F1 Testing: See how Day 1 unfolded in Bahrain

Mercedes and Red Bull in action. Bahrain March 2022

Mercedes and Red Bull in action in Sakhir. Bahrain March 2022

Formula 1 is officially back! See how the first day of F1 Testing unfolded at the Bahrain International Circuit.

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Main headlines: Mercedes unveil a sidepod-less W13,Leclerc topped Day 1 morning session, early end as Perez became beached in the gravel trap, Gasly topped Day 1 overall

Day One timesheet

1 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 1:33.902 C4 103
2 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:34.359 C3 52
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:34.531 C3 64
4 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:34.736 C4 50
5 Alex Albon Williams 1:35.070 C4 104
6 Lando Norris McLaren 1:35.356 C2 50
7 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 1:35.495 C3 66
8 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 1:35.706 C3 39
9 George Russell Mercedes 1:35.941 C3 60
10 Sergio Perez Red Bull 1:35.977 C2 138
11 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:36.365 C3 62
12 Fernando Alonso Alpine 1:36.745 C3 24
13 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:36.768 C2 42
14 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo 1:37.164 C3 54
15 Pietro Fittipaldi Haas 1:37.422 C2 47


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Live updates (local time):

1857: And that’s that. Perez’s spin is the last action we will see today. Pierre Gasly ends the day top of the timesheet while the Ferraris are close behind. Perez completed the most laps at 138. Thanks for following along today and be sure to check back at planetf1.com for all the action from day two.

1853: Perez did get back out but has now caused a red flag after what seemed an innocuous spin on Turn 8. The Mexican slowly rolled back but was unaware there was a gravel trap behind him and now finds himself beached.

1848: Red Bull and Sergio Perez’s day looks to be done as the car is leaking.

1840: Norris is back on track and moves into sixth.

1832: Sky are reporting that Red Bull are preparing for one final speed run before the end of the session.

1830: Gasly has moved to the top of the timesheet with a time of 1m34.010s.

1818: After a frantic few weeks, Haas will be happy to see their car on the track and the focus back on driving. Earlier we heard from the returning Kevin Magnussen who said that even as he travelled to Bahrain, he was not completely sure his return to the Haas team would actually go ahead.

1810: Carlos Sainz moves up to second behind his team-mate which makes for nice reading if you are a Ferrari fan. Behind those, Gasly is in third.

1805: As cars quicken, we are seeing more of the porpoising effect on display in Barcelona last week. Pierre Gasly in the AlphaTauri seems to be particularly struggling.

1800: The sun has set as we head into the final hour of today’s practice. Charles Leclerc’s 1.34.531 continues to top the timesheet.

Leclerc, Ferrari, 1m34.531s, C3 – 64 laps
Albon, Williams, 1m35.070s, C4 – 104
Stroll, Aston Martin, 1m35.219s, C4 – 33
Bottas, Alfa Romeo, 1m35.495s, C3 – 48
Gasly, AlphaTauri, 1m35.515s, C3 – 82
Vettel, Aston Martin, 1m35.706s, C3 – 39
Sainz, Ferrari – 1m35.800s, C2 – 37
Norris, McLaren, 1m35.946s, C2 – 40
Perez, Red Bull, 1m35.977s, C2 – 131
Russell, Mercedes, 1m36.030ss, C3 – 42
Hamilton, Mercedes, 1m36.365s, C3 – 62
Ocon, Alpine, 1m36.768s, C2 – 42
Zhou, Alfa Romeo, 1m37.164s, C3 – 54
Fittipaldi, Haas, 1m39.269s, C2 prototype – 29
Alonso, Alpine, 1m39.437s, C2 – 13

1752: Despite driving in both sessions due to Ricciardo’s illness, Lando Norris has only completed 40 laps today. For comparison, Bottas, who has only driven in the afternoon session, has completed 47.

1750: For all the talk of Mercedes’ sidepods and the perceived advantage it could give them, that has yet to translate onto the track. Lewis Hamilton, who drove this morning set the 11th quickest time of the day while his new team-mate George Russell is in 10th.

1747: A few cars having issues with locking up here as Russell is the latest to run off the track.

1741: Problems at Williams as Alex Albon returns to the pits complaining of steering issues.

1733: George Russell moves up to seventh, 1.499 seconds off the leader.

1722: Fittipaldi is back on track in the Haas while the Ferrari is having some work done to its floor in the garage.

1716: According to Sky Sports F1’s Ted Kravitz, there is a supposed sandstorm forecast for tomorrow which will make proceedings in the second day interesting.

1713: The drivers (sans Ricciardo) for the 2022 season.

1708: Bottas has moved up to third and is 0.964 seconds off the leader Leclerc. The sun is setting in Bahrain and the track is cooling close to something near optimal race temperature so expect to see the lap times quicken from now on.

