How all 10 teams fared in Bahrain's Official Pre-Season Test
Three days of pre-season testing in Bahrain stood between the teams and the opening race of the season. Conditions were vastly different to the cool spring temperatures of Barcelona, and as the heat took hold, reliability issues started to crop up. Add in some pretty major car evolutions since the 2022 machines were last on track, and there was plenty to discuss ahead of the opening race of the season. Here's how all 10 teams got on in Bahrain, in lap count order.
Total Laps – 384
Fastest Lap – 1m 32.759s (Russell)
It was a mixed bag for Mercedes in Bahrain. They topped the lap charts with a whopping 384 circuits around this desert track, but they didn’t trouble the top of the timing sheets. What they did do is cause the biggest stir of the whole of testing when they unveiled their very sleek sidepods on Day 1, going in a completely different design direction from everyone else. But it didn’t seem to help their porpoising issues, and they seem to have their work cut out ahead of the first race of the season.
Total Laps – 370
Fastest Lap – 1m 33.002s (Tsunoda)
Lots of laps for AlphaTauri and no real reliability concerns. So far so good for the team, and in Pierre Gasly they have a proven performer who is just getting better and better with age. Yuki Tsunoda has said he has grown in confidence, and with a season under his belt, is well placed to kick on. The only question marks are over the car, with nothing particularly eye-catching on show. But with some of their rivals struggling, they could be well placed to make a bid for the top of the midfield.
Total Laps – 349
Fastest Lap – 1m 32.415s (Leclerc)
Ferrari were the talk of the town on Day 1 and 2, consistently quick laps being laid down by both their drivers. Everyone was in rare agreement in the paddock that they were fast, and they didn’t appear to have any reliability problems. They might have been pipped by Red Bull right at the end of Day 3, but nonetheless the Scuderia looks well placed to mount a charge this season.
Total Laps – 343
Fastest Lap – 1m 32.959s (Zhou)
After troubled running in Barcelona, with plenty of mechanical issues, Bahrain went much more smoothly for Alfa Romeo. Zhou Guanyu got plenty of laps under his belt and even a practice standing start, while Valtteri Bottas likewise spent a fair amount of time on track. The Finn did stop twice though, with the hydraulics playing up, but those looked relatively minor issues compared to the problems of Barcelona.
Total Laps – 339
Fastest Lap – 1m 33.821s (Vettel)
This was a good test for Aston Martin, another team to sail through relatively untroubled. The only fly in the ointment was a stop out on track for Sebastian Vettel on Day 2, but the German wasn’t confined to the pits for long once the team recovered his car, with the issue a relatively minor one. Their pace remains a slight unknown, but there is certainly no major cause for concern with the first race just days away.
Total Laps – 319
Fastest Lap – 1m 31.720s (Verstappen)
Red Bull quietly but assuredly cracked on with their programme on the opening two days, there or thereabouts. Roll on Day 3 and they ran a very different looking car after a raft of upgrades arrived, including a different sidepod design. And whatever they’ve done – it worked. Sergio Perez topped the morning session, and Max Verstappen was comfortably quickest under the lights. So much so that a spin for the Dutchman was soon forgotten.
Total Laps – 299
Fastest Lap – 1m 32.698s (Alonso)
Esteban Ocon shone on Day 2, topping the timing sheets in the morning session despite the temperatures absolutely soaring out there. With plenty of long runs under his belt, it was a good showing by the Frenchman and one that Fernando Alonso was able to match on the final day. No obvious reliability problems, the Spaniard put down a quick lap late on under the lights on Day 3 to raise a few eyebrows out there.
Total Laps – 258
Fastest Lap – 1m 33.959s (Zhou)
Williams had a good opening day, but it went awry on Day 2. Nicholas Latifi was in the car when the brakes caught on fire, causing him to spin. Things evolved quite rapidly from there, so much so that the team couldn’t get the car fixed in time to run again and the Canadian was limited to just 12 laps. But roll on Day 3 and he more than made up for his lack of running with a mighty 124 laps. Alex Albon had a quiet but composed test, and seems to have bedded in well with his new team as the first race looms large.
Total Laps – 199
Fastest Lap – 1m 33.191s (Norris)
They were one of the picks in Barcelona, but on Day 1, things started to unravel for McLaren. First, Daniel Ricciardo was unable to drive after feeling unwell, later being diagnosed with Covid which meant he missed all three days. Then Lando Norris encountered braking issues, with overheating looking a problem for the team. It couldn’t be fully fixed and cost the youngster plenty of running across the three days, not to mention limiting his longer runs to just the final day. Can they fix the problem before the first race? That’s the big question, as when they are running, McLaren do look quick.
Total Laps – 253
Fastest Lap – 1m 32.241s (Schumacher)
Haas’s test got off to the worst possible start. Freight delays through no fault of their own meant they couldn’t take part on the first morning, but the FIA later agreed that they could run late on Day 2 and 3, and also early on Day 3, to make up for that lost time. Once on track, niggling reliability issues limited their laps in every session, but every problem was fixed relatively quickly and didn’t prove terminal. And the good news? Like McLaren, when they were on track, they looked quick. Comeback kid Kevin Magnussen also didn’t waste too much time getting back up to speed, although he did say his neck was feeling the strain…