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Hello everyone and welcome to RaceFans Live for the first car launch of the 2021 F1 season!
McLaren are about to pull the wraps off their 2021 challenger. As you know they will use Mercedes power again this year, reuniting with the three-pointed star for the first time since 2014.
McLaren was Mercedes’ works team for a long time, though that obviously isn’t the case now. Here’s a look back at the previous 20 Mercedes-powered McLaren F1 cars, which took the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Mika Hakkinen to world championship glory:
Any thoughts on what colour it might be?! 😜
Am i just Ignorant or is it some weird custom that launch events are presented by random people nobody knows instead of someone usually representing the team?
😂 what the hell is this music segment about?!
It’s about seven hours long…
I was sweating with cringe!
I walked out for a couple minutes and now we are in a music studio. Did i miss the car?
They decided to send danial and lando to go team building and record a track…
And no they haven’t done the car release yet
Keith, what’s your feel of the chemistry between Danial and Lando so far? I appreciate it’s very very early days…. Lando saying his team leader comments I more take that as him just saying as Carlos isn’t there he needs to guide the team as Danial is new.
already knowing the car really takes the edge off
As in on Landos side?
The nose is significantly different isn’t it? Looking forward to some analysis!
In hindsight I should have just waited for the pics hahah. What a terrible launch vid. I wonder if this is the type of ‘exclusive content’ f1 is talking about the teams offering on their websites.
Thanks for joining us for the McLaren launch everyone!
Find all the pictures so far here: https://www.racefans.net/2021/02/15/first-pictures-mclaren-reveals-its-new-mercedes-powered-mcl35m-for-2021/
And compare the new car with the old one here: https://www.racefans.net/2021/02/15/interactive-compare-the-new-mclaren-mercedes-mcl35m-with-last-years-car/
Hello everyone and welcome to RaceFans Live for the launch of the Alfa Romeo C41.
Alfa Romeo will be the third team to present their new car for the upcoming season, following McLaren and AlphaTauri.
The presentation is taking place in Warsaw, Poland, home to title sponsor Orlen who back the team’s reserve driver Robert Kubica.
I’m sure a lot of you have already spotted the team has skipped ‘C40’ after running C39 last year. Sauber (who run Alfa Romeo) have done this before – they missed ‘C10’ back when they ran Mercedes sportscar programme. I understand from the team they wanted to sync up their nomenclature with the number of the year, hence the decision to miss out ‘C40’.
They better change up the livery drastically: I’m getting somewhat bored of the ‘look at our new car but it’s the same as last year’ reveals.
Not that the livery needs to be changed as far as I’m concerned: the car looked nice.
It’s more of a ‘at least you have a reason to reveal something’
It doesn’t need to be changed drastically IMO, I just wish they’d put more green on the car, as that would look very cool I think.
Wow, I never realised Kimi Raikonnen was so good at ballet!
The Ice Man melts.
Get to the money!
It does look kinda sexy BUT it also has a super aguri vibe :-/
Again no green on the car :( Come on Alfa, really?!
Well the four leaf clover is green now, there’s no other place where green fits in the Alfa Romeo racing colours. I quite like the new livery, it’s their best one since 2018 imo
I disagree. Green would make a great combination with red and white. Shame they didn’t go for it :(
Yeah, you’d think they could manage something like an italian flag motive somewhere @srga91, though the clover is quite nice (but not enough to justify flipping the car to mostly white with the bottom of the ass red) – like that stripe at top of red, but hm.
This is weird
I only got to (re)watch from the start now, after a lunch walk, sort of refreshing to have a genuine (well cribbed from last years – or was that two years ago? – Ferrari cultural stage with dance ) launch; AT had to do the fashion show, of course, but this is nicely pompous too, right?
And not too long a wait for the car. LOL, wut, “… not so many adjectives to describe the beauty of the car” *camera panning by driver’s faces, ends up at deadpan look of Kubica right as announcer says it* classicly brilliant. This is the sort of show we’ve all been missing at McLaren, right!
Nice touch they didn’t actually use red tyres too, is that the only bit of yellow here? No I enjoy it, it’s all very good and it’s great that they have Orlen taking a big role as signaled by this presentation apparently being in Poland. With doubts about alfa romeo’s staying power, good to have the team’s financials seem solid. They had some decent races, with a better PU and improved car with consistency in driver and team, not a bad way to launch their new season at all.
Oh, I like the look of their truck’s livery in the background there. No, well done team.
Hello everyone and welcome to RaceFans Live.
We’ve got two new car launches for the 2021 season coming up today, the first of which is Mercedes. Their presentation is due to begin at 11am UK time, however we are expecting to get a look at their new car before then.
We’ll have lots more coverage from Mercedes launch on RaceFans throughout the day. And later this afternoon Alpine are also presenting their new car.
As I just mentioned with the picture posted – the bit around the INEOS seems better integrated, the straight black line going to silver/grey behind it, and the AMG logo’s also fit with that as well as the driver-number font. But, well, those AMG logo’s are not at all the same as the Merc. star. Seems they really reduced the Mercedes presence for the AMG one a lot, so that’s a thing.
The first images of the car are out – presentation coming up in 20 minutes:
ooh, that’s why the floor looks odd in the studio (apart from the cool presentation turquoise lights below it) – it’s not the actual floor, but a fake to not show some kind of tricky floor treatment? fun.
Alpine’s launch is coming up in just five minutes. Note this is being billed as a ‘team launch’, not a car launch, so we might only see the new livery and not the A521 itself…
I have high hopes for this livery, navy-blue with red and white is my favorite combo (not a Hilfiger fanboy).
Is it my connection or is the video stuttering?
Yep, it’s broken
Also looks hella weird overall
Is it me or is the video really struggling? I tried both the F1 and Alpine YouTube channels and both are terrible, even at lowest quality.
if it is your, or my, internet, unless it is because _everyone_ is watching, I’d say it is at their home base. Made the ‘proud of technical team behind me’ from Ocon bit, eh, well. But, wow, that livery was worth it.
man, the stuttering does make it just a bit tiring to watch/listen to though.
I mean i dig the blue but it does look kinda messy. Also distinclty AP04-y.
Which is NOT to say the AP04 looked messy, t’was a thing of absolute beauty
The Red Mafpre bit is what ruins it. *shudder*
Hello everyone and welcome back to RaceFans Live for our next launch. Aston Martin is up next – they are due to officially present their F1 car in just over 20 minutes’ time.
Imagine if it was still pink after all this hype.
Best. Prank. Ever.
Boy is this self-congratulatory
I do think that Lawrence Stroll genuinely cares about F1 and the team, far more than a joker like Mallya
I don’t know, I know Mallya had his issues but he truly seemed to care about force India, sometimes at the expense of his other business interests!
Looks exceptional, best livery of the year without a doubt
Fair play to them… The BWT pink is still there in a noticeable but subtle way, and it works pretty well with the green.
The livery looks good. Amazing job to make the Pink (Strawberry?) work with the dark green. Interesting that Mercedes is not mentioned on the car at all, much like with McLaren even despite them getting far more bits from the Automotive giant.
Overall it looks like a nice greenwashed (;-)) version of the black Mercedes from last year!
These guys understand marketing in ways other teams clearly struggle with.
Good at designing F1 cars, not great at TV presentations!
Watching delayed (and sped up): noted Stroll sr. wearing (moss?)green tie – he clearly cares about making this work, and he has money, experience to get AM back to being successful, so it won’t be a one-shot only.
I read people calling the livery boring, but it’s rather classy (though yeah, green/pink instead of black+turquoise? W11 – still well done IMO). Stroll sr. knows motorsports, knows branding, might be a longer term success for AM (as a brand) we are looking at.
For people thinking this was a bit boring for fans: it’s clearly also for those (interested in) investing, showing this is a serious, well backed effort that is to be taken seriously.
And that’s why Gemma Arterton (recent Bond-girl) being the presenter, name dropping/mentioning not just sponsors but also presence in popular media: presence in James Bond movies, followed by a message by the actor currently playing him – all showing: we are serious and have what it takes to bring AM back to live as a company as well as an F1 team. ‘British Ferrari’ might have been tried before but the message is: we might just pull it off (let’s ignore McLaren for now, they aren’t mass market).
Yeah, looking forward to see what Vettel can do here (again, Vettel now here …), he can be great when he’s in a good place, bringing good experience (also of when things aren’t working), and this has been a team that traditionally has been able to work with what it’s given.
Hello everyone and welcome to RaceFans Live for the first day of track action for the 2021 F1 season! Testing in Bahrain starts in one hour’s time.