1700: We are at the halfway stage of this afternoon session and Leclerc continues to top the timesheet. Here’s the running in full:

1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1.34.531 C3 64
2 Alex Albon Williams 1.35.070 C4 83
3 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 1.35.706 C3 39
4 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 1.35.819 C3 63
5 Sergio Perez Red Bull 1.36.247 C2 118
6 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1.36.076 C2 18
7 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 1.36.279 C3 29
8 Lando Norris McLaren 1.36.360 C2 33
9 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1.36.365 C3 62
10 George Russell Mercedes 1.46.553 C3 18
11 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1.36.768 C2 42
12 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo 1.37.164 C3 54
13 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1.37.861 C2 17
14 Fernando Alonso Alpine 1.39.437 C2 13
15 Pietro Fittipaldi Haas 1.41.574 C2 17

1654: Not too many laps for the Haas yet with Fittipaldi currently in the garage having completed seven.

1638: Plenty of cars out on track now but none of come close to Leclerc’s time from earlier as of yet.

1619: Sainz too appears to be having troubles with bouncing as his car sparks from its rear.

1606: George Russell is out in the Mercedes but he is having a bumpy ride with the W13 bouncing considerably down the track.

1600: Here are the times after the first hour:

Leclerc, Ferrari, 1m34.531s, C3 – 64 laps
Albon, Williams, 1m35.070s, C4 – 58
Vettel, Aston Martin, 1m35.706s, C3 – 39
Perez, Red Bull, 1m36.247s, C2 – 86
Hamilton, Mercedes, 1m36.365s, C3 – 62
Ocon, Alpine, 1m36.768s, C2 – 42
Zhou, Alfa Romeo, 1m38.164s, C3 – 53
Norris, McLaren, 1m37.580s, C2 – 30
Bottas, Alfa Romeo, 1m37.668s, C3 – 11
Gasly, AlphaTauri, 1m37.888s, C2 – 44
Sainz, Ferrari – 1m39.692s, C4 – 6
Alonso, Alpine, 1m40.449s, C2 – 10
Fittipaldi, Haas, 1m41.750s, C2 – 7
Stroll, Aston Martin, 1m42.482, C3 – 4

1556: Away from the track, the talk of the morning was Red Bull boss Christian Horner’s complaints over the Mercedes’ side pods but his driver Max Verstappen seems to be less fazed.

“We can only focus on ourselves,” the reigning F1 world champion said in the lunchtime press conference. “I said this so many times last year and that’s what we’ve got to do again this year.

“Even if the car looks different, there are so many unknown things still that we need to learn about. So I’m not worried at all.”

1552: The red flag is over and it is Carlos Sainz of Ferrari first back out on track.

1543: And that brings a red flag as stewards work on sweeping up the debris left out on track.

1542: Appears to be something wrong with Stroll’s car and it’s the aero rake which has got caught up in both rear wheels. A piece of his car remains on the track while he is wheeled back into the garage.

1533: Here’s Fittipaldi heading out for the first time a little earlier:

1525: As Sergio Perez takes to the track, Kevin Magnussen has been speaking to Sky Sport F1. Most interestingly, he said even as he flew to Bahrain, he was not sure if he would be driving in F1 this season.

1520: Valtteri Bottas is now out on track meanwhile Red Bull and Ferrari have removed the screens from their garages, suggesting the teams’ cars will be heading out soon.

1512: Lando Norris is back on track having replaced Daniel Ricciardo for McLaren in the morning session after the Australian reported sick.

1509: And off he goes, becoming the first car out on track for this afternoon session.

1507: Teams are taking their time before heading to the track but it is good news for Haas as Pietro Fittipaldi is in the car and ready to go.

1500: Hello and welcome back to Bahrain for the afternoon session. Track time is from 1500 local time to 1900.

1400: That’s the first morning session in the book! A pretty low-key start to proceedings on the track but off the track, there has been some classic F1 drama. Mercedes caused quite the stir when they unveiled a W13 with no sidepods and there was confusion over who said what to whom from the Red Bull camp.

Join us again in precisely one hour for the afternoon session. For now, it’s dinner time.

1355: Track is green again for the final five minutes. Speaking of green, Sergio Perez has re-emerged with plenty of flow-vis paint plastered on his RB18.

1350: There is a Virtual Safety Car in effect at the moment but stand down…there’s no drama on the track. It’s purely for testing purposes as we approach the lunch break.

1345: Albon finds further improvement on the C4 tyres and closes to within 0.539 seconds of Leclerc, setting the fastest first sector of anyone so far today.

1340: Just 21 laps on the board this morning for Lando Norris and the McLaren MCL35m is undergoing another set-up change in the garage with a lot of focus around the brakes.

1330: Some life on the timesheet as Alex Albon shoots up to P2 on the standings, 0.686 seconds behind Leclerc. That lap was set on the C4 tyre.

1315: Christian Horner to Sky F1: “I was slightly surprised to be reading comments I’m supposed to have been making, but there we go.

“I haven’t paid a great deal of attention to [the Mercedes]. It’s obviously a fairly different concept, but that’s for the designer guys and aerodynamicists to get into.”

Asked about a potential protest, Horner added: “Let the guys digest it and understand it.”

1305: Here’s the full story on the confusion over Christian Horner’s comments about the Mercedes W13.

1300: One hour left in this morning session. Here’s an updated timesheet for you to peruse.

