RaceFans Live: 2021 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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1,468 comments on “RaceFans Live: 2021 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix”

    1. 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:


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

    1. 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’.

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

    1. 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.

  10. 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:

  11. 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! :)

  12. 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?

    1. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

    Red Bull Racing RB16B, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

  16. Lap times after the first hour:

    1. Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo C41: 1’34.686 12 laps
    2. Charles LeclercFerrari SF21: 1’34.803 (+0.117) 17 laps
    3. Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri AT02: 1’34.855 (+0.169) 17 laps
    4. Max VerstappenRed Bull RB16B: 1’35.008 (+0.322) 9 laps
    5. Esteban Ocon – Alpine A521: 1’35.150 (+0.464) 12 laps
    6. Daniel RicciardoMcLaren 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 BottasMercedes W12 1 lap

  17. 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…

  18. 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.

  19. Here are the times after the first two hours:

    1. Daniel RicciardoMcLaren MCL35M: 1’32.537 28 laps
    2. Max VerstappenRed Bull RB16B: 1’32.565 (+0.028) 25 laps
    3. Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri AT02: 1’33.157 (+0.620) 32 laps
    4. Charles LeclercFerrari SF21: 1’33.570 (+1.033) 35 laps
    5. Esteban OconAlpine A521: 1’33.845 (+1.308) 30 laps
    6. Sebastian Vettel – AMR21: 1’34.008 (+1.471) 26 laps
    7. Kimi RaikkonenAlfa 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 BottasMercedes W12 1 lap

  20. 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.

    Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

  21. One hour left to run in the morning session – here are the times:

    1. Daniel RicciardoMcLaren MCL35M: 1’32.203 37 laps
    2. Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri AT02: 1’32.231 (+0.028) 55 laps
    3. Max VerstappenRed Bull RB16B: 1’32.565 (+0.362) 41 laps
    4. Esteban OconAlpine A521: 1’33.030 (+0.827) 43 laps
    5. Charles LeclercFerrari SF21: 1’33.242 (+1.039) 47 laps
    6. Kimi RaikkonenAlfa 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 BottasMercedes W12: No time – 1 lap

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

    Mercedes W12 floor, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

    Haas VF-21 launch, Bahrain, 2021

  26. 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.

  27. 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

  28. 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.

  29. Two hours to go in the first test, here’s how the times are looking:

    1. Max VerstappenRed Bull RB16B: 1’31.412 94 laps
    2. Lando NorrisMcLaren MCL35M: 1’31.809 (+0.397) 20 laps
    3. Daniel RicciardoMcLaren MCL35M: 1’32.203 (+0.791) 45 laps
    4. Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri AT02: 1’32.231 (+0.819) 74 laps
    5. Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo C41: 1’32.415 (+1.003) 25 laps
    6. Yuki Tsunoda – AlphaTauri AT02: 1’32.727 (+1.315) 25 laps
    7. Esteban OconAlpine A521: 1’32.843 (+1.431) 101 laps
    8. Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari SF21: 1’32.869 (+1.457) 29 laps
    9. Charles LeclercFerrari SF21: 1’33.242 (+1.830) 59 laps
    10. Kimi RaikkonenAlfa 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 HamiltonMercedes W12: 1’34.875 (+3.463) 16 laps
    14. Nikita MazepinHaas VF-21: 1’35.417 (+4.005) 28 laps
    15. Mick Schumacher – Haas VF-21: 1’36.127 (+4.715) 15 laps
    16. Valtteri BottasMercedes W12: 1’36.850 (+5.438) 6 laps

  30. 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.

  31. One hour left in the first test of the year:
    1. Max VerstappenRed Bull RB16B: 1’31.412 110 laps
    2. Esteban OconAlpine A521: 1’31.626 (+0.214) 113 laps
    3. Lando NorrisMcLaren MCL35M: 1’31.809 (+0.397) 33 laps
    4. Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo C41: 1’31.945 (+0.533) 45 laps
    5. Daniel RicciardoMcLaren MCL35M: 1’32.203 (+0.791) 45 laps
    6. Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri AT02: 1’32.231 (+0.819) 74 laps
    7. Yuki Tsunoda – AlphaTauri AT02: 1’32.727 (+1.315) 37 laps
    8. Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari SF21: 1’32.869 (+1.457) 39 laps
    9. Lewis HamiltonMercedes W12: 1’32.912 (+1.500) 27 laps
    10. Charles LeclercFerrari SF21: 1’33.242 (+1.830) 59 laps
    11. Kimi RaikkonenAlfa 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 MazepinHaas VF-21: 1’34.798 (+3.386) 46 laps
    15. Mick Schumacher – Haas VF-21: 1’36.127 (+4.715) 15 laps
    16. Valtteri BottasMercedes W12: 1’36.850 (+5.438) 6 laps

