Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, Bahrain International Circuit, 2022

Gasly quickest ahead of Ferraris as Formula 1 returns in Bahrain

2022 Bahrain Grand Prix first practice

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Pierre Gasly took the honours as the first driver to go quickest in an official session in 2022 during first practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The AlphaTauri driver used the soft drivers to set the fastest time of a 1’34.193, three tenths quicker than the two Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jnr.

George Russell went fourth fastest in the Mercedes, with world champion Max Verstappen fifth fastest on the medium tyres.

The official start of the 2022 Formula 1 season began in windy but warm conditions in the early evening light around the Bahrain International Circuit. It did not take long before some drivers hit trouble, as Valtteri Bottas reported a misfire in his Alfa Romeo on his installation lap, which ultimately side-lined him for the full hour of running.

Less than ten minutes into the session, the red flags were flown for the first time when the sidepod on Esteban Ocon’s Alpine suddenly exploded on the right side over the start-finish line, showering carbon fibre across the grid and leaving a large hole on the A522.

After a lengthy delay, the session restarted, but Russell added further debris on the main straight when his Mercedes W13 ejected a piece of carbon fibre on the run to the first corner.

Leclerc spun his Ferrari F1-75 exiting turn 11 as he put the power down for the uphill kink, but he was able to recover the car and continue with

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2022
Gallery: 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix practice in pictures
Sainz Jnr caused a scare at the final corner, when he slowed down to prepare for a hot lap and got in the way of both Yuki Tsunoda and Max Verstappen, who were both finishing their hot laps.

Max Verstappen set the early pace on the medium tyres, but Gasly used the soft compound to help set the quickest time of the session, three tenths faster than Leclerc and Sainz in the Ferraris, who also did not run on the soft tyres.

Russell went fourth fastest for Mercedes ahead of team mate Lewis Hamilton in seventh as both got to grips with the soft tyres. Lance Stroll posted the sixth fastest time in the Aston Martin, while Fernando Alonso, Yuki Tsunoda and Sergio Perez rounded out the top ten.

Rookie Zhou Guanyu posted the 11th quickest time after 20 laps around the circuit, while the returning Nico Hulkenberg went 14th fastest in his very first time behind the wheel of the Aston Martin AMR22, one second off his team mate.

The two McLarens of Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo could only manage 16th and 17th, respectively, while Haas were the slowest of all who set times during the first hour of running for the weekend, with Mick Schumacher almost three tenths faster than new team mate Kevin Magnussen.

2022 Bahrain Grand Prix first practice result

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
110Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Red Bull1’34.19323
216Charles LeclercFerrari1’34.5570.36422
355Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari1’34.6110.41823
463George RussellMercedes1’34.6290.43623
51Max VerstappenRed Bull1’34.7420.54922
618Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1’34.8140.62122
744Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’34.9430.75017
814Fernando AlonsoAlpine-Renault1’35.0000.80714
922Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Red Bull1’35.0280.83520
1011Sergio PerezRed Bull1’35.0500.85723
1124Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’35.0530.86020
1231Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1’35.1510.95815
136Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’35.6441.45115
1427Nico HulkenbergAston Martin-Mercedes1’35.8151.62223
1523Alexander AlbonWilliams-Mercedes1’35.9231.73017
164Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1’36.3042.11122
173Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-Mercedes1’36.4022.20920
1847Mick SchumacherHaas-Ferrari1’36.5362.34323
1920Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’36.8042.61121

First practice visual gaps

Pierre Gasly – 1’34.193

+0.364 Charles Leclerc – 1’34.557

+0.418 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’34.611

+0.436 George Russell – 1’34.629

+0.549 Max Verstappen – 1’34.742

+0.621 Lance Stroll – 1’34.814

+0.750 Lewis Hamilton – 1’34.943

+0.807 Fernando Alonso – 1’35.000

+0.835 Yuki Tsunoda – 1’35.028

+0.857 Sergio Perez – 1’35.050

+0.860 Zhou Guanyu – 1’35.053

+0.958 Esteban Ocon – 1’35.151

+1.451 Nicholas Latifi – 1’35.644

+1.622 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’35.815

+1.730 Alexander Albon – 1’35.923

+2.111 Lando Norris – 1’36.304

+2.209 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’36.402

+2.343 Mick Schumacher – 1’36.536

+2.611 Kevin Magnussen – 1’36.804

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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21 comments on “Gasly quickest ahead of Ferraris as Formula 1 returns in Bahrain”

