Red Bull lead first day of testing

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BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 12: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Red Bull Racing RB16B Honda on track during Day One of F1 Testing at Bahrain International Circuit on March 12, 2021 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Joe Portlock/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202103121076 // Usage for editorial use only //

Testing began for the 2021 Formula 1 season with Max Verstappen’s Red Bull on top of the time sheets in Bahrain. 

If you were looking for any insight to how the season may progress, you could say that McLaren had a successful first day with the second quickest time. Will that equate to race wins or podiums? Time will tell but what it does suggest is that with around 100 laps in the bank, the new Mercedes engine is certainly helping them instead of hurting. 

You could also suggest that Mercedes had a bit of a bumpy start with breadbox issues early on for Valtteri Bottas and once that was righted, Lewis Hamilton only added 42 additional laps which was only slightly over 30% of the total laps that Red Bull ran. 

Mercedes is a class operation and I’ve learned to ignore all of their hand-wringing over the years during testing. This year, with just one practice session over this weekend, time is critical and they have a lot of ground to make up. 

  1. Verstapen – Red Bull – 1:30.674 – 138 laps
  2. Norris – McLaren – +0.215s – 45 laps
  3. Ocon – Alpine – + 0.472s – 128 laps
  4. Stroll – Aston Martin – +1.108s – 46 laps
  5. Sainz – Ferrari – +1.245 – 56 laps
  6. Giovinazzi – Alfa Romeo – +1.271s – 68 laps
  7. Ricciardo – McLaren – +1.529s – 45 laps
  8. Gasly – AlphaTauri – +1.557s – 74 laps
  9. Tsunoda – AlphaTauri – +2.053s – 37 laps
  10. Hamilton – Mercedes – +2.238 – 42 laps
  11. Leclerc – Ferrari – +2.568 – 59 laps
  12. Raikkonen – Alfa Romeo – +2.646 – 63 laps
  13. Vettel – Aston Martin – +3.068s – 51 laps
  14. Nissany – Williams – +4.115s – 83 laps
  15. Mazepin – Haas – + 4.124s – 69 laps
  16. Schumacher – Haas – +5.453s – 15 laps
  17. Bottas – Mercedes – +6.176 – 6 laps
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Paul Kiefer

So, it seems that Red Bull is the early favorite in terms of speed and reliability. However, I do have to wonder how much of Merc’s effort is just plain sandbagging.

Randy Greenway

You’re over-thinking it. You can’t pick a favorite after 1.5 days of testing. ‍♂️

peter

Let me see if i have this right… F1 is in trouble getting fans to watch and follow and THERE IS NO TV COVERAGE???

charlie w

F1TV is streaming the pre-season test and Sky Sports F1 are broadcasting it. However, ESPN is covering regional college basketball championships in its run-up to Final Four Selection show on Sunday

charlie w

I take pre-season testing times with a huge grain of salt, no way to determine the season’s or teams’ outcome. However, if I were Ferrari’s manager, I would do everything illegal to make the SF21 the fastest car in the morning session only. It would be a giant psychological mindf**k on the competition expecting a Ferrari revival in 2021 and major talking point for the rest of the test.

Xean Drury

I always compare pre-season to the qualifying of the previous year. Gives you a better gauge. Cars seem to definitely be slower this year though by about a second.