Max Verstappen set the overall fastest time on the first day of FIA Formula 1 World Championship testing.
Track conditions were hindered at the beginning of the session due to an ongoing sandstorm. However, as the session went on, the sand calmed down.
Verstappen was given the whole day to give his RB16B a push. His fastest time was 1:30.674, set on the medium tyres. His new Red Bull Racing teammate Sergio Pérez gets his chance in the hot seat tomorrow.
McLaren F1 Team continued to impress as the day went on after Daniel Ricciardo topped the morning session. Lando Norris took his turn in the MCL35 in the afternoon session and bettered his teammates morning time. Norris finished second overall with Ricciardo then finishing the day in seventh.
Esteban Ocon was also given all day to put some laps in. Ocon opted to put the softs on towards the end of the session to give himself a push but was unable to take the top spot away from Verstappen coming in third. His Alpine F1 Team teammate Fernando Alonso will be running on track all day tomorrow.
It looked as if Lance Stroll wasn’t going to have the best of sessions after spending majority of the afternoon rock bottom. He pulled out a flying lap towards the end which promoted him to fourth. His Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team teammate Sebastian Vettel ran in the morning and came thirteenth.
New Scuderia Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz Jr. got the better result in the SF21 with his run out in the afternoon. Although he did suffer a spin, he still gained a respectable fifth. Charles Leclerc finished in eleventh overall for the day after causing a red flag in the earlier session with a mechanical issue.
Antonio Giovinazzi was a surprise in the afternoon session, finishing sixth overall putting in an impressive performance in the sand. Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN teammate Kimi Räikkönen ran in the morning session and came twelfth overall.
Another surprise standout of the afternoon session was rookie Yuki Tsunoda. The young Japanese driver came well within the top ten and only half a second off his Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda teammate Pierre Gasly, who ran in the morning. Tsunoda finished a respectable ninth with Gasly just ahead in eighth.
Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team’s woes continued into the afternoon after Valtteri Bottas’morning session was short due to an issue with the transmission. The car needed a gearbox change and Bottas didn’t get out running until the last hour. Lewis Hamilton just couldn’t get the right lap times in and finished in tenth with Bottas bottom of the pack in seventeenth.
Roy Nissany was given the whole day in the Williams Racing to gain experience and collect data for the team. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to get himself in the top ten and finished in fourteenth. Nicholas Latifi will run all day tomorrow with George Russell claiming all day Sunday.
Uralkali Haas F1 Team rookie drivers of Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher did little to impress on their first real testing in a F1 car. They come fifteenth and sixteenth respectively but still have two more days to get in some strong laps.