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Verstappen pulls out Mercedes’ teeth, with Sainz and Alonso in the background


The Dutch dominate the first free session in Sakhir (1: 31.394), while the Spaniards finish eighth and sixteenth.

Verstappen, during the first free session of the Bahrain GP.
  • Carlos Sainz “If the car is to fight, we will try to fight”
  • Free 1 Classification and times
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It wasn’t just about punctuality, but maybe set design as well. When the clock struck the exact time, Fernando Alonso He led the pack in the inaugural practice of the Bahrain GP. The 2021 World Cup started with the two-time champion in front, followed by Esteban Ocon, Yuki Tsunoda Y Carlos Sainz. There was not a moment to lose, because the official preseason tests knew little and because the FIA ​​has decided to cut each free session to just one hour.

The conditions of the track, with 48 C on the asphalt, were nothing like those expected on Sunday, when the desert night offers a truce. The omens pointed to a rather bland session, but Sir Lewis Hamilton It only took four minutes to dispel some doubts that were scattered here two weeks ago (1: 32.844). Without wind and without dust, the seven-time champion showed the usual way, with three tenths of advantage over Max Verstappen, the man appointed for the succession. In any case, three seconds slower than his preseason record.

Test trends were consolidated with McLaren, where Lando Norris indulged in some luxury with his brand new Mercedes engine (1: 31.897), while Charles Leclerc (1: 31.993) luca incisive, with four tenths over Sainz (1: 32.366). With no clues about fuel loading, the key to understanding single-lap performance, in the Alpha Tauri box they enjoyed the regularity of Pierre Gasly and Tsunoda, who rolled more than anyone else. With the desire of any newcomer, he protested on the radio about traffic.

La ira de Tsunoda

The anger of the Japanese contrasted with the sufficiency of Kimi Raikkonen, who is twice his age and leads the adventure of Alfa Romeo, who seems to sit very well with the improvement of the Ferrari engine. Alonso, the other great veteran of the field, had to settle for sixteenth place, 35 cents worse than his garagemate.

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There is still much to do over the weekend at Alpine and Ferrari, where Sainz will have to beat the copper not only against Leclerc, but also against the strength of McLaren, who have already shown great pace in the long runs. There is so much fight to lead the middle of the grid that Aston Martin is again relegated, with Sebastian Vettel one second from the best lap of Sergio Prez.

The Mexican should not despair in his hand in hand against Verstappen, who will never lose the opportunity to frighten Mercedes. Seven minutes to the close of the session, Mad Max He pulverized the records in the first two sectors to top the table (1: 31.394). A warning, nothing more, for Mercedes and for what is to come.

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