Here’s a full run-down of who is going to be driving today:
No cars on track yet of course but here’s Carlos Sainz Jnr, Sebastian Vettel and Mick Schumacher in their new team kit:
And the world champion is present too, though Lewis Hamilton isn’t due to drive the Mercedes until the afternoon:
The cars have been assembled together for a pre-season picture. However it looks like several of the teams have aerodynamic rigs fitted to them, which is perhaps not ideal for a photoshoot. They take a long to to attach, however, and testing time is incredibly restricted this year:
Super excited for this year on track. 👍
Cars are out on track; the second man out was Sebastian Vettel in his new seat at Aston Martin
They’ve got some interesting new sidepod detail to put through its paces:
F1 is back!!! Good morning everyone! Waking up to F1 sights and sounds is the best way to start the day <3. Enjoy it guys! Thank you Keith as always for this live blog and keeping us up to date in the off season as usual. Wishing you all a great 2021 season! :)
The first three times are
Sebastian Vettel: 1’36.367 Charles Leclerc: 1’37.481 Pierre Gasly: 1’41.743
None of those are at all representative – cars are carrying a lot of extra weight in aero rakes so far, so don’t read into them. Have a look at Sebastian’s new BWT helmet instead – what do you think?
Was the 1 lap record not 1.36.8 (LeClerc 2019) then i find Vettel time quit fast!
For me, there’s too little contrast between esp. the darkest two of the pink bands – black, yellow, red clearly does that better; so I hope his designer, with a bit more time, manages to improve that, esp. given how much he has been able to do in previous years with this design.
Soo happy to see them driving again!
Some detail on the Mercedes back wing – this isn’t an aero rake, this is what they’re running, at least for this morning on Valtteri Bottas’ car:
All the drivers running this morning have gone out for at least one lap, which should be reassuring to their engineers.
The highest amount of running? Esteban Ocon, after 12 laps. The lowest? Valtteri Bottas has done just one installation lap before coming in.
The Mercedes team were about to start the car up just now for him to go out again and have just screened their garage away, after having to pull the engine cover off. Regulations prevent screens being put up unless there’s a major issue – so this could be bad news for their morning running.
I love f1 its the best sport
Mercedes have just updated that it’s a transmission issue.
They’ll be swapping the gear box, in order to avoid repeatedly interrupted running. That will take a big chunk out of this morning’s running for Valtteri Bottas but with 3 hours and 10 minutes left, they should be back out on track within this session.
A little spin for Max Verstappen just now was no drama – he doesn’t look to have even harmed the C2 (second hardest) 2021 Pirellis he’s running.
He’s taken off the rakes from earlier but will still be testing these new side details – and Honda’s final F1 power unit effort.
I feel bad for the 3D model team at codemasters
Lap times after the first hour:
1. Kimi Raikkonen – Alfa Romeo C41: 1’34.686 12 laps 2. Charles Leclerc – Ferrari SF21: 1’34.803 (+0.117) 17 laps 3. Pierre Gasly – AlphaTauri AT02: 1’34.855 (+0.169) 17 laps 4. Max Verstappen – Red Bull RB16B: 1’35.008 (+0.322) 9 laps 5. Esteban Ocon – Alpine A521: 1’35.150 (+0.464) 12 laps 6. Daniel Ricciardo – McLaren MCL35M: 1’35.197 (+0.511) 15 laps 7. Sebastian Vettel – AMR21: 1’36.293 (+1.607) 11 laps 8. Mick Schumacher – Haas VF-21: 1’37.163 (+2.477) 7 laps 9. Roy Nissany – Williams FW43B 3 laps 10. Valtteri Bottas – Mercedes W12 1 lap
Some inspection of rivals for the Mercedes pair and perennial scrutineer Sebastian Vettel when cars were brought out for the first time
A new fastest time set by Daniel Ricciardo will please the McLaren fans here – he’s put a 1’32.537 on the board, just ahead of former team mate Max Verstappen’s 1’32.565
Those aren’t representative times but they’re dropping, so the huge splodges of fluoro paint on the McLaren are being put to good use. The whole left side is decorated like it’s part of their other driver’s fashion range…
Here is said McLaren, not wearing quite as many rakes by this point in the session.
Get all the photos from testing at our photo updates page.
Warnings of a sandstorm heading for Sakhir; live pictures show it in the distance, trackside and with a strong southerly wind there’s a chance it might arrive before the end of the morning session.
That might have a significant impact, not just on running this session but to later ones, depending on how fast the track can be cleaned. It’s pretty normal, for Bahrain – makes a difference from the risk of snow in Barcelona!
Could be a big problem, however, for Mercedes – who’ve only run one installation lap so far while they change Valtteri Bottas’ gear box after a transmission issue.
A gear box issue for Mick Schumacher’s Haas means he’s back in the pits for a change, too.
Haas were only able to fire up the VF-21 earlier this week in Bahrain, due to issues moving parts in and out of the UK.
Kimi beats the lap record by almost 15 seconds and sets a 1:12.839 🤣
Using the outer layout there, perhaps… (time now deleted, so Ricciardo’s 1’32.537 stands for now)
We’ve had a chance to see the new liveries out on track now – who’s winning the battle of the blues, in terms of looks – Alpine or Williams?
The Williams is looking good IRL, way better than what I expected. But the Alpine is the greatest 2021 livery to me.
Agree the Williams is better in real. Between the two definitely the Alpine! That metallic blue looks amazing under the sun and will shine beautifully under the lights too.
Alpine by far, that blue is beautiful. Williams’ livery is a mess.
Yea that alpine in the sunshine is a beauty.
Thank you for the coverage :)
Here are the times after the first two hours:
1. Daniel Ricciardo – McLaren MCL35M: 1’32.537 28 laps 2. Max Verstappen – Red Bull RB16B: 1’32.565 (+0.028) 25 laps 3. Pierre Gasly – AlphaTauri AT02: 1’33.157 (+0.620) 32 laps 4. Charles Leclerc – Ferrari SF21: 1’33.570 (+1.033) 35 laps 5. Esteban Ocon – Alpine A521: 1’33.845 (+1.308) 30 laps 6. Sebastian Vettel – AMR21: 1’34.008 (+1.471) 26 laps 7. Kimi Raikkonen – Alfa Romeo C41: 1’34.686 (+2.149) 27 laps 8. Mick Schumacher – Haas VF-21: 1’37.163 (+4.626) 7 laps 9. Roy Nissany – Williams FW43B 12 laps 10. Valtteri Bottas – Mercedes W12 1 lap
A new fastest lap time for Ricciardo – he’s shaved a few tenths off to 1’32.203
His previous time was beaten by Pierre Gasly, who’s now sitting in second place on 1’32.525
So they are almost as fast as the 2020 fastest lap [1:32.014] (Red Bull), and already faster than second fastest [1:32.827] (Renault).
There’s been a seven centigrade rise in temperature over the course of the two and a half hours in this session so far – air temp is up from 27C at just before 10am local time to 34C now, at half past midday.
It’s still very windy on track and we’ve seen a few cars looking very whippy in it. Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa had a little wobbly moment just now.
A hiccup for Aston Martin – Sebastian Vettel has stopped at the end of the pit lane and their crew have had to retrieve the car. Hopefully a quick fix, as they’ve had plenty of running so far – he’s put 40 laps on the board.
One hour left to run in the morning session – here are the times:
1. Daniel Ricciardo – McLaren MCL35M: 1’32.203 37 laps 2. Pierre Gasly – AlphaTauri AT02: 1’32.231 (+0.028) 55 laps 3. Max Verstappen – Red Bull RB16B: 1’32.565 (+0.362) 41 laps 4. Esteban Ocon – Alpine A521: 1’33.030 (+0.827) 43 laps 5. Charles Leclerc – Ferrari SF21: 1’33.242 (+1.039) 47 laps 6. Kimi Raikkonen – Alfa Romeo C41: 1’33.320 (+1.117) 41 laps 7. Sebastian Vettel – AMR21: 1’33.742 (+1.539) 39 laps 8. Roy Nissany – Williams FW43B: 1’35.837 (+3.634) 24 laps 9. Mick Schumacher – Haas VF-21: 1’37.163 (+4.960) 7 laps 10. Valtteri Bottas – Mercedes W12: No time – 1 lap
Mercedes have just confirmed that although it’s been a tricky morning for them – Bottas still hasn’t come back out, after pitting for a gear box replacement following just one installation lap – they will still be sticking to the testing plan, with Lewis Hamilton stepping in this afternoon.
It’s been a slightly messy morning for Max Verstappen. He’s set 41 laps and is third fastest but there’s been rather a lot of exploring track limits and quite a few lockups. Nothing major but shows the Red Bull isn’t necessarily getting easier to drive.
I am really looking forward to Checo’s performance with this car. If he messes up like Pierre and Alex did maybe they will finally try something less extreme
In terms of ‘isn’t’ necessarily getting easier to drive,’ surely they, like all teams, have barely begun sorting setups etc towards figuring that out.
Bottas is back out on track for Mercedes, after nearly three hours of this first session spent in the garage for that gear box change.
He’s put five more laps on the board with a best of 1’36.850 but needless to say, that doesn’t represent the Mercedes pace yet.
Just so pleased to have some action after long gap. Daniel looks good in the McLaren
Good morning everyone! Good to be back. Thanks for getting us through the winter
A red flag on the session, with 10 minutes to go. Charles Leclerc has pulled to a stop at the marshalling point down at turn four, following what seemed to be a loss of power.