  32. Here’s an early look at the times:

    1. Nikita MazepinHaas VF-21: 1’34.517 7 laps
    2. Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari SF21: 1’34.557 (+0.040) 6 laps
    3. Fernando AlonsoAlpine A521: 1’34.996 (+0.479) 6 laps
    4. Sergio PerezRed Bull RB16B: 1’36.113 (+1.596) 3 laps
    5. Yuki Tsunoda – AlphaTauri AT02: 1’37.067 (+2.550) 8 laps
    6. Lewis HamiltonMercedes W12: 1’38.857 (+4.340) 5 laps
    7. Nicholas LatifiWilliams FW43B: 1’53.696 (+19.179) 4 laps
    12. Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo C41: 3 laps
    13. Daniel RicciardoMcLaren MCL35M: 3 laps
    14. Sebastian Vettel – AMR21: 3 laps

    Last updated at: 8:31 CET

  33. 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 JnrFerrari SF21: 1’33.072 12 laps
    2. Nikita MazepinHaas VF-21: 1’33.731 (+0.659) 14 laps
    3. Fernando AlonsoAlpine A521: 1’34.253 (+1.181) 12 laps
    4. Lewis HamiltonMercedes W12: 1’34.559 (+1.487) 14 laps
    5. Nicholas LatifiWilliams FW43B: 1’34.608 (+1.536) 16 laps
    6. Sergio PerezRed Bull RB16B: 1’35.534 (+2.462) 12 laps
    7. Yuki Tsunoda – AlphaTauri AT02: 1’37.067 (+3.995) 17 laps
    8. Daniel RicciardoMcLaren MCL35M: 9 laps
    9. Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo C41: 3 laps
    10. Sebastian Vettel – AMR21: 3 laps

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. Here are the times after the first two hours.

    Still only Haas and Williams quicker than yesterday:

    1. Fernando AlonsoAlpine A521: 1’32.339 32 laps
    2. Daniel RicciardoMcLaren MCL35M: 1’32.598 (+0.259) 23 laps
    3. Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari SF21: 1’33.072 (+0.733) 17 laps
    4. Nikita MazepinHaas VF-21: 1’33.101 (+0.762) 26 laps
    5. Sergio PerezRed Bull RB16B: 1’33.248 (+0.909) 23 laps
    6. Lewis HamiltonMercedes W12: 1’33.399 (+1.060) 33 laps
    7. Nicholas LatifiWilliams FW43B: 1’33.498 (+1.159) 29 laps
    8. Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri AT02: 1’34.794 (+2.455) 33 laps
    9. Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo C41: 1’37.911 (+5.572) 24 laps
    10. Sebastian Vettel – AMR21: 1’38.849 (+6.510) 6 laps

  37. 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.”

    Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

  38. 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.”

  39. 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.”

    Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

  40. Here’s the state of play with two hours to go:

    1. Daniel RicciardoMcLaren MCL35M: 1’32.215 52 laps
    2. Fernando AlonsoAlpine A521: 1’32.339 (+0.124) 84 laps
    3. Sergio PerezRed Bull RB16B: 1’32.478 (+0.263) 85 laps
    4. Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo C41: 1’32.486 (+0.271) 97 laps
    5. Nicholas LatifiWilliams 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 JnrFerrari SF21: 1’33.072 (+0.857) 56 laps
    9. Nikita MazepinHaas VF-21: 1’33.101 (+0.886) 76 laps
    10. Lewis HamiltonMercedes W12: 1’33.399 (+1.184) 58 laps
    11. Valtteri BottasMercedes W12: 1’33.581 (+1.366) 24 laps
    12. Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri AT02: 1’36.214 (+3.999) 48 laps
    13. Charles LeclercFerrari SF21: 1’36.875 (+4.660) 40 laps
    14. Sebastian Vettel – AMR21: 1’38.849 (+6.634) 10 laps

  41. 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

    Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

    Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

  42. 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.

  43. 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.

  44. 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

  45. 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.

    Nicholas Latifi, Williams, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

  46. 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.

  47. Here are the times after the first hour:

    1. Charles LeclercFerrari SF21: 1’30.486 11 laps
    2. Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri AT02: 1’31.233 (+0.747) 15 laps
    3. Esteban OconAlpine A521: 1’31.844 (+1.358) 15 laps
    4. Sergio PerezRed Bull RB16B: 1’31.890 (+1.404) 16 laps
    5. Mick SchumacherHaas VF-21: 1’32.053 (+1.567) 16 laps
    6. Valtteri BottasMercedes W12: 1’32.635 (+2.149) 19 laps
    7. George RussellWilliams FW43B: 1’32.731 (+2.245) 21 laps
    8. Lando NorrisMcLaren MCL35M: 1’33.745 (+3.259) 8 laps
    9. Lance Stroll – Aston Martin AMR21: 1’36.100 (+5.614) 23 laps
    10. Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo C41: 1’36.640 (+6.154) 17 laps

  48. 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)

  49. We’re halfway through the morning running. Ferrari and Haas are the only teams who’ve improved their lap times so far today.

