Day 3 round-up: All the key quotes from the final day of Bahrain testing

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George Russell drives Mercedes W14. Bahrain testing, February 2023.

George Russell driving the Mercedes W14 in pre-season testing. Bahrain, February 2023.

Bahrain testing is officially complete, with a whopping 3,988 laps of the Bahrain International Circuit completed by the teams with their 2023 cars.

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez topped the times on the final day of running as the Mexican topped off three excellent days for the reigning World Champions, but we will only find out a true competitive order when the cars get going without any restrictions come next weekend.

Here is a look at what each driver had to say after the final day of testing finished in Bahrain.

Red Bull

Sergio Perez: “The last few days have been pretty intense, testing is very short, so it is very important to get the maximum out of it but overall, it worked really well; we got a good understanding of our car. Testing in Bahrain is very difficult because the track is changing every time you go out, the tarmac is very rough and just in general it’s varying conditions. I think we did the most we could today, we did a lot of analysis on set-up and tyre choice. We ran without any big problems, got a lot of laps in, and had good reliability in general. The team back in Milton Keynes have done a tremendous job, we have a good paced car and certainly think we can work on that more. We will only find out next week where we really are in terms of pace because over testing, we don’t get to see the full picture.”

Ferrari

Carlos Sainz: “We finished the test without any issues and completed the full run plan that we had for these three days. So first of all, thank you very much to the entire team here and in Maranello. Today we focused on both short and long runs to finish the assessment of some of the parameters that we wanted to test. Now we will focus on analysing the data, in order to arrive at the first GP of the year as well prepared as possible. I’m looking forward to racing here next week.”

Charles Leclerc: “We have three very intensive days of testing behind us. The first day was all about running big scans and trying to understand how well our data matches what we predicted at the factory. What we learned is that there is quite a good correlation. We focused a lot on set-up work this week and made some good steps forward. I also tried out some different driving styles to test what suits me best in this new car. We’ll be back next week for the opening race of the season and it will be interesting to see where all teams stand in relation to their closest competitors.”

Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton: “It has been an interesting few days here in Bahrain. There has been a lot of discovery and the whole team has approached it with the same mentality, working hard, not being complacent and staying focused. We’re not quite where we want to be but it’s a good platform to start from. We don’t know where we will be next week, but we will stay positive and continue to push to the maximum.”

George Russell: “We had a much more positive day today. We took a step forward and made progress with the issues we faced yesterday. I believe we have improved the car over the course of testing and got the W14 in a much better window today. There is still plenty of work to do but we’re in better shape for next week with more to come.”

Alpine

Esteban Ocon [via Twitter]: “Good work these last few days @AlpineF1Team, Now let’s go racing.”

McLaren

Lando Norris: “A decent three days here in Bahrain. First of all it’s good to be back in a car. Second of all a big improvement from our test last year, getting so many laps under our belt, so the team have done a good job, a big thanks goes to them. We know there’s a few things we still need to improve on, but we’re in a reasonable place heading into race week. We’ve gathered a lot of data, which we’ll be analysing thoroughly ahead of next week. We’ll be working hard to get as much lap time out of the car and look to get the development of the MCL60 underway.”

Oscar Piastri: “Day three done. It wasn’t the smoothest of mornings as we had a few issues with the car. I didn’t get as many laps in as we would have liked. But nonetheless we still got some good running, and I’m still learning all the time, which is good. I think we’re in reasonable shape for next week, some more laps would be lovely but that’s always the case. It’s been a good few days of working with the team, getting the season underway, thanks to them for their support. I feel like we’re in a pretty good spot and I’m looking forward to getting out for my first race next week.”

Alfa Romeo

Valtteri Bottas: “Overall, I am pretty satisfied with how these testing days have gone; the car felt good, and I reckon the feeling in the cockpit improved over the winter. We got plenty of laps in today, despite a technical issue which cost us some time. Thanks to the work of our mechanics, I was able to return to the track rather quickly and complete the whole programme we had set for ourselves for this final day: I am grateful for their effort, as well as for that of everyone back at the factory in Hinwil. I am looking forward to getting back on track in a week and finally get that racing feeling again.”

Aston Martin

Felipe Drugovich: “I have really enjoyed my time behind the wheel of the AMR23 and I think we have made good progress across the three days of running. It was great to get back in the car this morning and I am pleased with the set-up changes that have been made since my first day in the car; the team have done a really good job implementing the feedback Fernando and I have given. It has been a valuable experience to compare my own observations with those of a two-time World Champion. In general, our comments are similar and I think we have worked well together to help the team maximise our three days of pre-season testing. The car feels like a step forward from last year, but we need to remember that all teams will have developed over the winter and so we will continue working hard to maintain this momentum. We are feeling positive, although we will not have a true indication of our relative pace until qualifying next Saturday.”

Fernando Alonso: “It was a good day for us with lots of laps and we have learned a lot about the new car. But it is only testing and we do not know what everyone else is doing so there are still many questions to answer. We have missed having Lance here this week, but I have to say Felipe adapted very well and did a good job. Overall, the car felt competitive across the three days, but we need to compare to the others next week. There is a lot of potential left for us to unlock and I think we are in a decent place heading into next week. Our goal is to make a step forward from last year and we will take things step by step.”

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Haas

Kevin Magnussen: “It’s been a busy three days and that’s a very positive thing. Today we got a lot of laps in, and I was in the car from the beginning to the end – I only came out to go to the toilet! We completed a whole race in one run with live pit stops and going out again, so I’m pretty happy. You come into testing with a plan and you expect to be having to change that plan because of issues but we didn’t really have to. We got through it all, we nearly did 100 laps in one afternoon and that’s usually what you’d expect to do in one day.”

Nico Hulkenberg: “All in all, it’s been good. I’ve got mileage in the car and I think I got what I was personally looking for, to get off on a good foot with the car, and find a good connection and harmony. I feel comfortable that the car does what I say and not the other way around. We’ve collected huge amounts of data that the team will go through and analyze over the next few days, and it’s all information that’s important for a driver as well.”

AlphaTauri

Yuki Tsunoda: “We’ve had a productive three days of testing, where we gathered a lot of good data for the season. Today was my first afternoon session for this test, and I was happy with the quality of my driving during performance runs and my feedback to the team. We found some limitations, but looking deeper into it, I am certain the team and I will be able to improve in these areas to make the performance stronger. We’ll be working to keep this momentum going into next week and I hope we can achieve good results for the coming races. As always, it’s a tight midfield, but it’s difficult to compare ourselves to the other teams without knowing what programmes they were running. I’ll rest up, so that I am able to give 100 per cent for the race next week.”

Nyck de Vries: “Today was the last day of testing and I’m very pleased with how everything went. We completed many laps and were able to tick all the boxes. We learnt a lot about our package throughout the three days of testing, which will help us put everything together for next week. Equally, the midfield is very tight and competitive, so hopefully we can maximise our potential and get a good result for the first race of the season.”

Williams

Alex Albon [speaking to Formula1.com]: “In terms of mileage we’ve had a very good three days. We’ve ticked everything we wanted to tick off, and now it’s more just about crunching through the data and seeing what we’ve got.”