying next Saturday
3 Aston Martin The Aston Martin looks totally hooked up, and the team is bubbling with enthusiasm. Car goes wherever Alonso points it.
4 Mercedes Mercedes could be #3 instead of #4 but their pace on the tires to be used next weekend was marginal and while the car looked more balanced on the soft tires, it appears to oversteer with the harder tires.
5 Alpine Team never made any Glory Runs and the car was bouncing like hell either from porpoising or a very stiff suspension setup.  Other teams are saying they can see the Alpine is fast from the data
6 Alfa Romeo Zhou was fastest overall on Day 2 on the C5 tires, but it was a glory run. With that said, the car looked fairly hooked up
7 AlphaTauri The Red Bull ‘B’ team looks like they have stepped up their game for 2023 using some of the aero philosophy from their sister Red Bull team
8 Haas They will start well but as teams develop their cars over the season, can they keep up?
9 McLaren The team appears to be struggling and boss Zak Brown admitted the car did not meet its design targets
10 Williams Alex Albon on the C5 Super Soft tires was 2.5s off the pace and out to lunch on Glory Run Day. Rookie Logan Sargeant actually looked better.

Bahrain Day 3 Final Times

1 Sergio Perez MEX Oracle Red Bull Racing 1m30.305s 0.000s 133 C4 Soft
2 Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team 1m30.664s 0.359 65 C5 Super Soft
3 Valtteri Bottas FIN Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake 1m30.827s 0.522 131 C5 Super Soft
4 Charles Leclerc MON Scuderia Ferrari 1m31.024s 0.719 67 C4 Soft
5 Carlos Sainz ESP Scuderia Ferrari 1m31.036s 0.731 76 C4 Soft
6 Yuki Tsunoda JPN Scuderia AlphaTauri 1m31.261s 0.956 79 C4 Soft
7 Kevin Magnussen DEN MoneyGram Haas F1 Team 1m33.381s 1.076 95 C4 Soft
8 George Russell GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team 1m31.442s 1.137 83 C5 Super Soft
9 Fernando Alonso ESP Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team 1m31.450s 1.145 80 C4 Soft
10 Felipe Drugovich BRA Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team 1m32.075s 1.770 77 C5 Super Soft
11 Lando Norris GBR McLaren F1 Team 1m32.160s 1.855 37 C3 Medium
12 Pierre Gasly FRA BWT Alpine F1 Team 1m32.762s 2.457 56 C3 Medium
13 Alex Albon THA Williams Racing 1m32.793s 2.488 136 C5 Super Soft
14 Esteban Ocon FRA BWT Alpine F1 Team 1m33.257s 2.952 76 C3 Medium
15 Nico Hulkenberg GER MoneyGram Haas F1 Team 1m33.329s 3.024 77 C3 Medium
16 Oscar Piastri AUS McLaren F1 Team 1m33.655s 3.350 44 C3 Medium
17 Nyck de Vries NED Scuderia AlphaTauri 1m38.244s 7.939 8 C3 Medium