Formula 1 is back: What we saw on Friday in Bahrain
As the lights went green for the first time this season, the teams did not waste no time and hit the track immediately. Especially in the first minutes, some outfits still kept gathering data using the flow viz paint and the pitot tubes.
Ferrari had a particular running program, as Charles Leclerc used a high downforce wing at the start of the session to compare it to the one used by Carlos Sainz, which was the same fitted on the car during testing. However, the team had to change it almost immediately since it was shaking a lot.
Red Bull and Aston Martin hit the ground running immediately, setting the fastest times of the session with Sergio Perez (P1), Fernando Alonso (P2), and Max Verstappen (P3). Aston showed once again its potential even after testing as both Alonso and Lance Stroll, who was back in the car for the first time after his incident, felt comfortable and went quick with the new car.
Sainz had a scary moment approaching turn 10 as his SF23 spun. Luckily for him, there was enough run off area, and he did not crash.
During the second session of free practice, which was run under the artificial lights of the track, the teams focused on flying laps to get an idea of their performance during qualifying. Alonso was fastest, ahead of Verstappen and Perez.
In the second part of the session, it was time for the race pace simulations, with Aston Martin and Red Bull showing great pace once again. Alonso seems to have the pace to get another win in his incredible career.
Written by Davide Bini.