I guess that’s it for the morning session. Felt good to see the 2021 car & drivers on track, the Williams looks prettier than expected and on the other hand I am a bit disappointed by the Aston livery (a bit too dark)
McLaren looking goooooood. *fingers crossed*
I’m loving these live updates, clear info and great pics!
It’s the start of the second session – and no cars are out on track.
There’s a sandstorm that’s moved in and visibility is very poor, wind very high.
Some driver changes for the afternoon, when they do get out.
Lewis Hamilton takes over for Mercedes Lando Norris assumes duties at McLaren Lance Stroll is in at Aston Martin Carlos Sainz Jnr starts his first session for Ferrari Yuki Tsunoda makes his 2021 debut at AlphaTauri Antonio Giovinazzi is in the Alfa Romeo and Nikita Mazepin takes over at Haas
Roy Nissany, Esteban Ocon and Max Verstappen continue from the morning session.
Esteban Ocon is the first out on track, with rooster tails streaming off the back of his car.
It’s not moisture – there’s so much sand on the track we’re getting a great look at some of the aero features but there’s less grip than a Formula E circuit.
Only Nikita Mazepin is out on track currently; he’s set a 1’37.058 so far
Haas missed a lot of running this morning due to needing to change Schumacher’s gear box but it’s very poor conditions for a rookie run. Nevertheless, AlphaTauri – who had plenty of running with Pierre Gasly’s 74 laps – are strapping Yuki Tsunoda in.
Looks like Mercedes took the opportunity with the bad weather to do some more work on the cars. I guess Red Bull happy to get a lot of running on that Honda engine, even if the cooling vents are all filling up with boatloads of sand. Verstappen and Tsunoda on track, quite the experience for a rookie to get to know the car like this.
There is so much dust on the track, but the times are surprisingly good. Ocon posted a lap just 0.3 off his best from this morning.
The other rookie Mazepin also out there and Ocon matching times he set earlier now, so despite the sand it is not too bad out there, I guess.
I don’t get why Mick’s TLA is ‘MSC’ like Michaels was. It didn’t make sense for Michael as Ralf was retired, and it doesn’t make sense for Mick as Schwartzman is still a year away. My OCD doesn’t like it.
Shwartzman also has no ‘c’
Even less justification for it then. It annoys me an unreasonable amount. Like when we had to suffer through the VEStappen years in-case JEV came back
Red Bull looks great on track with HONDA on the rear wing. Williams also quite pretty in motion compared to the standing shots.
Hamilton has headed out for his first laps of 2021 and he’s wasting no time. Despite the slippery conditions, crosswinds and poor visibility the champion is going for some aggressive driving.
He’s asked for his spare pedals, over the radio; maybe because despite all that, he’s set the slowest time of anyone at 1’38.227
The car looked awful, Lewis was constantly sliding around. Nearly 2 sec. slower than the next slowest car. I wonder why.
We’re into the last three hours of the first day of testing and there’s not a lot to tell you yet. No one’s had any major problems – the only real anomaly is that Lance Stroll isn’t out on track yet, after Sebastian Vettel had that issue at the end of the pit lane towards the end of the morning session.
Other than that: it is extremely dusty.
With conditions so dusty on track, do you think we will see any sand bagging?
I’ll see myself out.
It’s a new fastest lap for the day from Max Verstappen, despite the poor conditions.
On his 80th lap of the day, he manages a 1’31.412
Nikita Mazepin has had a small off and a spin at turn 11, the lefthander off the back straight.
It’s no major harm done, a slide on the sand and a few pirouettes.
Two hours to go in the first test, here’s how the times are looking:
1. Max Verstappen – Red Bull RB16B: 1’31.412 94 laps 2. Lando Norris – McLaren MCL35M: 1’31.809 (+0.397) 20 laps 3. Daniel Ricciardo – McLaren MCL35M: 1’32.203 (+0.791) 45 laps 4. Pierre Gasly – AlphaTauri AT02: 1’32.231 (+0.819) 74 laps 5. Antonio Giovinazzi – Alfa Romeo C41: 1’32.415 (+1.003) 25 laps 6. Yuki Tsunoda – AlphaTauri AT02: 1’32.727 (+1.315) 25 laps 7. Esteban Ocon – Alpine A521: 1’32.843 (+1.431) 101 laps 8. Carlos Sainz Jnr – Ferrari SF21: 1’32.869 (+1.457) 29 laps 9. Charles Leclerc – Ferrari SF21: 1’33.242 (+1.830) 59 laps 10. Kimi Raikkonen – Alfa Romeo C41: 1’33.320 (+1.908) 63 laps 11. Sebastian Vettel – AMR21: 1’33.742 (+2.330) 51 laps 12. Roy Nissany – Williams FW43B: 1’34.789 (+3.377) 58 laps 13. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes W12: 1’34.875 (+3.463) 16 laps 14. Nikita Mazepin – Haas VF-21: 1’35.417 (+4.005) 28 laps 15. Mick Schumacher – Haas VF-21: 1’36.127 (+4.715) 15 laps 16. Valtteri Bottas – Mercedes W12: 1’36.850 (+5.438) 6 laps
A pretty impressive lap for Lando Norris – he’s now second-fastest for the day on a 1’31.809, the only driver except Max Verstappen to break the 1’32 mark so far and ahead of the lap new team mate Daniel Ricciardo set on the same C2 compounds to lead the morning session.
best sport ever
Two drivers are over a century of laps today – Max Verstappen and Esteban Ocon.
Verstappen, on 109 laps, has done over 590km today.
One hour left in the first test of the year: 1. Max Verstappen – Red Bull RB16B: 1’31.412 110 laps 2. Esteban Ocon – Alpine A521: 1’31.626 (+0.214) 113 laps 3. Lando Norris – McLaren MCL35M: 1’31.809 (+0.397) 33 laps 4. Antonio Giovinazzi – Alfa Romeo C41: 1’31.945 (+0.533) 45 laps 5. Daniel Ricciardo – McLaren MCL35M: 1’32.203 (+0.791) 45 laps 6. Pierre Gasly – AlphaTauri AT02: 1’32.231 (+0.819) 74 laps 7. Yuki Tsunoda – AlphaTauri AT02: 1’32.727 (+1.315) 37 laps 8. Carlos Sainz Jnr – Ferrari SF21: 1’32.869 (+1.457) 39 laps 9. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes W12: 1’32.912 (+1.500) 27 laps 10. Charles Leclerc – Ferrari SF21: 1’33.242 (+1.830) 59 laps 11. Kimi Raikkonen – Alfa Romeo C41: 1’33.320 (+1.908) 63 laps 12. Sebastian Vettel – AMR21: 1’33.742 (+2.330) 51 laps 13. Roy Nissany – Williams FW43B: 1’34.789 (+3.377) 73 laps 14. Nikita Mazepin – Haas VF-21: 1’34.798 (+3.386) 46 laps 15. Mick Schumacher – Haas VF-21: 1’36.127 (+4.715) 15 laps 16. Valtteri Bottas – Mercedes W12: 1’36.850 (+5.438) 6 laps
Carlos Sainz Jnr has had a spin at Turn 11, although he was able to get going again without a hitch.
Conditions seem to be improving – provided drivers don’t go off the racing line. As soon as they hit the dust, things seem very unstable.
A couple of late improvements with 10 minutes left: Stroll up to fourth and Sainz fifth.
The chequered flag has fallen and that’s the first day of pre-season testing complete!
Here’s the full report:
Plus a huge gallery of all the cars and drivers in action:
The second day of testing – things are much, much better than yesterday’s sandstorm but expect to see people gingerly picking a clean path, like Formula E qualifiying.
Here’s an early look at the times:
1. Nikita Mazepin – Haas VF-21: 1’34.517 7 laps 2. Carlos Sainz Jnr – Ferrari SF21: 1’34.557 (+0.040) 6 laps 3. Fernando Alonso – Alpine A521: 1’34.996 (+0.479) 6 laps 4. Sergio Perez – Red Bull RB16B: 1’36.113 (+1.596) 3 laps 5. Yuki Tsunoda – AlphaTauri AT02: 1’37.067 (+2.550) 8 laps 6. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes W12: 1’38.857 (+4.340) 5 laps 7. Nicholas Latifi – Williams FW43B: 1’53.696 (+19.179) 4 laps 12. Antonio Giovinazzi – Alfa Romeo C41: 3 laps 13. Daniel Ricciardo – McLaren MCL35M: 3 laps 14. Sebastian Vettel – AMR21: 3 laps
Last updated at: 8:31 CET
Watching Perez’s onboard, his helmet this year is a bit “nice livery you’ve got there, of course you won’t mind if we slap massive Red Bull stickers all over it…”
After just over an hour we’ve had a pretty poor showing on times
Sainz is fastest today on a 1’33.072 but he’ll be getting no prizes – Formula E’s first qualifying groups would be putting on a set of wet tyres and going full welly…
Sainz leading the way for Ferrari after the first hour.
