FP1: Perez leads Alonso in first practice session of the 2023 F1 season
The first practice session of the 2023 season ended with Red Bull on top of the timesheets as Sergio Perez set the fastest lap over Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso in Free Practice 1 for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Perez's lap of 1m 32.758s saw him shoot to the top on soft tyres with 30 minutes of the hour remaining, while Alonso's soft-tyred lap put him second overall by four-tenths. Fellow two-time champion Max Verstappen was therefore bumped down to third overall, 0.617s off the pace set by his Red Bull team mate.
Lando Norris finished fourth overall for McLaren, while Charles Leclerc was the fastest driver on medium compounds in P5, 1.5s off the pace.
In the other Aston Martin, Lance Stroll (P6) returned after injuring his wrist in a pre-season cycling accident, which caused him to miss testing – though he spent much of the first half of FP1 in the garage with an ignition problem, only setting his first flying lap with 23 minutes left.
FORMULA 1 GULF AIR BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX 2023
Practice 1 results
|1 Sergio Perez PER Red Bull Racing||1:32.758|
|2 Fernando Alonso ALO Aston Martin||+0.438s|
|3 Max Verstappen VER Red Bull Racing||+0.617s|
|4 Lando Norris NOR McLaren||+1.407s|
|5 Charles Leclerc LEC Ferrari||+1.499s|
Kevin Magnussen finished seventh for Haas with the Alfa Romeos of Zhou Guanyu and Valtteri Bottas eighth and ninth, all three of them on soft tyres.
Rounding out the top 10 was Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton, ahead of team mate George Russell in P11 – neither Silver Arrow opting for a soft-tyred run.
McLaren rookie Oscar Piastri shrugged off an early snap of oversteer to finish 12th overall on softs, ahead of AlphaTauri's soft-tyred lapper Yuki Tsunoda in P13.
Haas's returning driver Nico Hulkenberg took P14 on softs, leaving Alpine's Esteban Ocon 15th on mediums and another rookie, Nyck de Vries, in P16 for AlphaTauri on soft tyres.
Pierre Gasly capped off a quiet showing for Alpine in P17, with the bottom four on the timesheets all opting to forgo a soft-tyred run.
Logan Sargeant finished 18th for Williams, the rookie opting for runs on hard compounds while others began the session on mediums. Alex Albon, who began with some red flow-vis paint on the back of his FW45, finished 3.458s off the pace in P19.
Carlos Sainz recovered from a spectacular spin at Turn 10 midway through the session but finished 20th overall for Ferrari, with more to come from the Spanish driver.
Second practice begins at 1800 local time with live coverage on F1.com. In the meantime, why not have a look at your F1 Fantasy team?