Max Verstappen sets pace as F1 preseason testing begins

During the first day of Formula One preseason testing Thursday, Max Verstappen clocked the fastest time at Bahrain International Circuit. The defending champion from the Netherlands lapped the Bahrain International Circuit 0.029 seconds faster than Fernando Alonso. In the Bahrain Grand Prix next week, Verstappen will run 157 laps, much more than any other driver.

In the middle of the day, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said, “We got a lot of mileage and some good feedback.”.

For Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton finished sixth and George Russell finished ninth. Carlos Sainz and Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc finished third and fourth, respectively, just over .4 seconds off Verstappen’s time.

With Alex Albon ranked seventh and Logan Sargeant 10th, Williams looked more competitive than last season.

The session had barely started when Felipe Drugovich ground to a halt on his first run for Aston Martin with what team principal Mike Krack called an “electric glitch.” To prevent other teams from taking notes on Drugovich’s car design, the session was red-flagged and Drugovich’s car was taken away on a truck under cover. The 14th fastest car on the track was returned by him.

The Formula Two champion is stepping in for Lance Stroll after the Canadian injured his wrist while cycling as part of his fitness training. The season begins next week at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

According to Krack, it’s better to wait a bit (on Stroll’s recovery) and be ready next week.

For 2023, there will be three days of preseason testing, with one car per team. This rule is meant to cut costs, but it favors larger teams that can do more advanced analysis off the track, according to Haas driver Kevin Magnussen.

As small teams, we don’t have the same tools as them.



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