Haas and Williams are the only teams to have improved on their times from yesterday so far.
1. Carlos Sainz Jnr – Ferrari SF21: 1’33.072 12 laps 2. Nikita Mazepin – Haas VF-21: 1’33.731 (+0.659) 14 laps 3. Fernando Alonso – Alpine A521: 1’34.253 (+1.181) 12 laps 4. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes W12: 1’34.559 (+1.487) 14 laps 5. Nicholas Latifi – Williams FW43B: 1’34.608 (+1.536) 16 laps 6. Sergio Perez – Red Bull RB16B: 1’35.534 (+2.462) 12 laps 7. Yuki Tsunoda – AlphaTauri AT02: 1’37.067 (+3.995) 17 laps 8. Daniel Ricciardo – McLaren MCL35M: 9 laps 9. Antonio Giovinazzi – Alfa Romeo C41: 3 laps 10. Sebastian Vettel – AMR21: 3 laps
Hamilton made some changes to the ergonomics of his seat that he said felt great in the factory but bad as soon as he was driving – but he wasn’t happy at all with where it was yesterday, said he had to come in to totally readjust from the the position he’d been in in the factory, despite sitting pretty similarly since 2013.
Alonso is fastest – something we haven’t been able to say for awhile.
Before you get to excited, he’s two seconds back from yesterday’s fastest times on only a 1’32.769 so far.
Daniel Ricciardo has topped the times on the C3 tyres – the sort that are basically the same as the C3 (confusing) but made in a different factory, to verify they have the same properties.
He’s set a 1’32.598 so nothing hugely exciting but we’ll see what happens.
While not a lot is happening, some things to think about about Williams this season. Haas have already declared they’re hanging up development now, with two rookie drivers – could it be a hero moment for Latifi and Russell?
No sooner than that was said than Carlos Sainz Jnr decided to spice things up by pushing the SF21 seemingly too far and having a spin, similar to his one yesterday although at turn 7 rather than 11.
Here are the times after the first two hours.
Still only Haas and Williams quicker than yesterday:
1. Fernando Alonso – Alpine A521: 1’32.339 32 laps 2. Daniel Ricciardo – McLaren MCL35M: 1’32.598 (+0.259) 23 laps 3. Carlos Sainz Jnr – Ferrari SF21: 1’33.072 (+0.733) 17 laps 4. Nikita Mazepin – Haas VF-21: 1’33.101 (+0.762) 26 laps 5. Sergio Perez – Red Bull RB16B: 1’33.248 (+0.909) 23 laps 6. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes W12: 1’33.399 (+1.060) 33 laps 7. Nicholas Latifi – Williams FW43B: 1’33.498 (+1.159) 29 laps 8. Yuki Tsunoda – AlphaTauri AT02: 1’34.794 (+2.455) 33 laps 9. Antonio Giovinazzi – Alfa Romeo C41: 1’37.911 (+5.572) 24 laps 10. Sebastian Vettel – AMR21: 1’38.849 (+6.510) 6 laps
Mercedes with the joint-most number of laps, making up for the dismal Day 1.
Is there a problem with the AMR car?
Yep, gearbox. They have declined to say if it’s the same as Merc yesterday
AMR is using a 2020 Mercedes gearbox
With 30 minutes to go it’s a very close top 5 – and with a Williams in the mix.
Daniel Ricciardo leads again on 1’31.215 Alonso: 1’32.339 Perez:1’32.478 Latifi: 1’32.541 Tsunoda: 1’32.768
Ricciardo is fastest – and fluoro-est, with this paint pasting the aerodynamic flows up the side of the McLaren
Are drivers happier about the warmer temperatures at Sakhir? Not Carlos Sainz Jnr.
Asked by RaceFans to compare the track to Barcelona for testing, he said “I think there’s no better test track than Barcelona. It has the down-side of the weather. But I think Barcelona in mid-March is a very good place to go. At the same time I have nothing against Bahrain. I think they were unlucky with the sandstorm. It can happen, the same that it can snow in Barcelona. I guess here the different target we’re facing is how they track temp drops through the day into the night, how much the grip comes up and also how much degradation there is at this track so it makes it very difficult to have any kind of consistent running because after one lap you are one second off. So you cannot have sustainable laps pushing the car, you can do only one lap pushing.”
There’s a late red flag with no obvious reason – although it’s ruined Vettel’s flying lap. Something to cling to if he finishes the session tenth and slowest.
I think that was a procedure testing from FIA – seems Sky had a heads up about it.
Initial impression on cars’ performance does not make me feel happy. They look a lot slower than last year’s cars. I am hoping teams can pick up some pace and grip.
We’re seeing clear skies for today’s afternoon session – which wasn’t the case yesterday.
Roy Nissany, the only test driver to be taking part this week, told RaceFans his thoughts about driving for Williams in a sandstorm yesterday:
“Nature takes your plans and throws them out of the windows. So it’s a bit strange, but we coped well with it. I mean, we have to think that the race weekend could be exactly the same and we’ll have to cope with it.
“It did feel, I have to say, like you’re in a dream-slash-nightmare. Dust, dark, no visibility, sparks from time to time. But you just have to cope with it. I think we as drivers, these kind of disturbances we have to keep out of our minds. So let them be, let them happen and focus our plan and we managed to do that. So despite these conditions, we finished, we ticked off the list, a lot of items that we needed to.”
Yuki Tsunoda is the first Japanese driver on the grid for seven years – he told Dieter how that feels, alongside the nerves of being a rookie
“I don’t feel much pressure, I just have a really exciting feeling this season. Even this morning I don’t have any nervous things. I was really excited to drive the AlphaTauri and just looking forward. I can’t expect anything for now because I don’t have any experience for the race, even for the Bahrain race, I’m just looking forward. I don’t feel any more pressure. I’m really looking forward to working with them.”
Here’s the state of play with two hours to go:
1. Daniel Ricciardo – McLaren MCL35M: 1’32.215 52 laps 2. Fernando Alonso – Alpine A521: 1’32.339 (+0.124) 84 laps 3. Sergio Perez – Red Bull RB16B: 1’32.478 (+0.263) 85 laps 4. Antonio Giovinazzi – Alfa Romeo C41: 1’32.486 (+0.271) 97 laps 5. Nicholas Latifi – Williams FW43B: 1’32.541 (+0.326) 89 laps 6. Yuki Tsunoda – AlphaTauri AT02: 1’32.684 (+0.469) 57 laps 7. Mick Schumacher – Haas VF-21: 1’32.883 (+0.668) 31 laps 8. Carlos Sainz Jnr – Ferrari SF21: 1’33.072 (+0.857) 56 laps 9. Nikita Mazepin – Haas VF-21: 1’33.101 (+0.886) 76 laps 10. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes W12: 1’33.399 (+1.184) 58 laps 11. Valtteri Bottas – Mercedes W12: 1’33.581 (+1.366) 24 laps 12. Pierre Gasly – AlphaTauri AT02: 1’36.214 (+3.999) 48 laps 13. Charles Leclerc – Ferrari SF21: 1’36.875 (+4.660) 40 laps 14. Sebastian Vettel – AMR21: 1’38.849 (+6.634) 10 laps
Just gone the halfway mark on the afternoon session and the top three from this morning still stand.
Ricciardo’s 1’32.215 looks untouchable so far but Antonio Giovinazzi, who’s had an uneventful but productive time in Sakhir – as fourth-fastest driver this afternoon he’s run 99 laps, his race number
No sooner do we say Giovinazzi was being quiet than he sets the fastest lap on his 100th go. Only to be immediately beaten by Lando Norris, on his 24th this afternoon.
He sets a 1’31.239
Norris is topping the times but has done the least number of laps of any driver, at 26.
Second-fastest Giovinazzi has done the most on 102.
Utterly bizarre moment for Sergio Perez – as he came out of the slipstream of Nicholas Latifi the engine cover of his Red Bull has seemingly been peeled apart by turbulence, spraying bodywork over the track.
Max experienced something similar in 2015 at Italian Grand Prix, but then he was still in the Torro Rosso.
Antonio Giovinazzi went quickest on the restart (following a red flag to clear Perez’ debris) but yet again was almost immediately pipped to it – this time by his former GP2 team mate Pierre Gasly
He leads on a 1’30.825
Lando Norris looks to be on some qualifying simulations. He’s just retaken the fastest time from Gasly – on a 1’30.856
He comes back in to the garage for now but there’s the majority of an hour remaining for a few more runs.
What do all these times mean? There’s an Alfa Romeo in front of both Ferraris, an AlphaTauri ahead of the Red Bull and Norris’ Mercedes-powered McLaren is ahead of both of the factory team drivers.
Truthfully, they mean it’s testing and not too much should be read into it but it’s an exciting top three, currently.
Agreed. Testing times mean f all, but it’s nice to at least build a naïve narrative that all those teams are taking charge.
Some better news for Mercedes: Valtteri Bottas has gone quickest with a 1’30.289, edging a tenth of a second clear of Pierre Gasly.
