Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2019

Leclerc leads emphatic Ferrari one-two in first practice

2019 Bahrain Grand Prix first practice

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Charles Leclerc set the fastest time in the first practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix, putting his Ferrari almost a second ahead of the closest Mercedes.

Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull all used the soft (C3 compound) tyre to set their quickest times in the first practice session. Track temperatures reached 45C during the first 90 minutes of running, which is significantly hotter than conditions are expected to be for qualifying and the race.

In the scorching track temperatures Sebastian Vettel and Leclerc took it in turns to set the fastest time. Vettel put his SF90 seven-tenths clear of early pace-setter Valtteri Bottas, but Leclerc followed it up with an even quicker time.

The Mercedes pair had to settled for third and fourth, Lewis Hamilton two-tenths of the pace of his championship-leading team mate. The Red Bull pair were next, Max Verstappen lapping within a tenth of a second of Hamilton, and Pierre Gasly close behind.

The usual top six cars were followed by Carlos Sainz Jnr, with a new power unit in his McLaren following the MGU-K failure which halted him in Australia. He was just one-tenth of a second off Gasly, and followed closely by fellow Renault user Nico Hulkenberg.

Two other teams completed the top 10: Daniil Kvyat for Toro Rosso and Kimi Raikkonen in his Alfa Romeo. The latter had problems with traffic during the session, being variously held up by Sainz and Kvyat’s team mate Alexander Albon.

Hulkenberg had an even closer brush with Raikkonen’s team mate in the dying minutes of the session. Antonio Giovinazzi collided with the Renault at turn seven, sending the Alfa Romeo flying briefly into the air.

Daniel Ricciardo narrowly missed a place in the top 10. The quickest Haas was only 12th, courtesy of Kevin Magnussen, after Romain Grosjean damaged his front wing. Sergio Perez led the Racing Points in 14th as team mate Lance Stroll missed a chunk of the session after spinning and grazing a barrier early on.

The Williams pair took up their usual places at the bottom of the times, albeit closer to the midfield than in Australia. George Russell had a quick spin at the end of the session but avoided the barriers.

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Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
116Charles LeclercFerrari1’30.35420
25Sebastian VettelFerrari1’30.6170.26321
377Valtteri BottasMercedes1’31.3280.97426
444Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’31.6011.24723
533Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’31.6731.31921
610Pierre GaslyRed Bull-Honda1’31.8151.46117
755Carlos Sainz JnrMcLaren-Renault1’31.9521.59828
827Nico HulkenbergRenault1’32.0401.68617
926Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Honda1’32.3391.98524
107Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’32.3852.03123
113Daniel RicciardoRenault1’32.4012.04719
1220Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’32.6022.24821
1323Alexander AlbonToro Rosso-Honda1’32.8742.52024
1411Sergio PerezRacing Point-Mercedes1’32.8852.53120
154Lando NorrisMcLaren-Renault1’32.9452.59129
1699Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’32.9492.59522
178Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’32.9942.64022
1818Lance StrollRacing Point-Mercedes1’33.5183.16416
1963George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’34.1883.83426
2088Robert KubicaWilliams-Mercedes1’34.2533.89927

First practice visual gaps

Charles Leclerc – 1’30.354

+0.263 Sebastian Vettel – 1’30.617

+0.974 Valtteri Bottas – 1’31.328

+1.247 Lewis Hamilton – 1’31.601

+1.319 Max Verstappen – 1’31.673

+1.461 Pierre Gasly – 1’31.815

+1.598 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’31.952

+1.686 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’32.040

+1.985 Daniil Kvyat – 1’32.339

+2.031 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’32.385

+2.047 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’32.401

+2.248 Kevin Magnussen – 1’32.602

+2.520 Alexander Albon – 1’32.874

+2.531 Sergio Perez – 1’32.885

+2.591 Lando Norris – 1’32.945

+2.595 Antonio Giovinazzi – 1’32.949

+2.640 Romain Grosjean – 1’32.994

+3.164 Lance Stroll – 1’33.518

+3.834 George Russell – 1’34.188

+3.899 Robert Kubica – 1’34.253

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

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2019 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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16 comments on “Leclerc leads emphatic Ferrari one-two in first practice”

  1. I know, it’s just Free Practice, and a particularly meaningless one due to the climatic conditions. I know that.

    However, I am extremely pleased with the minuscule gap between “[t]he usual top six cars” and the spearhead of the midfield. I hope this becomes a trend.

  2. Quick recap of 2018 best session times.

    FP1: 1:31.060 RIC
    FP2: 1:29.817 RAI
    FP3: 1:29.868 RAI
    Q3: 1:27.958 VET

    1. There is a 3rd drs zone though which is worth a few tenths

    2. Good reference!

  3. Well, well, well, look what we have here. Either Mercedes is really bluffing right now, or Australia really was just a blip for Ferrari.

    1. honestly, Ferrari for past 3 years was poor in Australia and insane in Bahrain.

  4. I know people usually joke about how adding stripes to a car gives it a horsepower boost, but maybe the Mission Winnow logos really do play a role in the performance of the Ferrari!

    I’m eager to see what Kimi can do in FP2 if he’s able to get a clean lap. Top ten with traffic is encouraging… I think Alfa Romeo has a legitimate shot at 4th or 5th in the championship this year if they continue to develop the car (and Antonio).

  5. The Williams pair took up their usual places at the bottom of the times

    God that statement makes me so sad.

  6. Is that track really made of granite? All of them? Any other place using it?

  7. digitalrurouni
    29th March 2019, 13:42

    I bet if Charles lands pole here, we will definitely hear a Vettel saying “we will speak later” on the radio. Still too early to call who will take pole but I think Ferrari have got this. Already quicker lapping that last year in FP1 no?

    1. Leclerc’s time was 0.7s faster than fastest FP1 time last year.

    2. see comment above ⬆️.

  8. Just wanted to say: that angle makes these cars, or certainly the Ferrari, look great!

    1. @bosyber – yeah, the sheer length of these generation of cars is disguised from this angle, and is reminiscent of the cars from a decade or so ago.

  9. Seems Ferrari is working good when it’s hot now lets wait when it’s get cooler.

  10. Still early, but McLaren doesn’t look that bad, while RIC doesn’t look that good compared to Hulk, as some expected.

Comments are closed.