LIVE: F1 Bahrain 2021 pre-season testing - Day 1

Live text commentary on the first day of 2021 Formula 1 pre-season testing at the Bahrain International Circuit.

By: Haydn Cobb, Tom Howard, James Newbold, Jake Boxall-Legge


Leaderboard - Day 1

1. Verstappen, Red Bull, 1m30.674s
2. Norris, McLaren, 1m30.889s
3. Ocon, Alpine 1m31.146s
4. Stroll, Aston Martin, 1m31.782s
5. Sainz, Ferrari, 1m31.919s
6. Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo, 1m31.945s
7. Ricciardo, McLaren, 1m32.203s
8. Gasly, AlphaTauri, 1m32.231s
9. Tsunoda, AlphaTauri, 1m32.727s
10. Hamilton, Mercedes, 1m32.912s
11. Leclerc, Ferrari, 1m33.242s
12. Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo, 1m33.320s
13. Vettel, Aston Martin, 1m33.742s
14. Nissany, Williams, 1m34.789s
15. Mazepin, Haas, 1m34.798s
16. Schumacher, Haas, 1m36.127s
17. Bottas, Mercedes, 1m36.850s

What's happened so far?

  • Verstappen fastest from Norris and Ocon this afternoon
  • Sandstorm created initially tricky conditions after lunch break
  • Mazepin, Schumacher (Haas) and Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) make first appearances
  • Reborn McLaren-Mercedes combination gets off to encouraging early start with team newcomer Daniel Ricciardo fastest in the morning
  • Gearbox changes for Bottas and Schumacher in the first half of the day
  • Mechanical problem for Leclerc's Ferrari brought out the first red flag of F1's 2021 pre-season test with 10 minutes remaining of the morning session
Status: Stopped

That is Day 1 in the books but join us again tomorrow bright and early for full coverage of the second day of F1 pre-season testing from Bahrain. Track action begins at 7am UK time (10am local time), so don't miss out! Until then have a lovely Friday.

Here's the full report on today's F1 pre-season testing action:

No doubt the analysis and data work for all F1 teams will go long into the night in preparation for tomorrow. Remember, there are just two days left of 2021 pre-season testing before the opening race.


More problems for Mercedes? Hamilton returns to the Mercedes garage and is greeted by a chap wearing rubber gloves and safety clothing who checks on the car, which would indicate a potential electrical issue.

But it counts for little under the VSC as the red flags are waved to declare that the day's track action is complete. Verstappen and Red Bull claim the headlines in the dust.

The TV graphics have decided enough is enough but there is still a littler over a minute left to go.

Moments later Norris does effectively the same thing as Hamilton at the first corner but only more dramatically. It doesn't look related to the McLaren driver's off, given he has got going again, but a Virtual Safety Car has been called.

Hamilton isn't giving up on searching for a decent push lap as he prepares to go again but it ends almost as quickly as it began when he snatches the brakes at Turn 1, locking up and going wide into the dusty run-off.

And how about F1 world champions Mercedes? Hamilton and Bottas have done 45 laps combined today with 10 minutes to go and no lap times that are worth shouting about. Hamilton sums up his day with a wide moment coming out of Turn 10 and has to back out.

Sainz, looking to get in on the act for Ferrari, goes P5 with a 1m31.919s to go 1.2s off Verstappen on the same yellow-walled C3 tyres.

It has been an eye-catching day down at both McLaren and Alpine too. Norris (P2) and Ricciardo (P6) have combined to produce 86 laps, while Ocon (P3) as done 124 laps on his own.

Verstappen, who dominated the 2020 final race let's not forget, is putting in a similar display today. Most laps by an individual driver and the fastest time of the day - aside from an early spin it has been the perfect day for Red Bull.

There is a wide selection of tyre compounds on show currently, from both C3s up to C1, and Stroll is on a quicker lap for Aston Martin with a new set of the no mark C3 tyres. Stroll puts in a 1m31.782s to jump up to P4.


Norris puts in a 1m30.889s on the C3s to put himself P2 on the times once again to make it a really good day for McLaren so far. Verstappen's last lap was in the 1m30s but three-tenths off his best.

This one isn't ending quietly though, as both Norris and Verstappen are lighting up the timing screens...

Closing in on the end of the opening day which means a third of F1 pre-season testing for 2021 will be done and dusted - well definitely dusty. Haydn Cobb will see you through to the chequered flag.

Stroll, Giovinazzi and a Haas the only cars on track, all gathering more numbers and data to throw into their respective simulation software packages.
A lesser-spotted Alonso is lurking in the Alpine pits - he'll get his turn with the A521 tomorrow.
Norris was briefly the only man on track, but he's now accosted by Nissany and Stroll. Norris on drums, Roy on we know if Stroll plays an instrument?
Combining all of the best sectors we get a, in other words, Verstappen's set all of the best sectors on his quickest lap. As you were.
Yeah, it's 0.4s off his best - so he couldn't quite beat his own target. Nice-looking middle sector, though.
Norris has a few purple micro-sectors going on in this lap, but it's not much quicker so far...
Ocon with another personal best, logging a 1m31.146s - 0.4s off Verstappen's latest benchmark.
My, is that the time? We have just under 50 minutes remaining of day 1 - it's gone by rather quickly!
Sainz had been on a better lap, but towards the end of his most recent tour he just lost a little time in the final sector, going 0.05s slower than his best.
Sainz, meanwhile, had a moment at Turn 11 and had a little bit of a spin. Cue the Ferrari spinning memes...
There's Verstappen with a new quickest lap, a 1m30.674s, on the C3s.
Sainz is back on the track, as is Hamilton. Stroll's also getting some mileage too, while Verstappen's on a quick one as we speak...
Some fans less happy with the idea of sprints - but don't knock it 'til you try it, right? It might be fun...
The F1 teams are happy with the progressing talks about sprint races - here's the full story from us:
Giovinazzi completes his 44th lap of the day, taking Alfa Romeo's count up to 107 laps.
The #9 gets deep into turn 1, locking a wheel and diving into the dust.
Ocon's about to complete his second race distance of the day, closing in on his 114th lap. The Alpine has logged a mountain of running today.

The green makes it look like a tomato. Or a strawberry. 


Red Bull team boss Christian Horner had a quick word with FOM's live feed, here's what he had to say:

"Obviously conditions are tricky for everybody, but it’s just good to be back out on-track and getting some mileage in and learning and getting a feel for the car.

"I think it’s slippery for everyone out there. It is what it is. I think the driver was happy with the car, so I think it was a good start.

"We’re more focused on ourselves than what others are doing. Of course, all teams take pictures of the other cars and pictures will come in overnight. Our focus is on that of our own and our progress at the moment."
Ocon coaxes those softs to P2, logging a 1m31.626s - just 0.2s off Verstappen's headline time. Both are on 110 laps.
Verstappen kicking up an awful lot of dust on the start-finish straight. We remember the days of Bernie's Sprinklers to force rain races - do we now have Stefano's Sand?
Ocon's now out on a set of soft tyres, we've not been able to see if they're C4s or C5s yet. We suspect the former - the C5s are usually reserved for the final day.