Schumacher knocked Haas’s front jack over as he left the pits, it was still in front of his right-front wheel as the light went green.
The red flags are out as usual shortly before the session was due to end.
Good morning everyone and welcome to RaceFans Live for the final day of pre-season testing.
It’s the coolest day of testing so far – in temperature terms, not just because George Russell’s finally out on track.
It’s a balmy 20C air temperature, 24C track temperature and the wind is the lowest it’s been all week, so some of the best conditions we’ll see cars running in.
In the cars this morning for the final day of testing
Valtteri Bottas for Mercedes Sergio Perez for Red Bull Lando Norris for McLaren Lance Stroll for Aston Martin Esteban Ocon for Alpine Charles Leclerc for Ferrari Pierre Gasly for AlphaTauri Kimi Raikkonen for Alfa Romeo Mick Schumacher for Haas and George Russell for Williams
It’s a fastest lap for Schumacher – not likely to hold, so early on and it’s not an especially impressive time but Mick has set a 1’32.803 to top the times for now.
This is a photo from last night but if anything it’s even more obvious on this, the first relatively clear day session – there’s a lot of daylight visible under the Williams.
Yesterday Mazepin noticed a huge amount of dirty air coming off the car when he was behind Latifi – and Perez had a very bizarre incident where pulling out from behind the Williams seemed to tear apart the left sidepod and engine cover of his car.
Some interesting new things behind tried at Grove, clearly.
Charles Leclerc looks set to hold the fastest lap for awhile yet – his 1’30.486 is one of the best times in testing so far.
All the more extraordinary because, regardless of track development, he set it on the C3 tyres – one of the harder compounds.
Here are the times after the first hour:
1. Charles Leclerc – Ferrari SF21: 1’30.486 11 laps 2. Pierre Gasly – AlphaTauri AT02: 1’31.233 (+0.747) 15 laps 3. Esteban Ocon – Alpine A521: 1’31.844 (+1.358) 15 laps 4. Sergio Perez – Red Bull RB16B: 1’31.890 (+1.404) 16 laps 5. Mick Schumacher – Haas VF-21: 1’32.053 (+1.567) 16 laps 6. Valtteri Bottas – Mercedes W12: 1’32.635 (+2.149) 19 laps 7. George Russell – Williams FW43B: 1’32.731 (+2.245) 21 laps 8. Lando Norris – McLaren MCL35M: 1’33.745 (+3.259) 8 laps 9. Lance Stroll – Aston Martin AMR21: 1’36.100 (+5.614) 23 laps 10. Kimi Raikkonen – Alfa Romeo C41: 1’36.640 (+6.154) 17 laps
Here are the best times by each team so far for the whole test:
1. Mercedes – 1’30.289 2. AlphaTauri – 1’30.413 (+0.124) 3. Aston Martin – 1’30.460 (+0.171) 4. Ferrari – 1’30.486 (+0.197) 5. McLaren – 1’30.586 (+0.297) 6. Red Bull – 1’30.674 (+0.385) 7. Alfa Romeo – 1’30.760 (+0.471) 8. Alpine – 1’31.146 (+0.857) 9. Williams – 1’31.672 (+1.383) 10. Haas – 1’32.053 (+1.764)
Sergio Perez just set the second-fastest lap so far, with a purple third sector.
He’s set a 1’30.927 on C2 tyres
There’s a lovely tribute to Murray Walker hanging over the Sakhir pit straight, commemorating his importance to Formula One
We’re halfway through the morning running. Ferrari and Haas are the only teams who’ve improved their lap times so far today.
A very good lap for McLaren’s Lando Norris – he set a 1’30.737 on the second-hardest C2 compound tyres
Drivers’ times are getting closer now – the top 3 are separated by less than two tenths.
Perez is just 0.057 off Leclerc – and has just ended up nearly in a tangle with Kimi Raikkonen coming into the final corner, although fortunately didn’t get more than a brief close look at each other.
There were some really big rakes out in the first half of this session – teams have put them away for now, focussing on high speed runs.
Whatever Red Bull found out must have worked, Perez has just set the fastest time of testing so far – a 1’30.177
We’ll have more coming from Verstappen very soon but despite his teammate on top of the times, he says this has been a difficult test for Red Bull
“It’s a bit difficult to say from the performance side but it feels good. Like I said before we’ve done a lot of laps and no hiccups, nothing. Hopefully we can continue like this.”
The usual red flags end the session so drivers can do practice starts. Here are the times at lunch:
1. Sergio Perez – Red Bull RB16B: 1’30.187 47 laps 2. Charles Leclerc – Ferrari SF21: 1’30.486 (+0.299) 80 laps 3. Lando Norris – McLaren MCL35M: 1’30.661 (+0.474) 56 laps 4. Pierre Gasly – AlphaTauri AT02: 1’30.828 (+0.641) 74 laps 5. Esteban Ocon – Alpine A521: 1’31.310 (+1.123) 61 laps 6. Mick Schumacher – Haas VF-21: 1’32.053 (+1.866) 76 laps 7. Valtteri Bottas – Mercedes W12: 1’32.406 (+2.219) 84 laps 8. George Russell – Williams FW43B: 1’32.731 (+2.544) 77 laps 9. Kimi Raikkonen – Alfa Romeo C41: 1’35.274 (+5.087) 91 laps 10. Lance Stroll – Aston Martin AMR21: 1’36.100 (+5.913) 80 laps
The final four hours of testing have begun.
It’s been all change everywhere but Williams, over the hour break. George Russell continues there but otherwise:
Verstappen’s in the Red Bull Sainz for Ferrari Ricciardo takes over the McLaren Tsunoda has the wheel at AlphaTauri Alonso is in the Alpine Mazpin takes over at Haas Hamilton does the final testing session for Mercedes Antonio Giovinazzi is in for Alfa Romeo and it’s Vettel in the Aston Martin this afternoon
Raikkonen ran 100 laps this morning – the first driver to go over a century in a single session during this test.
Sebastian Vettel, making up for lost time, is the longest runner so far this afternoon. He’s done 13 laps in the first 30 minutes.
For Ferrari and Mercedes, loose and wriggly rears were causing trouble on the first day, especially in relatively windy conditions. Both teams’ drivers have said the stability has improved over the test sessions.
However, it’s a little bit hard to read too much into that. It’s a much calmer day, wind-wise, today than the sandstorm of Friday afternoon or even yesterday’s relatively breezy conditions. So as with everything in testing, it’s a case of not trying to assume too much, except that the drivers do seem much happier and more able to control their cars now.
A radio “shout out to the Aussie fans” from @danielricciardo on today, which should have been the Australian Grand Prix – he says he can’t wait to be back in November to “do it properly”
If you’re a Tifosi worried to see Sainz down in 16th, don’t be – Mattia Binotto said earlier this is all part of the plan
This afternoon it will be Carlos who is driving. He is our last half day for the three days and, for him, very important for learning car procedures. We will do some long stints, high fuel. He’ll also try the softer compounds as well in the afternoon. So there will be quite variable programmes to try to prepare him best for the start of the season.
Yuki Tsunoda has slightly overcooked things into turn four and had what looked – and no doubt felt – like a pretty alarming spin. He avoided colliding with Giovinazzi behind and although his tyres probably didn’t enjoy the excursion, everyone’s on their way again.
The sun is starting to go down on Sakhir. In the past two days, we’ve seen the fastest laps set around dusk, so with lots of drivers waiting to do runs on soft tyres we should be heading into one of the more exciting hours – they’re no longer obligated to save too many sets of tyres from the allocated 30 for this test.
Just before the halfway point and with the sun really starting to set at Sakhir, Daniel Ricciardo has just beaten Lando Norris’ time from this morning.
He’s running a much softer tyre – the C4 compound relative to the C2 Norris used – but has taken the best McLaren time for today (so far) and gone third fastest with 1’30.587
Here’s our run-down of the times with two hours to go:
1. Sergio Perez – Red Bull RB16B: 1’30.187 49 laps 2. Charles Leclerc – Ferrari SF21: 1’30.486 (+0.299) 80 laps 3. Daniel Ricciardo – McLaren MCL35M: 1’30.587 (+0.400) 23 laps 4. Lando Norris – McLaren MCL35M: 1’30.661 (+0.474) 56 laps 5. Pierre Gasly – AlphaTauri AT02: 1’30.828 (+0.641) 76 laps 6. Kimi Raikkonen – Alfa Romeo C41: 1’30.990 (+0.803) 123 laps 7. Fernando Alonso – Alpine A521: 1’31.212 (+1.025) 32 laps 8. Esteban Ocon – Alpine A521: 1’31.310 (+1.123) 61 laps 9. Max Verstappen – Red Bull RB16B: 1’31.426 (+1.239) 32 laps 10. Nikita Mazepin – Haas VF-21: 1’31.531 (+1.344) 25 laps 11. Mick Schumacher – Haas VF-21: 1’32.053 (+1.866) 78 laps 12. Valtteri Bottas – Mercedes W12: 1’32.406 (+2.219) 86 laps 13. George Russell – Williams FW43B: 1’32.731 (+2.544) 116 laps 14. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes W12: 1’32.886 (+2.699) 21 laps 15. Carlos Sainz Jnr – Ferrari SF21: 1’35.050 (+4.863) 46 laps 16. Sebastian Vettel – Aston Martin AMR21: 1’35.176 (+4.989) 49 laps 17. Yuki Tsunoda – AlphaTauri AT02: 1’35.200 (+5.013) 58 laps 18. Lance Stroll – Aston Martin AMR21: 1’36.100 (+5.913) 80 laps
Max Verstappen has set a new fastest lap, on the testing C3 compound tyres.*
He snatches not just the fastest time today but of the test overall, the first driver to drop below a 1’30 time with a 1’29.946
*They’re regular C3 tyres but made in a factory in Turkey, rather than Pirelli’s usual Romania facility, to check that they have the same performance.
