Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

Perez sets quickest time of test so far in last pre-season run for Red Bull

2021 F1 season

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Sergio Perez completed his pre-season testing for Red Bull by setting the best time on the morning of the final day.

Charles Leclerc set an early best time for Ferrari which stood that would stand throughout the first half of the session, running a 1’30.486 on medium tyres. It was a busy morning for Leclerc, who racked up 80 laps over four hours.

Lando Norris, in his last test session for McLaren before handing over to Daniel Ricciardo this afternoon, set some rapid laps on the harder compounds, his runs mirroring those of Perez. Both used the C2 tyres for their fast runs, the second-hardest available from Pirelli.

Perez’s first bid for the fastest time of the test – a 1’30.177 – was deleted for a track limits breach. He went on to set another fast time, on softer tyres, to finish the session on a 1’30.187, the best of the test so far, a tenth of a second faster than Valtteri Bottas managed yesterday.

George Russell had his first outing in the Williams – Roy Nissany and Nicholas Latifi having driven previously – and got plenty of uninterrupted running in today’s fine conditions. He finished eighth-quickest, well ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Lance Stroll.

The Alfa Romeo and Aston Martin drivers appeared to be focussing on race simulations. The pair logged substantial mileages – Raikkonen covering more than one-and-a-half race distances single-handedly, but were more than five seconds adrift of the fastest times.

The track conditions were considerably better than in previous sessions. The weather was clear, and rubber has built up on the racing line since Friday’s sandstorm. The day began relatively cool, with 20C air temperatures and 24C track temperature, rising to air 24C and 45C respectively by the end of the uninterrupted four-hours of running.

As has been customary during this test a red flag brought proceedings to a close which five minutes left to run, giving drivers an opportunity to perform practice starts.

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Pos.Car numberDriverTeamModelBest timeGapLaps
111Sergio PerezRed BullRB16B1’30.18747
216Charles LeclercFerrariSF211’30.4860.29980
34Lando NorrisMcLarenMCL35M1’30.6610.47456
410Pierre GaslyAlphaTauriAT021’30.8280.64174
531Esteban OconAlpineA5211’31.3101.12361
647Mick SchumacherHaasVF-211’32.0531.86676
777Valtteri BottasMercedesW121’32.4062.21984
863George RussellWilliamsFW43B1’32.7312.54477
97Kimi RaikkonenAlfa RomeoC411’35.2745.08791
1018Lance StrollAston MartinAMR211’36.1005.91380

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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8 comments on “Perez sets quickest time of test so far in last pre-season run for Red Bull”

  1. Judging by today’s long run times, the midfield seems to be even closer than last year. Aston Martin, McLaren, Alpine, Alpha Tauri, Ferrari and now also Alfa Romeo look to be very closely matched.
    While Ferrari looked quick out of the box, the Alfa Romeo was very consistent. Kimi’s middle stint on his race sim today was really impressive. He had almost no degredation durinig his run and that’s on a very abrasive surface. Looks promising for them and might worry the likes of McLaren and Aston Martin.
    It wouldn’t surprise me, if the whole midfield (P5-16) is seperated by 0.2 come qualifying in two weeks time.
    As for the front, it’s gotta be RB vs Mercedes and right now I’d say advantage RB, but who knows?! The Mercs might turn it around when it really matters.
    That means the back will be Williams vs Haas. Given the inexperience of Schumi and Mazepin and almost no development for the car in the last 12 months, I’d put Williams ahead of them.

    1. @srga91 Thanks for comparing the long runs. Sure hope the midfield is even tighter and more numerous than last year.

  2. A track limits breach at T4? Weird if yes, because last year Masi stopped enforcing TL at that corner exit during the first race weekend. Nevertheless, this is the only possible corner as the exits of T10, 13, and 14 (so does 4, albeit a bit further forward) all have a physical deterrent that automatically guarantees a slower time than staying on track, as a result, no TL enforcement at those parts of the circuit at all last year. T2 has grass and gravel close to the curb, while the other turning angles make gaining an advantage via off-track excursion impossible.

    1. Except for some interesting comments in the comment section, I’m not sure what the purpose of laptime deletion is for a test session.

      1. @coldfly Had the same thought. I mean…really? I guess I’d get it if they had a laser eye on whatever constitutes the boundary, but otherwise someone adjudicated that? Surprising. Oh well, I guess even if you’re just playing tennis with a buddy at a local park out of bounds is out of bounds:)

        1. Oh well, I guess even if you’re just playing tennis with a buddy at a local park out of bounds is out of bounds:)

          If I catch the ball, we just play on. Unless if the loser pays the drinks (maybe that’s going on here, albeit non-alcoholic)
          @robbie

      2. @coldfly Same, it’s more than bizarre

  3. Extreme driving style worked just fine for Ayrton Senna why can’t it work for Perez with a faster car.

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