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Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12
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Analysis

The data that shows F1 is much closer in 2021 - with Red Bull ahead

Formula 1's pre-season test at Bahrain hinted at a much closer competition for 2021 - but as ever, reading too deeply into testing is often folly. However, the opening pair of practice sessions for the Bahrain GP also suggested that this season could be impossible to call....

Formula 1 is almost there. The championship is now just one day away from qualifying for the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix – the point at which everyone has endlessly been saying will be the moment when each team’s true potential will be revealed.

But before reaching the PR promised land, the 10 teams and 20 drivers still had to negotiate the opening practice running of the season, with the usual pair of sessions taking place on Friday. For 2021, however, these have been cut by 30 minutes down to an hour each. But the teams still have the same number of tyre sets available as they did in 2020, which meant the two practice sessions today were nice and lively throughout.

Previous article Leclerc "didn't expect to be as competitive" in Bahrain F1 practice
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