Pre-season Day 1 Report: Verstappen tops the general

Pre-season Day 1 Report: Verstappen tops the general

The first day of pre-season testing at the Bahrain International Circuit has concluded. Let's take a look at the details we've seen so far.

The drivers

These are the drivers that participated in the afternoon session.

Team Driver
Alfa Romeo F1 Team Valtteri Bottas
Aston Martin F1 Team Fernando Alonso
BWT Alpine F1 Team Esteban Ocon
McLaren F1 Team Lando Norris
Mercedes F1 Team Lewis Hamilton
Moneygram Haas F1 Team Kevin Magnussen
Oracle Red Bull Racing Max Verstappen
Scuderia AlphaTauri Nyck de Vries
Scuderia Ferrari Charles Leclerc
Williams Racing Logan Sargeant

The leaderboard

Max Verstappen led the day with Red Bull. The Dutch driver managed 157 laps, as he drove both the morning and afternoon sessions. His fastest lap: 1:32.837s with the medium tire compound.

Behind him, Fernando Alonso with Aston Martin, managing a laptime only 0.029s slower than Verstappen and with the same compound. The Spaniard was faster in the third sector. He drove the afternoon session. If you remember, Lance Stroll won't take part in pre-season testing as he suffered an accident while training, so he was replaced in the morning by Drugovich.

Carlos Sainz finished  3rd overall on the day. You can read more about his performance here.

What we've seen

  • As we noted earlier today, fans were surprised to see a "dimple" form on the Ferrari's nose at high speeds, returning to its normal shape under braking. A later comment from the team addressed the matter, stating that it was "not intentional."
  • The Scuderia did some significant work on the rear end of the SF-23 during the afternoon session. Alfa Romeo, at the same time, had the screens covering their garage, with Bottas staying off the track for a significant amount of time.
  • Aston Martin continued to tweak their machinery, with Alonso only completing two laps before going back to the pits.
  • Alpine struggled with wobbly mirrors. If you didn't know, the wing mirrors have changed this year to improve visibility. The team applied a quick fix with tape.

What they're saying

  • Toto Wolff, Mercedes Team Principal: "It [the car] seems to be balanced in the right way. There's no bouncing, which is good news apart from the big bump at the end of the straight."
  • Felipe Drugovich, Aston Martin: "Very happy. We got through the whole program. Everything went very smoothly, the car is working fine. We still got a few fast runs at the end which was very enjoyable for me. I'm very happy with it and very happy that I got the call up to be here today. "
  • Pierre Gasly, on his move to Alpine: "It's a new challenge, a new project with Alpine, so quite a lot of new information to gather. It's been a long winter, three months felt long but yeah, I'm hugely excited for what's coming. I felt comfortable, I could spot straight away what sort of direction I want to take with car balance."
  • Christian Horner, Red Bull Team Principal: "[The car] is an evolution of the RB18, the RB19 is adapting to these new regulations, I think the team has done a great job over the winter. There are some interesting concepts, that's part of the fascination of Formula 1, all these brilliant engineers coming up with their own innovations. I had a brief chat with [Max Verstappen] at lunchtime, he's already into the detail, and there are no fundamental issues with the car."
  • Franz Tost, AlphaTauri Team Principal: "So far the feedback from both drivers is very positive about the car. The ninth place [last season] was a big shock for us, it was a wake-up call for everyone in the company. Everyone pushed very hard and we came up with good results. [With] the weight of the car, we made big progress there. And the car is much more stable through the corners, we didn't have problems with the porpoising so far."
  • Dan Fallows, Aston Martin Technical Director on Red Bull's aero penalty: "They are clearly in a very strong position going into this year. I think that kind of restriction with your wind tunnel hours, you even get it as you go up the grid, that does hurt, and I think that restriction will hurt them to some extent. But I think they have a great deal of strength in depth, and they have a lot of experience of this rule set. I'm fairly confident they'll minimize the impact of that penalty."  

The takeaways

  • Max Verstappen completed the most laps today - 157. The second driver with the most laps is Nyck de Vries, with 85, followed by Lewis Hamilton with 83.
  • Lando Norris and Felipe Drugovich have done the least amount of laps - 40.

Technical analysis of what we've seen in the first day of pre-season testing is coming soon, so stay tuned.

Written by Luciano Calamante.