Sergio Perez Leads First Practice in Bahrain
First Practice in Bahrain – Sergio Perez led the opening practice session of the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend, with Fernando Alonso closely following behind in his Aston Martin.
As the 2023 Formula 1 season kicked off, Sergio Perez topped the timesheets in the first practice session of the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend, with Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin following closely behind.
Highlights of the session
- -Sergio Perez was the standout performer, putting in a dominant display during the session.
- -Both Aston Martin drivers, Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll, looked impressive and showed promising pace.
- -Charles Leclerc stood out among those who used medium tyres, putting in the best performance among that group.
- -Carlos Sainz had a big spin during the session, which disrupted his running and potentially affected his performance.
In the First Practice in Bahrain, Sergio Perez stood out as the top performer in the new Red Bull RB19. He took an early lead with his first run on medium tyres and then further strengthened his position by improving his lap time on soft tyres.
Throughout both runs in the session, Sergio Perez was able to outpace his Red Bull teammate and defending champion, Max Verstappen. On soft tyres, Perez was six tenths of a second faster than Verstappen.
With 10 minutes remaining in the session, Fernando Alonso was able to secure second place on the timesheets, ahead of other competitors. However, Sergio Perez still maintained a lead of four tenths of a second over Alonso, despite the impressive showing from the much-anticipated Aston Martin AMR23.
Despite briefly going off track at Turn 1, Lando Norris was able to secure the fourth spot on the timesheets, which somewhat allayed concerns about the early-season performance of McLaren. However, Norris’s lap time was still 1.4 seconds behind Sergio Perez’s leading time.
Among the drivers who did not use soft tyres, Charles Leclerc of Ferrari posted the best performance. In the session, Leclerc initially used a single-pylon rear wing construction that Ferrari had only briefly tested before. However, the wing wobbled significantly in corners, prompting Leclerc to switch to a double-pylon version for his second run.
Charles Leclerc secured the fifth spot on the timesheets with his performance on medium tyres, just a tenth of a second behind Lando Norris. However, his Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz had a difficult session and ended up at the bottom of the standings in 20th place. Sainz’s fresh-tyre run was disrupted by a spectacular 360-degree spin as he turned into the fast Turn 9 left-hander.
Lance Stroll, who had missed the pre-season testing, faced some limitations in the early part of the session due to an “ignition issue”. However, he was able to make up for the lost time and eventually finished the session in sixth place on soft tyres. Despite having screws in his wrist due to an off-season accident that required surgery, Stroll looks set to compete in the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The decision by a significant number of teams not to use soft tyres resulted in a more unclear competitive picture than usual during First Practice in Bahrain. Mercedes, in particular, stood out as an outlier, with both of its drivers finishing in 10th and 11th place on the timesheets, while using medium tyres to set their fastest laps.
The top nine spots on the timesheets were occupied by Sergio Perez, Fernando Alonso, Lando Norris, Lance Stroll, Charles Leclerc, Kevin Magnussen, Zhou Guanyu, Valtteri Bottas, and Nicholas Latifi, respectively. Zhou Guanyu of Alfa Romeo reported a pedal position issue during the session, which the team informed him could only be fixed for FP2.
Lewis Hamilton finished the session in 10th place on the First Practice in Bahrain, posting a lap time that was 2.2 seconds slower than the leading time of Sergio Perez. Hamilton’s second run showed a smaller improvement than what was expected, contributing to his relatively lower position.
First Practice in Bahrain
|Pos||Name||Car||Best Time||Gap Leader|
|1||Sergio Pérez||Red Bull-Honda RBPT||1m32.758s|
|2||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin-Mercedes||1m33.196s||+0.438s|
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull-Honda RBPT||1m33.375s||+0.617s|
|6||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin-Mercedes||1m34.298s||+1.54s|
|8||Guanyu Zhou||Alfa Romeo-Ferrari||1m34.575s||+1.817s|
|9||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo-Ferrari||1m34.689s||+1.931s|
|13||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT||1m35.015s||+2.257s|
|16||Nyck de Vries||AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT||1m35.402s||+2.644s|
|20||Carlos Sainz Jr.||Ferrari||1m36.072s||+3.314s|
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