Fans finally caught a glimpse of the 2021 contenders on track ahead of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship, as pre-season testing in Bahrain kicked off this morning.
With testing reduced to three days, the pressure is on for teams to jam their schedules to ensure they gain as much information from this weekend as possible.
The morning session saw gearbox issues for two teams, some off-track moments, and plenty of laps racked up among the teams.
Daniel Ricciardo finished out the morning top of the timesheets in his MCL35M setting the fastest lap of 1m32.203s.
Pierre Gasly, behind the wheel of the AT02, wasn’t far off the Aussie McLaren driver and managed to rack up 74 laps by the end of the morning session.
Max Verstappen spun coming into turn 4 early on in the session, but despite this looked in control of the RB16B this morning. His fastest lap of the morning clocked in at 1m32.565s.
Surprisingly, Mercedes had a number of issues this morning that sent Valtteri Bottas back into the pits after completing just one installation lap.
The team confirmed issues with the gearbox and opted to swap it out in order to save valuable testing time.
With about 15 minutes to go drivers were summoned back to the pits after Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari encountered a suspected power unit issue at turn four.
Leclerc had to park up on the side of the track, bringing about the first and only red flag of the session.
The Monagesque driver finished fifth-fastest, 1.039s off the pace.
Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel donned his new green attire behind the wheel of the AMR21 and put in 51 laps.
Mick Schumacher made his debut in the Haas VF-21, but a gearbox issue saw the 21-year-old complete just 15 laps.
Daniel Ricciardo set the pace for our first morning session of pre-season testing in Bahrain 🇧🇭#F1 #F1Testing pic.twitter.com/OVVGihp6XS
— Formula 1 (@F1) March 12, 2021
Pre-season testing will resume at 11:55 am for the afternoon session.
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