1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1.34.531 C3
2 Sergio Perez Red Bull 1.36.247 C2
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1.36.365 C3
4 Alex Albon Williams 1.36.578 C3
5 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 1.36.637 C2
6 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1.36.768 C2
7 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo 1.37.164 C3
8 Lando Norris McLaren 1.37.580 C4
9 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 1.39.720 C2

1250: Martin Brundle has just been watching trackside at Turn 2 and witnessed that nobody is “pushing that hard” during this morning session and that is certainly reflected in the times. There has been some slight movement though, with Perez up to P2.

1240: There is quite the mess unfolding in the paddock. It appears Christian Horner’s comments to Auto Motor und Sport about the Mercedes W13 being “illegal” and “in violation of the spirit of the regulations” are, in fact, true, despite Red Bull’s best efforts to say otherwise.

1230: Ross Brawn: “There is no doubt that the Mercedes concept is something we didn’t anticipate. It’s a very extreme interpretation of the regulations and inevitably there is going to be a lot of debate.”

1220: Reason 596848393 to love Sebastian Vettel.

1215: Guanyu Zhou has come to a stop at the start of the pit lane with no immediate and obvious reason as to why. Some of the Alfa Romeo team are getting an extra work-out as they run up to collect their car.

1210: Pace-setter Charles Leclerc has suffered a lock-up at Turn 1 but he is able to avoid running straight into the barriers and continues on his merry way. We’re just past the halfway mark of the first morning session.

1200: Meanwhile, the Red Bull are trying to stop the spread of some fake news…

1158: For some context, we are still way, way off the pace overall. Max Verstappen posted a 1:28.960 during testing at Bahrain in 2021.

1155: Hamilton is back out on track and is up to P2, but a distant 1.8 seconds down on Leclerc who has now set a new benchmark of a 1:34.531.

1145: It’s nice to see K-Mag back, isn’t it? He is set to be in the Haas car on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.

1130: Some more movement on the leaderboard on what has been a very gentle opening 90 minutes in Bahrain, where the sun continues to beat down and the wind continues to whistle. Sergio Perez and Sebastian Vettel have both closed to within six tenths off Leclerc, and Williams’ new recruit Alex Albon has leapfrogged Ocon into P4.

1120: Alpine’s Esteban Ocon has joined the timing part and plonks himself P2 on his first timed run. He is 1.8 seconds off Leclerc’s early opening time, though.

1110: Lewis Hamilton’s running has been ever so slightly interrupted. Mercedes had taped up the cooling gills which have replaced those traditional sidepods, but said tape was flapping away as Hamilton put pedal to the metal. A quick patch up is needed.

1100: If everyone can peel their eyes away from Mercedes for just a second, Haas have unveiled in their new livery following the split with title sponsors Uralkali.

1049: It begins… Red Bull boss Christian Horner via Auto Motor und Sport: “The new Mercedes violates the spirit of the regulations. For us, there are some parts that are not legal.”

1035: Just six times on the board so far. Charles Leclerc leads the way with a 1:35.953, then follows Seb Vettel with a 1:37.945. Perez (1:37.950), Zhou (1:39.290), Hamilton (1:40.605) and Gasly (1:43.070) complete the early list. Lots of focus on aero so far.

1030: More shots of the radical W13. The rumours were true…

1015: We’re seeing that dastardly porpoising effect in action again in the opening stages. On-board footage from the W13 shows the car bouncing up and down as Hamilton works his way up to high speeds. That must feel very unpleasant in the car. Pass us the sick bag…

1005: It is very blustery in Bahrain and it’s already caught a couple of drivers out, namely Hamilton and Vettel, at Turn 10. No major dramas though at the moment.

1000: We’re underway at a sunny Bahrain International Circuit. Lewis Hamilton in his zero-pod W13 is amongst the early starters. Lots of aero rakes bolted on.

0955: Daniel Ricciardo was supposed to be in the McLaren to begin with today, but he is unfortunately unwell. Lando Norris will cover the morning session at the very least. Get well soon Danny Ric!

0950: Whilst everyone continues to gawp at the Mercedes car, here’s the driver line-up for the opening day.

Mercedes – Lewis Hamilton [AM], George Russell [PM]
Red Bull – Sergio Perez
Ferrari – Charles Leclerc [AM], Carlos Sainz [PM]
McLaren – Lando Norris
AlphaTauri – Pierre Gasly
Alpine – Esteban Ocon [AM], Fernando Alonso [PM]
Aston Martin – Sebastian Vettel [AM], Lance Stroll [PM]
Williams – Alexander Albon
Alfa Romeo – Guanyu Zhou [AM], Valtteri Bottas [PM]
Haas – Pietro Fittipaldi

0945: Not for the first time, and probably not for the last, Mercedes are the talk of the paddock just ahead of lights out. The rumours of a sidepod-less W13 are true. Gulp.

0930: Hello and welcome to the official, not that unofficial stuff we saw bits of in February, pre-season test in Bahrain! We have three glorious days of testing coming our way, with the morning session starting at 1000 local time and running for four hours and the evening session starting at 1500 local time and running for another four hours. Get yourself comfy and keep our tab open and well hidden from your bosses, ok?