F1 – Hamilton quickest in opening practice for Bahrain Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheet in the opening practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix with the champion-elect finishing half a second ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas as Mercedes dominated proceedings.

The opening phase of the session saw teams testing the 2021-specification Pirelli tyres homologated by the FIA after the test in FP2 at Portimão in Portugal last month but after running quickest on the unmarked test tyres, Hamilton later confirmed his place at the top of the order when he moved to medium tyres. 

The Briton set his fastest lap, a 1:29.033s on the yellow-banded compound, finishing 0.449s ahead of Bottas who also used medium tyres for his best effort. Racing Point’s Sergio Pérez took third place for though the Mexican driver was nine-tenths of a second off the pace set by Hamilton and a step softer on compound. 

Fourth place in the 90-minute session, which was held under uncharacteristically grey skies and following rain in the morning, went to McLaren’s Carlos. The Spaniard’s best lap was 0.985 behind the lead Mercedes leaving him as the last man within a second of the P1 time. 

Pierre Gasly completed the top five with time of 1:30.049, with the AlphaTauri driver finishing more than two tenths clear of Max Verstappen of sister outfit Red Bull Racing. The Dutch driver struggled for balance on the green circuit and had a spin in the final corner as the session edged towards its final third. 

By contrast, Verstappen’s team-mate Alexander Albon seemed to find a groove more quickly and he ended the session in seventh place and just eight thousandths of a second slower than the Dutchman.

Renault’s Esteban Ocon took eighth place ahead of the second Racing Point of Lance Stroll. The Canadian edged Daniel Ricciardo in the second Renault car by just under a tenth of a second. 

Elsewhere, Kimi Räikkönen’s Alfa Romeo was taken over by Robert Kubica with the Polish driver finishing 13th and a tenth of a second ahead of the second Alfa of Antonio Giovinazzi who finished 16th. George Russell’s place at Williams was taken by Roy Nissany who finished in last place three tenths of a second behind regular Williams driver Nicholas Latifi. 

2020 FIA Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix – Free Practice 1
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:29.033 40 218.831
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:29.482 0.449 41 217.733
3 Sergio Pérez Racing Point/Mercedes 1:30.000 0.967 31 216.480
4 Carlos Sainz McLaren/Renault 1:30.018 0.985 31 216.436
5 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri/Honda 1:30.049 1.016 34 216.362
6 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 1:30.294 1.261 18 215.775
7 Alexander Albon Red Bull/Honda 1:30.302 1.269 34 215.756
8 Esteban Ocon Renault 1:30.384 1.351 28 215.560
9 Lance Stroll Racing Point/Mercedes 1:30.426 1.393 30 215.460
10 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:30.508 1.475 30 215.264
11 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:30.589 1.556 29 215.072
12 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:30.628 1.595 24 214.979
13 Robert Kubica Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:30.732 1.699 24 214.733
14 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1:30.832 1.799 28 214.497
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1:30.854 1.821 29 214.445
16 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:30.896 1.863 27 214.346
17 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri/Honda 1:31.020 1.987 37 214.054
18 Lando Norris McLaren/Renault 1:31.392 2.359 27 213.182
19 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 1:32.472 3.439 29 210.692
20 Roy Nissany Williams/Mercedes 1:32.801 3.768 27 209.946

Source : Fia