It’s been a productive day of running for Haas so far, after they suffered a big gap on Friday due to a gear box change. They’ve got 103 laps on the board between Schumacher and Mazepin – team boss Guenther Steiner says the focus is on preparing the drivers for the season:
We are doing the same as we did with Mick this morning. We just always try to do like a mock race weekend in a half a day – just so the guys get used to all the scenarios. You never get exposed to all the scenarios, but as many as possible so that they get natural in doing things. So that’s our biggest aim. We will go out first on the soft tires and then we go over to do a race simulation.
Sebastian Vettel is back in the garage – with frantic work going on on the back of his car.
He’s still in the cockpit but there’s plenty going on in the Aston Martin garage and mechanics have formed a human wall to shield whatever’s going on from cameras.
Unfortunately it looks like a serious issue on Vettel’s car – or well, it has to be as Aston Martin have brought the screens out, which you’re now only allowed to do for significant work on the car where elements like the power train might be exposed.
Vettel has run 56 laps already this session so it’s not a total disaster, especially counting Stroll’s 80 laps this morning.
Carlos Sainz Jnr has been out of the car for awhile – his Ferrari has a hydraulic issue, so after 65 laps this afternoon that could well be his lot for the day.
Meanwhile, Honda’s two cars on track are exchanging the fastest times.
Max Verstappen and Yuki Tsunoda are swapping the top spot – Tsunoda, the youngest rookie, currently has it – on a 1’29.671 for his AlphaTauri. Verstappen is just 0.062 seconds behind – and, maybe surprisingly, Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo is within a tenth.
The two Honda cars are running harder compounds, so Raikkonen is potentially a little out of place at the top, there.
Yuki Tsunoda has just strapped some C5 – the softest compound – tyres onto his AlphaTauri.
It makes a big difference; he’s gone fastest of anyone over this test, 0.451 faster than Verstappen’s best time so far, for a 1’29.282
A messy spin for Lewis Hamilton, on an out lap, at the final turn.
He’s had to back off, of course and might well have flat-spotted the soft tyres he has on.
Slightly odd radio message from Mazepin – one of a rare sprinkling we’ve heard during this test.
Ha ha have a look at that onboard, I almost ****ing drove into Lewis.
Verstappen getting wide again at turn 11, also lost a little time behind Mazepin at turn one.
A last effort from Hamilton but he’s 1.3 seconds off Verstappen after going wide at turn four.
Testing ends with a bizarre on-track skirmish between Carlos Sainz Jnr and Kimi Raikkonen. The Ferrari driver threw his car down the inside of the Alfa Romeo at turn 10, they made contact ran wide, and then Sainz chased the Alfa Romeo back around the lap.
Hello everyone and welcome back to RaceFans Live and, once again, to another session from Bahrain. But we’re finally almost ready for the real action. First up it’s the new, shortened, one-hour first practice session at Bahrain International Circuit.
Like in testing, abnormally warm at this time of year.
Codename MSC is back in Formula 1 :-)
Best times by team so far:
1 Mercedes 1’32.214 2 Red Bull 1’32.453 +0.24 3 Ferrari 1’32.904 +0.69 4 AlphaTauri 1’33.288 +1.07 5 McLaren 1’33.361 +1.15 6 Aston Martin 1’33.954 +1.74 7 Alfa Romeo 1’34.204 +1.99 8 Williams 1’35.694 +3.48 9 Haas 1’36.046 +3.83 10 Alpine 1’36.284 +4.07
I see the end of the Mercedes domination is bearing fruit!!
The Friday practice sessions have been cut by 30 minutes this year. Carlos Sainz Jnr said yesterday having only one hour doesn’t matter as much at this track:
“It doesn’t help, less laps, in the end. But in a track like Bahrain we actually didn’t do a lot of laps in practice because there’s so much tyre degradation that you don’t have actually that many laps on the tyres. So it’s what it is.”
Any idea why there’s no Crofty in the commentary box for Sky?
Not that I’m complaining, mind!
wow it’s looking bad for Alpine, however you watch it
Norris in the mix, looking good!
Are teams still choosing their tyre allocation? It’s odd that many teams are using soft tyres this early…
No, they are not – same as last year, this year Pirelli is making the choices (due to more complicated logistics due to Covid measures).
The Sky guys mentioned that the teams might want to save mediums because they feel they will need them during the race. They are still using a single, or possibly the second set.
Ocon still haven’t set any time, has been running on hard tyres for ages. Alonso even further down and he did do a lap on softs too.
This is looking beautiful, Max just gone quickest and Merc and McLaren look strong too
Ah, now we are getting to see some real. Verstappen with a 1:31.4
Verstappen ends the first practice session on top, Mercedes second to Red Bull, McLaren looking good in the first session.
Best times by team:
1 Red Bull 1’31.394 2 Mercedes 1’31.692 +0.30 3 McLaren 1’31.897 +0.50 4 Ferrari 1’31.993 +0.60 5 AlphaTauri 1’32.195 +0.80 6 Alfa Romeo 1’32.786 +1.39 7 Aston Martin 1’33.157 +1.76 8 Alpine 1’33.528 +2.13 9 Williams 1’34.127 +2.73 10 Haas 1’34.501 +3.11
Early days but what is up with AM? 1.44s behind Merc. How much is the car and how much is the driver line-up?
We’re going to be announcing our Predictions Championship prize line-up very soon. In the meantime you can make your predictions for the opening race of 2021 here:
early days, but not looking good for Alpine and Aston… Merc up front in spite of the issues… Looig forwad FP2 for a more info ;-)
And German based F1TV users here? F1TV isn’t working. I know about the new deal with SKY, but I am a F1TV subscriber since the first day. I thought wouldn’t be affected by the new regulations….
Or is there somewhat of an outage – again?…
I can’t speak for Germany specifically, but here in the Netherlands F1TV worked fine (albeit i joined late cause work).
I would not be surprised if you got hit by the SKY deal. Glad we don’t have Sky here in NL.
First practice is over and Max Verstappen is fastest for Red Bull-Honda. Here are the times in full plus session report and visual gaps:
The wind seems to have picked up for FP2. I wonder how the Mercedes will cope with it.
Both rookies bringing the first bleeps into the season lol
BuT rEd BuLl iS tHe FaVoRiTe gUyS
When Mercedes locks out the front row tomorrow and gets P1 and P2 on sunday, can we just stop covering their team entirely? Because obviously everything they say is complete nonsense
Think I’ll wait and see. In fact, I think I’ll watch the whole season.
No need to stop covering them. Just understand that you have to take everything they say with a huge pinch of salt. They’ve tried to pretend other teams are faster than them before destroying all “competition” for years. Why would this year be any different?
We’ve got the Mercedes pair back on top 20 minutes into second practice:
Hamilton 1’31.261 Bottas 1’31.503 Verstappen 1’31.842 Perez 1’31.969 Sainz Jnr 1’32.050 Gasly 1’32.088 Leclerc 1’32.327 Russell 1’32.331 Tsunoda 1’32.397 Giovinazzi 1’32.449 Raikkonen 1’32.780 Stroll 1’32.787 Vettel 1’32.823 Alonso 1’32.893 Ricciardo 1’32.998 Norris 1’33.300 Latifi 1’33.400 Ocon 1’34.049 Schumacher 1’35.136 Mazepin 1’36.485
Fernando seems very unimpressive so far, even compared with his team mate Ocon.
As in first practice, an encouragingly close top three between Red Bull, Mercedes and McLaren – the latter seemingly delivering on the potential they showed in testing.
The big questions marks at the moment are Alpine and Aston Martin. Though I could believe the latter are still catching up on all that testing they didn’t manage to do…
It’s a bit early to be comparing team mates, but it’s fun, so let’s do it anyway:
1: RUS -1.069s LAT 2: GIO -1.04s RAI 3: VER -0.656s PER 4: SAI -0.485s LEC 5: STR -0.376s VET 6: NOR -0.288s RIC 7: TSU -0.189s GAS 8: OCO -0.169s ALO 9: SCH -0.152s MAZ 10: HAM -0.136s BOT
Sainz is the really interesting lap time for me so far. He’s still getting comfortable in the Ferrari and you have to expect there’s a few more tenths in there, but he’s within three-tenths of Verstappen.