  1. Didn’t really tell us anything… All of the top 10 on the final day of pre-season testing in Bahrain put in faster laps than Gasly. We don’t know how hard each were pushing so we’re still in the dark until tomorrow afternoon.

    1. Pirelli brought the hardest tires though

    2. @petebaldwin Track temperatures have a huge effect on the laptimes. Also, don’t forget that during wintertests, the drivers were allowed to use the C5-tyres.

    3. @petebaldwin The 2021 qualifying lap time was slower than the fastest lap in pre season. And that was with a step softer tyres for the race. I expect around a low to mid 1:32 for pole.

      1. Yeah fair point – would t expect them to necessarily match their times in testing but they can go a hell of a lot faster than they have now. I don’t think it tells us anything about their pace other than who is going to be near the back and who is going to be near the front.

    4. RocketTankski
      18th March 2022, 13:49

      Ah, but Gasly “used the soft drivers”. He’s ruthless out there.

      1. Poor Yuki!

  2. That was a seriously impressive lap from Gasly. Red Bull and Ferrari seem to be the top 2 as expected, it is close between them keeping in mind Max’s time was set very early in the session. Hopefully FP2 will give some definite answers, as FP1 raised more questions than answers if anything. Alpha Tauri and Aston Martin look better than expected, while Haas and McLaren look worse (although McLaren did no real low fuel runs I believe).

    1. Renan Martinuzzo
      18th March 2022, 13:48

      Mclaren also has being suffering the consequences of their lack of long runs in pre-season testing. They are doing those now in FP1 and FP2.

      There’s also the point that their current solution is a fix and their long run performance may still suffer while a final solution is not in place.

      I expect them to be right at the top 6 in qualy, but barely at the top 10 come sunday.

  3. Hulkenberg really is a super sub, first time in a car this year and within a second of his team mate, wouldn’t be surprised if he is in the top 10 later today.

    1. Hulk is one of the best drivers in addapting. Who proved it many times and it is not strange at all that he is immediately up to speed. I will say it again – Hulk is better than half of the drivers and I expect him to maybe take Seb`s place for next year.

  4. I was surprised yesterday when I found out about practice starts on the grid since this has been a thing only for circuits where practice starts anywhere past pit exit are impossible.
    I guess Wittich applied this dual approach in DTM, hence the same now in F1.

  5. Can I just say how great F1TV’s commentary was during this session? Ben Edwards and Jolyon Palmer did a great job, and Sam Collins’ pit reporting complete with side-by-side camera footage was tremendous. Very impressed and I didn’t for a second consider switching back to the Sky world feed.

    1. +1 switched to F1TV crew after one minute of hearing Damon Hill. He just isn’t a good talker nor a quick thinker.

    2. @sjaakfoo I’m pleased to hear. Unfortunately it’s not available to me, but the idea of Ben Edwards and Sam Collins sounds really promising, I’d like to see Alex Jacques in a proper F1 role also.

    3. How did you guys do that? I watched it on my phone and thought the only english commentary available is the Sky world feed

      1. In FP1 it was the Sky but in FP2 it was the others.

    4. I’d like the option for this commentary when watching it on Sky.

    5. @sjaakfoo Ben Edwards? That Ben Edwards? Whoa.. I thought he retired from commentating F1 races. Good to hear that he still does his job.

    6. Ahh, I thought those guys were subs for the never was and the stammerer during testing. I guess I will switch now. Good to have some younger people and a driver that has driven in this century.

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