    1. Charles LeclercFerrari SF21: 1’30.486 11 laps
    2. Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri AT02: 1’31.233 (+0.747) 15 laps
    3. Esteban OconAlpine A521: 1’31.844 (+1.358) 15 laps
    4. Sergio PerezRed Bull RB16B: 1’31.890 (+1.404) 16 laps
    5. Mick SchumacherHaas VF-21: 1’32.053 (+1.567) 16 laps
    6. Valtteri BottasMercedes W12: 1’32.635 (+2.149) 19 laps
    7. George RussellWilliams FW43B: 1’32.731 (+2.245) 21 laps
    8. Lando NorrisMcLaren MCL35M: 1’33.745 (+3.259) 8 laps
    9. Lance StrollAston Martin AMR21: 1’36.100 (+5.614) 23 laps
    10. Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo C41: 1’36.640 (+6.154) 17 laps

  50. 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.

  51. 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

    Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

  52. 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.”

    Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

  53. The usual red flags end the session so drivers can do practice starts. Here are the times at lunch:

    1. Sergio PerezRed Bull RB16B: 1’30.187 47 laps
    2. Charles LeclercFerrari SF21: 1’30.486 (+0.299) 80 laps
    3. Lando NorrisMcLaren MCL35M: 1’30.661 (+0.474) 56 laps
    4. Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri AT02: 1’30.828 (+0.641) 74 laps
    5. Esteban OconAlpine A521: 1’31.310 (+1.123) 61 laps
    6. Mick SchumacherHaas VF-21: 1’32.053 (+1.866) 76 laps
    7. Valtteri BottasMercedes W12: 1’32.406 (+2.219) 84 laps
    8. George RussellWilliams FW43B: 1’32.731 (+2.544) 77 laps
    9. Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo C41: 1’35.274 (+5.087) 91 laps
    10. Lance StrollAston Martin AMR21: 1’36.100 (+5.913) 80 laps

  54. 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

  55. 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.

  56. 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.

  57. 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.

  58. 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.

  59. 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

  60. Here’s our run-down of the times with two hours to go:

    1. Sergio PerezRed Bull RB16B: 1’30.187 49 laps
    2. Charles LeclercFerrari SF21: 1’30.486 (+0.299) 80 laps
    3. Daniel RicciardoMcLaren MCL35M: 1’30.587 (+0.400) 23 laps
    4. Lando NorrisMcLaren MCL35M: 1’30.661 (+0.474) 56 laps
    5. Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri AT02: 1’30.828 (+0.641) 76 laps
    6. Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo C41: 1’30.990 (+0.803) 123 laps
    7. Fernando AlonsoAlpine A521: 1’31.212 (+1.025) 32 laps
    8. Esteban OconAlpine A521: 1’31.310 (+1.123) 61 laps
    9. Max VerstappenRed Bull RB16B: 1’31.426 (+1.239) 32 laps
    10. Nikita MazepinHaas VF-21: 1’31.531 (+1.344) 25 laps
    11. Mick SchumacherHaas VF-21: 1’32.053 (+1.866) 78 laps
    12. Valtteri BottasMercedes W12: 1’32.406 (+2.219) 86 laps
    13. George RussellWilliams FW43B: 1’32.731 (+2.544) 116 laps
    14. Lewis HamiltonMercedes W12: 1’32.886 (+2.699) 21 laps
    15. Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari SF21: 1’35.050 (+4.863) 46 laps
    16. Sebastian VettelAston Martin AMR21: 1’35.176 (+4.989) 49 laps
    17. Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri AT02: 1’35.200 (+5.013) 58 laps
    18. Lance StrollAston Martin AMR21: 1’36.100 (+5.913) 80 laps

  61. 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.

  62. 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.

  63. 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.

  64. 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.

  65. 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.

  66. 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

  67. 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.”

    1. 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.

  68. 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

  69. 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….

    1. 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?

  70. 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

  71. 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…

  72. 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

  73. 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:


      1. 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.

  74. 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

  75. Today’s times so far:

    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

  76. 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.”

  77. 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.

  78. 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…

    1. 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.

    1. @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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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

      1. 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.

          1. 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

  79. 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.

    1. 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.

  80. 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.

    1. 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!