Alonso’s multitasking, though.
Second practice is over and Max Verstappen is fastest for Red Bull-Honda. Here are the times in full plus session report and visual gaps:
And don’t forget to enter your predictions for this weekend’s race here:
The abnormal heat on both weekends (this and testing), though. 34-36 in FP1, high-30s in the first F2 race, and still 38. More like May-September.
Hello everyone and welcome to RaceFans Live for the final practice session for the 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix at Bahrain International Circuit!
Qualifying is coming up after this session so make sure you’ve sent in your Predictions Championship entries before then.
The top winner at the end of the year will collect over £2,500 of simracing hardware, including an ultra-realistic Fanatec Podium V2 direct drive wheel and base plus pedals. The champion will also win a 34-inch ultra-wide simracing monitor.
There are more prizes to win in every one of the 23 scheduled rounds on the 2021 F1 calendar. The top player will win a copy of the official Formula 1 game supplied by Codemasters, and the runner-up wins a pair of grand prix calendar tea towels.
Enter your prediction here now – you can edit it between now and the scheduled start of qualifying:
FP1 and FP3 tend to be rather useless in the Middle East, so I’m surprised these places still have three sessions rather than merely FP2.
It’s not that much less lively than the F2 race…
Huh, Ted talking about how that post-race check is related to cost cap in the sense that FIA wants to dig a bit deeper into the cars, to be able to see what’s changed (or not) at different teams and monitor that, interesting, hadn’t made that connection.
eh, shouldn’t be here, but at the top.
Final practice is begun but it’s all quiet so far.
As there’s no new times yet, here’s a look at yesterday’s:
1. Red Bull – 1’30.847 2. McLaren – 1’30.942 3. Mercedes – 1’31.082 4. Ferrari – 1’31.127 5. AlphaTauri – 1’31.294 6. Aston Martin – 1’31.393 7. Alpine – 1’31.601 8. Alfa Romeo – 1’31.740 9. Williams – 1’32.331 10. Haas – 1’33.297
Track’s getting a bit busier now, Carlos Sainz Jnr down to a 1’33.931, then Hamilton goes almost a full second faster.
Leclerc spins at turn two, doesn’t make it as far as the barrier as Raikkonen did yesterday.
“Grip is incredibly low,” he reports. “I’ll try another lap.”
I could expect a wave from Lando when his T-cam replay appeared.
Mazepin recovers after a spin: “All good, box this lap.”
Today’s times so far:
Gasly flying, probably less fuel/higher power mode, but that car does look very good here.
Though it has to be noted they are well off what they could do last year in qualifying (though that was of course later in the season too).
The time of year is quite irrelevant weather-wise, albeit difference in how developed cars are versus the beginning of a season.
Carlos Sainz Jnr played down his chances of out-qualifying new team mate Charles Leclerc today:
“Logic says this weekend is probably too early. Especially with how strong he is in qualifying. I don’t expect myself to out-qualify him, at all. We know how Charles is in qualifying and I’d be surprised, to be honest, I have only three-and-a-half days on the car.
“I know how strong I was with the McLaren after two years, how many little secrets, how many little tricks I knew from the car. And if someone new would come in and beat me in the first qualifying… the answer is it’s not logical.
“I’ll try my best, I always try. But the target is not to beat Charles this weekend, the target is to do a good first weekend for Ferrari and try to get both cars first in the top then and then as close to the top five as possible.”
Lewis Hamilton does a practice start and reports back his clutch felt “under-engaged”.
Perez has really been on it in the final sector this weekend.
Hamilton is told he’s improved in turns six and seven.
If anyone had said 10 years ago that in 2021 that Alonso, Vettel and Raikonnen would all be driving in F1 at the rear of the grid you would have been called insane. I wonder how qualifying will look.
Surely Mercedes is holding back and they’ll make a huge jump in quali…
I’d hate to have to say everyone hyping Red Bull were right and I was wrong :O
1:27.700/VER. I know the time prediction is ambitious based on practice sessions, but you never know.
That low, I went about a second slower.
Could be, but I’ve been fairly confident of something around 2019 and 2018 equivalents. We shall find out.
That we will :)
At last I get to see F1
Hello everyone and welcome to RaceFans Live for qualifying for the 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix.
Before we get stuck into the session, have you made your Bahrain Grand Prix predictions yet? You need to get them in before the scheduled starting time of qualifying so enter here now: https://www.racefans.net/2021/03/26/win-a-fanatec-direct-drive-steering-wheel-and-more-with-your-f1-predictions/
OK our first qualifying session of 2021 is go!
Who will be eliminated in Q1?
I’m going for the Haas pair, Giovinazzi, Ocon and Stroll.
Haas pair and then Alonso and Latifi.
Another spin for Nikita Mazepin, who had one in final practice earlier today.
Fingers crossed for Vettel to have a good session!
Q1 elimination predictions: Russell, Latifi, Raikkonen, Mazepin and Schumi Jr
MSC at the top of the times (for a few seconds)
That Haas really does not look like a great car this weekend, and esp. for Mazepin
Maybe he should stay off those kerbs for now.
The Aston and Merc look really really similar at night
Is the live timing app crashing on their Android phone?
Ah, only Android 7 onwards supported. I guess its now too difficult for my 6.1 phone to display a table of numbers.
Merc starting to open the taps, I fully believe it’ll be a Ham/Bottas 1-2
Either Mercedes is really suffering or AT has a beast of a car
Wow, GAS, TSU – that car clearly working well there. And TSU fastest of the two, definitely keeping the hype on!
Every time Honda pull out of F1 they do well. It’s a theory…
How does parc ferme affect VER’s floor repair?
I believe they are allowed to change it without breaking curfew
@scalextric I might be wrong, but I don’t think a new floor is a ‘setup’ change. I think they can put a new one on, so long as it’s of the same spec. It seems hard for the FIA to justify making someone run with a damaged floor or penalising them for it.
Da hell can Tsunoda or Gasly be in the fight?
It’s Q1, Merc and RB are running nowhere near 100%
How frustrated would Alonso be if Honda win the championship and Alpine finish behind McLaren 🤣
Hi everyone, this is going to be goooood
Have we been given the ideal tyre strategy for the race? S-H/M-H?
I wonder why HAM is saving a set of softs. For the end of the race? Or Q3?
Not that anyone cares, but I think I’m a Yuki fan this year, it’d be great to see him do something great.
Mazepin round AGAIN
Ocon terrible, Vettel didn’t get out of Q1
Disappointing from SAI. Time to improve though
Expect penalties after the yellow in S2
Wait who was yellow in S2? Someone else had to be
Yeah must have been a second spin, Mazepin was turn 1
Oh it said S2 on the tv, but it was Mazepin indeed
Ah it was Sainz probably
What’s the difference between Vettel and Mazepin? Just two places at the end of the grid.
bad timming for VET with the yellow flag
Quick judgement from one qualifying part: Mazepin should be no where near a formula 1 car. Just ruined that for a lot of drivers
Adverts during Sky coverage? This is new isn’t it?
Yeah, I can kinda deal with them between qualifying sessions. So long as it’s not like the days of ITV where missed live sections of the race!
Not sure I’m happy with it, does f1tv have adverts between qualifying sessions?
>Mazepin overtakes some top drivers like a tool to then spin in the very first corner of his lap
Peter Windsor will be licking his lips at the opportunity to disparage Vettel as usual
So his name is Mazespin right?
More like Mazebin; the only place he belongs
Incredibly harsh on Ocon and Vettel if others are punished after quali as they’ll miss Q2 because they followed the rules. It’s like they’ve been punished for following the rules and should have just gone for it…
Ocon messed up his 2nd sector his 1st sector was equal with Alonso
There was yellow flags. Think Saint broke down
Did he mess up or was it the Sainz yellow?
The FIA are too spineless to even enforce track limits, I don’t expect much
Yeah, they do need to find a way to make sure that following rules is not worse than skipping through (ie. start penalty and goodly amount of penalty points to worry them for next race?).
Mazepin spun in S1, but was there a yellow flag in S2?
Sainz broke down, did a Verstappen at turn 2
Ah I see
Sainz’s car cut out. Yellows in both sectors
Sainz’s engine cut out. He got back to the pits though.
Vettel has left Ferrari and they’re still screwing him
Classic crofty, the helmet has a Monaco flag on it and he thinks it’s Sainz
At which turns are track limits being enforced?
I am starting to notice that Mercedes have been quick on the Medium tyre…
But not on the softs… can’t wait for q3 and tomorrow
Finally the T4 limits are being enforced
Really not impressed with the decision to enforce them today but not tomorrow. They need a consistent solution.
Q3 is going to be interesting
Listening to this on the radio, at least Palmer is still on the BBC team.
