Grand Prix practice results: Verstappen tops Bahrain F1 sessions

Max Verstappen set the fastest time on the opening day of Bahrain Grand Prix practice at Sakhir for Red Bull Racing on Friday, the first race weekend track running for the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship season.

Grand Prix practice results: Verstappen tops Bahrain F1 sessions

Both Friday practice sessions have been cut to one hour in 2021, instead of the usual 90 minutes each. Alpine’s returning two-time world champion Fernando Alonso was the first car out on track to set a laptime in FP1, which was topped by Verstappen, and the Dutchman then repeated the feat in FP2. 

Bahrain Grand Prix FP1 results: Verstappen fastest from Bottas

Cla Driver Chassis Time Gap
1 Netherlands Max Verstappen
Red Bull 1'31.394
2 Finland Valtteri Bottas
Mercedes 1'31.692 0.298
3 United Kingdom Lando Norris
McLaren 1'31.897 0.503
4 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes 1'31.921 0.527
5 Monaco Charles Leclerc
Ferrari 1'31.993 0.599
6 Mexico Sergio Perez
Red Bull 1'32.071 0.677
7 France Pierre Gasly
AlphaTauri 1'32.195 0.801
8 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr.
Ferrari 1'32.366 0.972
9 Australia Daniel Ricciardo
McLaren 1'32.434 1.040
10 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi
Alfa Romeo 1'32.786 1.392
11 Finland Kimi Raikkonen
Alfa Romeo 1'33.134 1.740
12 Germany Sebastian Vettel
Aston Martin 1'33.157 1.763
13 Canada Lance Stroll
Aston Martin 1'33.233 1.839
14 Japan Yuki Tsunoda
AlphaTauri 1'33.329 1.935
15 France Esteban Ocon
Alpine 1'33.528 2.134
16 Spain Fernando Alonso
Alpine 1'33.872 2.478
17 United Kingdom George Russell
Williams 1'34.127 2.733
18 Canada Nicholas Latifi
Williams 1'34.340 2.946
19 Germany Mick Schumacher
Haas 1'34.501 3.107
20 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin
Haas 1'34.975 3.581

What happened in Free Practice 1?

FP1 started well for McLaren, which held an early 1-2 with Lando Norris and new signing Daniel Ricciardo. Red Bull’s Sergio Perez took over at the top for a moment, before Lewis Hamilton went fastest on 1m32.844s.

His teammate Valtteri Bottas went to P1 briefly, before Max Verstappen rose to the head of the times. Hamilton pushed again on the same set of soft tyres and lowered the bar to 1m32.214s.

Just after the halfway mark, Norris jumped to the top of the times on 1m31.897s – three tenths faster than Hamilton. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) and Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) vaulted to second and third, ahead of Hamilton.

In the closing 10 minutes of the session, Bottas improved to P1 on 1m31.692s, as Hamilton suffered a scruffy end to his lap and couldn’t even match Norris.

Verstappen then laid down the gauntlet with a lap of 1m31.394s, setting fastest overall sectors for the first two-thirds of the circuit – even getting a tow from an Alfa as he opened his run.

Bottas stayed second by 0.298s, ahead of Norris and Hamilton. Leclerc was fifth, from Perez, Gasly, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, Ricciardo and Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi.

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Bahrain Grand Prix FP2 results: Verstappen fastest from Norris

Cla Driver Chassis Time Gap
1 Netherlands Max Verstappen
Red Bull 1'30.847
2 United Kingdom Lando Norris
McLaren 1'30.942 0.095
3 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes 1'31.082 0.235
4 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr.
Ferrari 1'31.127 0.280
5 Finland Valtteri Bottas
Mercedes 1'31.218 0.371
6 Australia Daniel Ricciardo
McLaren 1'31.230 0.383
7 Japan Yuki Tsunoda
AlphaTauri 1'31.294 0.447
8 Canada Lance Stroll
Aston Martin 1'31.393 0.546
9 France Pierre Gasly
AlphaTauri 1'31.483 0.636
10 Mexico Sergio Perez
Red Bull 1'31.503 0.656
11 France Esteban Ocon
Alpine 1'31.601 0.754
12 Monaco Charles Leclerc
Ferrari 1'31.612 0.765
13 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi
Alfa Romeo 1'31.740 0.893
14 Germany Sebastian Vettel
Aston Martin 1'31.769 0.922
15 Spain Fernando Alonso
Alpine 1'31.770 0.923
16 Finland Kimi Raikkonen
Alfa Romeo 1'31.862 1.015
17 United Kingdom George Russell
Williams 1'32.331 1.484
18 Germany Mick Schumacher
Haas 1'33.297 2.450
19 Canada Nicholas Latifi
Williams 1'33.400 2.553
20 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin
Haas 1'33.449 2.602

What happened in Free Practice 2?

In FP2, the medium tyres were used by the majority of teams at the start, with Verstappen setting the early pace at 1m31.842s – as both Mercedes drivers had their first flying lap times deleted for exceeding track limits at Turn 4.

At his second attempt, Bottas beat that by 0.339s to take over the top spot after 10 minutes, before Hamilton produced 1m31.261s to grab P1.

Kimi Raikkonen suffered a half spin at Turn 2, swiping the front wing from his Alfa Romeo against the barriers.

As teams switched to soft tyres and lower fuel in the middle of the session, Hamilton lowered his fastest time to 1m31.082s despite a poor first sector, with Sainz only 0.045s slower. Norris went quickest on 1m30.942s, shortly before Verstappen took P1 away for good with 1m30.847s.

Verstappen ended his session with a new-medium-tyred long run along with the majority of the others. That meant the order stayed static over the last 20 minutes, in the order Verstappen, Norris, Hamilton, Sainz and Bottas. Ricciardo was sixth, ahead of leading rookie Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri), Lance Stroll (Aston Martin), Gasly and Perez.

Alonso could only manage 16th and 15th places across the two sessions on his return.

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Series Formula 1
Event Bahrain GP
Author Charles Bradley
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