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Leclerc secured the fastest time in the morning session



Leclerc secured the fastest time in the morning session

Charles Leclerc set the fastest time of testing on the C4 tyre, leading the morning session, with Russell and Drugovich following closely behind on their C5 sets and securing second and third place, respectively.

At the midway point of Formula 1’s exclusive pre-season test for 2023 held in Bahrain, Charles Leclerc was leading George Russell, while McLaren and Alfa Romeo encountered problems.

Despite the high temperature, Mercedes and Ferrari managed to conduct soft tire runs during the first two hours of the third day of testing.

Leclerc recorded the quickest time of 1m31.024s on C4 tires, which was just half a second slower than his pole position time from 2022 on C3 tires, set in cooler nighttime conditions.

Using the softer C5 tires for his quickest lap, George Russell trailed Charles Leclerc by a margin of 0.418s. Felipe Drugovich, the reserve driver for Aston Martin, finished third and may potentially make his F1 debut next week in place of the injured Lance Stroll.

Drugovich was 1.051s behind Leclerc, with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez finishing fourth with his best lap on C3 tires. Perez’s RB19 caused the day’s first red flag, as an aero sensor dislodged from the car and required clearance by the marshals.

Max Verstappen, the reigning two-time F1 champion, completed his running on Friday evening, which means that Sergio Perez will be driving the Red Bull throughout Saturday. Pierre Gasly from Alpine finished fifth, with former Red Bull driver Alex Albon from Williams following in sixth.


Nico Hulkenberg set the seventh quickest time for Haas, whose reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi believes the team currently ranks between “fifth and seventh” in the pecking order for this year.

McLaren faced more issues during the test, with Oscar Piastri encountering brake cooling problems similar to Lando Norris’ on the first day. Piastri’s MCL60 spent a considerable amount of time in the garage, with McLaren mechanics attending to the brakes.

This limited Piastri’s running to just 44 laps, and he finished eighth on the timesheet, 2.631s behind the top-placed Leclerc.

With just over an hour of running remaining, Valtteri Bottas had to bring his new Alfa Romeo to a stop at Turn 8, causing the second red flag of the day (outside of the FIA’s test procedures). Prior to the stoppage, Bottas had completed 72 laps, but he did not run thereafter.

However, he is expected to remain in the car for the final half of the day, along with Albon and Perez.

Nyck de Vries finished in 10th place, recording the slowest time on the timesheet. The AlphaTauri driver primarily focused on long runs, completing a total of 87 laps, more than any other driver in the test. De Vries is a rookie for the 2023 season.

Here are the results for the third day of testing.

3DrugovichAston Martin1m32.075sC577
4PerezRed Bull1m32.459sC369
9BottasAlfa Romeo1m36.854sC372
10De VriesAlphaTauri1m38.244sC387

Morning lap totals

1De VriesAlphaTauri87
3=DrugovichAston Martin77
5BottasAlfa Romeo72
6PerezRed Bull69

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