I think alpha could make 2nd row
Ferrari starting on softs
The AT is a very impressive car, easily best of the rest. The Aston, not so much
Perez dumped out of Q2
Was Verstappen on softs for his Q2 lap?!
Verstappen on mediums
Thought so too, but official timing both on screen and on F1 site say soft. Guess that’s the thing Perez/Red Bull should have done. But Verstappen, didn’t need it, didn’t use it as far as I can see.
He was out in softs but didn’t improve his time
To be fair to Perez, three-tenths off Verstappen is rather a lot better than Albon usually did.
Except that VES was on 2 purples and also purple mini secotrs in S3 before the broke off his run. Could’ve been much faster.
He was on softs just in case
Tsunoda 13th? What happened there?
I can’t call it, think Verstappen will squeak Q3
Alonso casually puts it into Q3 having been nowhere in testing or the weekend so far.
Very Alonso, indeed.
He’s back. The grid was worse without him.
Wth Perez out
Did Checo gambled on tyres? Any othe explanations on his P11?
Red Bull wanted the mediums, so yeah, he stuck to mediums for 2nd run. Wrong choice, looking back (and ambitious/[over]confident at the time).
No, not a gamble. He was only 3 tenths off Verstappen’s lap time, which is usually easily enough to make the cut. Red Bull simply didn’t expect everyone else being so close, so a lot of midfield competitors jumped them with their Soft tyres.
I’m absolutely loving those gaps. Brilliant!
And what about Carlos ‘underdriving the car for now’ Sainz?!
This is crazy to call, it’s swinging so much between sessions
3 tenths off is better than what Albon did, but being out in Q2 is probably not ideal, unless Red Bull believe that 11th with free tyre choice is a better strategy
I doubt that’s why they put him on mediums for Q2 so he’d potentially have a better race strategy, right?!
Absolutely. Definitely not what they wanted at all.
McLaren looking good. Go Woking!
I’m shocked F1 hasn’t come up with a mask that people can talk in without having to adjust it every sentence
Need a good lap Norris
These guys just have 0.5 over everyoneeeeee. What a show
WOW, that AT is crazy
Hardly anything in it… please let it be like this allll season
Bottas half a second behind Hamilton?
Bottas is nowhere close to the top 2
Come on Gasly, you magnificent Frenchie!
Remember when he was the laughing stock in the paddock? I bet he has the last laugh now…
Yeah. I mean, some of it was self inflicted, but most just because Red Bull pushes till it cracks or shines.
But showing this couldn’t have happened to a cooler guy!
Website keeps annoying me with cookie settings
And forgetting me when I told it not to, yeah.
The usual question: has Hamilton produce a worldie, or Bottas just not with it
Well, Verstappen is faster anyway.
0.023 is nuts though. Holding in a cough may give that or add that to a time
Oh wait, Bottas on used tyres, while Hamilton on new
Bottas I think was using used three.
Unsafe release from Ferrari?
Wow, that looks promising! Go chew off them Mercedes asses!
The Aston is solidly midfield, nowhere close to what was crowed about
@inininin Definitely didn’t live up to the hype. But don’t forget that we’re using Stroll as a reference right now. The same Stroll who qualified 10th and 13th for last year’s Bahrain and Sakhir Grands Prix (and had an average qualifying result of 8.6). I agree that the car doesn’t look particularly promising in the onboard shots, but this one result doesn’t tell us that much yet – it’s not necessarily inconsistent with the car being as competitive as last year, but with the team paying the price for getting rid of their benchmark driver and replacing him with Vettel, who hasn’t hit the ground running.
Bottas on new set now
Verstappen’s got it based on that middle sector time surely.
Max is da boss!
3 tenths nice Max
That was fun. Shame they didn’t follow VER’s lap better. Not much social distancing chez Red Bull!
We might have a fight on our hands after all!
Great lap from Max
It’s a race tomorrow then. Can’t wait
Red Bull is still a one car team in qualy, bring on the race!
Perfect race tomorrow
Mercedes have some work to do. 4 tenths is too much for Hamilton to make up. The only advantage for them is Red Bull still don’t have a second car
Over one lap, race pace will be interesting
Yeah okay, I’ll admit I might have been slightly wrong regarding Red Bulls form.
On a positive: I don’t mind being wrong this time!
Heh, HAM nudging the 2nd sign forward so he can actually finish the corner well enough that VER doesn’t hit his rear wheel. Did feel that corner might have been a bit tight (and/or HAM not having practice at the 2nd?)
As I remember, the situation looked similar in last year, by that time I was wondering how will they be able to park there. So imo Hamilton did well there :)
Well it looks like we have a championship fight on our hands!
Here’s the grid for the 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix:
And here’s the qualifying report:
So, well done by Bottas to get himself back up to third. Probably helped that once again the 2nd RB wasn’t there, but even so, that was a good lap so that it’s a 2-1 fight with Verstappen.
the interesting thing is that hamilton was implying that he just couln’t have done better. In that case, exactly 2 tenths off hamilton for Bottas wasn’t bad at all. but he didn’t look comfortable in pretty much every other lap, or practice so we can’t be sure how well he will do in the race.
It’s exactly what Hamilton would say. I think some forget what a consummate canny operator he is. Too many see him as some joker. He plays the game very well, saying all the right things at the right time. Reminds me of those two other greats Federer and Nadal
It’s race day!!
Well, i must say that i quite like the F1TV pro pre race show. I now find it giving a better try at giving us interesting info than I got with the sky streams i was using in recent years!
I am afraid I disagree. The high-adrenaline pitched voices are tiresome.
Well, Bert, I did write it before Will Buxton got his race enthusiasm talking about the grid. I managed, but yeah, it is quite a bit over the top for just announcing who is where, would be fine if he managed to tone that one a bit down.
rooting for gasly!
Fun moment with the new “we race as one clip” – they got Mazespin saying the line about “everyone has to take responsibility”. I hope he will.
Indeed. Thanks for the advice, kiddo.
Any idea what time the race starts (China time)? I can’t find any English TV listings so I’ll be sitting here to catch up
In a few minutes
Thanks for the quick reply! I appreciate it
Should be in about 12 minutes, not sure what channel runs it in China though.
It’s usually on CCTV5 but I can’t find any information on the TV today. Maybe they don’t show the first race for whatever reason.
Strange. Did you try to see whether they offer F1TV pro for China now?
I can’t get any clips on the F1 website so I don’t think I can get the proTV thing. I’ll definitely look into it tomorrow though. Thanks for the suggestion
Good luck getting the feed MikeyB!
Thank you. This site works well so that’s good
Hello everyone and welcome to RaceFans Live for the 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix!
For the first time in a while it looks like Mercedes have a real fight on their hands coming into a new season.
There’s a huge 23-race campaign ahead of us (pandemic permitting), and hopefully the title fight will go the distance, or at least a bit further than last year’s.
Thanks very much to all of you for joining us today. I hope you’ve enjoyed our coverage so far this weekend. We will, of course, have lots more during and after the race.
In the meantime enjoy the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Who’s your tip for victory? I’m going for… Lewis Hamilton.
I can see a good scrap at the front but my money would be on Lewis too. Providing Mac doesn’t take anyone out in the first corner
I think Max will manage to stay ahead, Lewis might come under pressure a bit at the first few corners, depending on how well Bottas. Leclerc and Gasly start.
Also, I can see Leclerc causing some trouble in the first corners, despite his insistance that is somethign he wants to improve this year.
LeC on softs has a slim chance at an early lead but I think VER will disappear into the distance.
I want to know, since I have been asking this since yesterday…. Anyone know if it is a one-stop/two-stop?
James A said 2 stops will be fastest during the pre race.
It seems Pirelli got some info that a few teams might try for a one stopper though. Maybe a guy like Vettel or the Haas guys could try that – with the cooler temperatures, they seem to think it might work for them.
I’m predicting either a safety car or red flag in the first lap, there’s going to be a lot more cars capable of going for a podium than usual and they’re all going to want to do it at the start.
I think Verstappen will win this one.
Yeah, I also see quite a potential for a scrap, so Max being the first out and with the advantage of the clean line, he should be able to be ahead of any carnage there
Hi all, still going with a Max win, will be good to see the tussle
Seen the race strategy computation, and a two stop is the fastest predicted by Pirelli in the form of M-H-M
Will we get a repeat of 2014? As in the battle intensity?
Watch ALO at turn 1. Usually fun.
Evening all. Good to be back watching F1 again, looking forward to this one!
I’m making a bold predicition of 3 cars crashing out on lap 1, including Mazespin.
Oh wow… already drama
For goodness sakes Redbull
Why am I not surprised
Red Bull number 2 driver always has issues
Good thing they replaced his energy store, that will help him, right.
2 AM cars making up the end of the grid!
Big relief for Perez as he gets going again but you have to wonder if there’s some ultimately terminal problem going on in there.
I guess by now it’s almost a relieve that he did not have a stellar qualifying. Imagine qualifing that RB right next to Max and having the same issue. Maybe Honda did great work, but it’s not quite bullet proof!