2022 F1 Bahrain test: Leclerc tops morning session as final test begins

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc set the pace on the opening morning of Formula 1’s second 2022 pre-season test, which got underway in Bahrain on Thursday.

2022 F1 Bahrain test: Leclerc tops morning session as final test begins

AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly led the pack out of the pits when the first four-hour session of the three-day event got underway at 10am local time – the Frenchman’s car adorned with an enormous aerodynamic-load measuring rake.

Most of the cars made early forays with rakes attached – although not Haas, which missed all the opening session due to freight delays meaning its VF-22 could not be readied in time.

After the heavily-revised Mercedes W13 was revealed in the full-grid promotion shots F1 organised ahead of the track running starting, there was plenty of attention being paid to Lewis Hamilton’s opening laps running the car and its near non-existent sidepods.

He established the early first place benchmark at 1m41.502s on the C2 hard compound, but that time was quickly worked down as the field reached representative times at the end of the opening half an hour.

At Red Bull, Sergio Perez was aboard the RB18 and he took over from Hamilton at the head of the times with a 1m38.953s.

But as the opening hour drew to a close, Leclerc put in a 1m35.953s on the soft C4 rubber, the second softest of the five compounds Pirelli will use in 2022.

After a lull in action over the next hour, Leclerc, by then switched to the yellow-walled C3s, went quicker again to post a 1m34.531s, which stood as the session’s best to the close at 2pm local time.

Hamilton jumped up the order to sit second, 1.834s off Leclerc’s time, also on the C3s a few minutes after the Ferrari driver had posted the best time.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13

Photo by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images

But the seven-time world champion was shuffled down the order over the second half of the session to end up fifth quickest.

He was beaten by Williams’ Alex Albon, who’s 1m30.070s was 0.539s behind Leclerc – the returning racer having to pit and get out of the FW44 as his seat was getting too hot at the end of the opening hour.

Read Also:

Sebastian Vettel was third for Aston Martin ahead of Perez, with Vettel one of a number of drivers locking up heavily at the double left of Turns 9/10 ahead of the Sakhir track’s back straight.

Hamilton was followed by Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, with Zhou, who stopped at the pitlane entrance and climbed out of his Alfa with just over 90 minutes remaining, although once his car had been returned to the Alfa garage he was soon able to rejoin the action.

Lando Norris finished eighth for McLaren – the Briton making an unexpectedly early start to his Bahrain running as Daniel Ricciardo, who was slated to run first, felt unwell and it was decided to get Norris in the MCL36 instead.

Gasly finished with the slowest lap of the first session, 3.357s off the pace on the C2 rubber.

At Haas, which is aiming to get out on track for the afternoon/evening session, new re-signing Kevin Magnussen was spotted having a tour of the garage as he prepares to rejoin the American squad in a shock move back to F1 following Nikita Mazepin’s exit.

The porpoising effect that dominated proceedings at the Barcelona test was again on display, with the Mercedes and Ferrari cars suffering particularly badly on their push laps – the impacts with the ground audible on the cars’ onboard cameras.

Three teams – Mercedes, Ferrari and Alfa – were running with stiffening strakes on their cars’ rear floors to try and minimise the porpoising.

This was something Mercedes tried at the end of Barcelona testing when it set that event’s best laptimes – although it is not thought to be a permanent solution.

Red Bull completed the most laps during the morning, with Perez completing 70 tours aboard the RB18 compared to 64 for Leclerc.

Meanwhile, Hamilton delivered 62 tours as Mercedes worked to correlate its headline-grabbing design changes with its own simulations.

Notwithstanding the absent Haas, it was Norris and McLaren who ran for the fewest laps as the Brit crossed the line just 21 times.

Vettel was also comparatively low on track time as the Aston Martin ran for 39 laps to trail Ocon on 42, with Gasly chalked 44 tours.

2022 Bahrain F1 test: Day 1, morning times

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:34.531 64
2 Alexander Albon Williams 1:35.070 53
3 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 1:35.706 38
4 Sergio Perez Red Bull 1:35.977 70
5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:36.365 62
6 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:36.768 42
7 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo 1:37.164 54
8 Lando Norris McLaren 1:37.580 21
9 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 1:37.888 44
shares
comments
Brawn: Extreme Mercedes design not anticipated by F1 2022 rules
Previous article

Brawn: Extreme Mercedes design not anticipated by F1 2022 rules

Next article

The university project that Newey’s F1 rivals should not forget

The university project that Newey’s F1 rivals should not forget
The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023 Plus

The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023

Changes to the regulations for season two of Formula 1's ground-effects era aim to smooth out last year’s troubles and shut down loopholes. But what areas have been targeted, and what impact will this have?

Are these the 50 quickest drivers in F1 history? Plus

Are these the 50 quickest drivers in F1 history?

Who are the quickest drivers in Formula 1 history? LUKE SMITH asked a jury of experienced and international panel of experts and F1 insiders. Some of them have worked closely with F1’s fastest-ever drivers – so who better to vote on our all-time top 50? We’re talking all-out speed here rather than size of trophy cabinet, so the results may surprise you…

Formula 1
Jan 25, 2023
One easy way the FIA could instantly improve F1 Plus

One easy way the FIA could instantly improve F1

OPINION: During what is traditionally a very quiet time of year in the Formula 1 news cycle, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has been generating headlines. He’s been commenting on massive topics in a championship that loves them, but also addressing necessary smaller changes too. Here we suggest a further refinement that would be a big boon to fans

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2023
How can McLaren keep hold of Norris? Plus

How can McLaren keep hold of Norris?

Lando Norris is no longer the young cheeky-chappy at McLaren; he’s now the established ace. And F1's big guns will come calling if the team can’t give him a competitive car. Here's what the team needs to do to retain its prize asset

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2023
What difference did F1's fastest pitstops of 2022 make? Plus

What difference did F1's fastest pitstops of 2022 make?

While a quick pitstop can make all the difference to the outcome of a Formula 1 race, most team managers say consistency is more important than pure speed. MATT KEW analyses the fastest pitstops from last season to see which ones – if any – made a genuine impact

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2023
When F1 ‘holiday’ races kept drivers busy through the winter Plus

When F1 ‘holiday’ races kept drivers busy through the winter

Modern Formula 1 fans have grown accustomed to a lull in racing during winter in the northern hemisphere. But, as MAURICE HAMILTON explains, there was a time when teams headed south of the equator rather than bunkering down in the factory. And why not? There was fun to be had, money to be made and reputations to forge…

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2023
What Porsche social media frenzy says about F1’s manufacturer allure Plus

What Porsche social media frenzy says about F1’s manufacturer allure

Porsche whipped up a frenzy thanks to a cryptic social media post last week and, although it turned out to be a false alarm, it also highlighted why manufacturers remain such an important element in terms of the attraction that they bring to F1. It is little wonder that several other manufacturers are bidding for a slice of the action

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2023
Why the new Williams boss shouldn’t avoid ‘Mercedes B-team’ comparisons Plus

Why the new Williams boss shouldn’t avoid ‘Mercedes B-team’ comparisons

OPINION: Williams has moved to replace the departed Jost Capito by appointing former Mercedes chief strategist James Vowles as its new team principal. But while he has sought to play down the idea of moulding his new squad into a vision of his old one, some overlap is only to be expected and perhaps shouldn't be shied away from

Formula 1
Jan 17, 2023