TESTING: Who was the fastest and who netted the most laps at Bahrain’s 2023 pre-season test?
F1 pre-season testing has come to an end after three days of running at the Bahrain International Circuit. As the paddock takes a breather ahead of next weekend’s season opener, we take a look at how each team fared with their new machines...
Total Laps – 456
Fastest Lap – 1m 31.261s (Yuki Tsunoda)
AlphaTauri topped the mileage charts in Bahrain as Nyck de Vries and Yuki Tsunoda completed 456 laps of Bahrain International Circuit. The Italian team have further cause to be happy as Tsunoda set the sixth-fastest time of the whole test, and De Vries was second in the mileage charts as he readies for his maiden season.
Total Laps – 439
Fastest Lap – 1m 32.549s (Logan Sargeant)
With a combined total of 439 laps of the Bahrain International Circuit, or 2,376km, Logan Sargeant and Alex Albon notched up the second-highest lap count of 2023 pre-season testing. Only AlphaTauri managed more. Bar an unusual issue with the car's electrical system, Williams' three days of testing were trouble-free, Albon telling the media the team were in a much better place than they were 12 months ago.
Total Laps – 416
Fastest Lap – 1m 31.024s (Charles Leclerc)
The Scuderia had a positive three days, with both Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc occasionally finding themselves at the top of the timesheets, and matching Red Bull. However, they did have to contend with a few issues, such as bouncing and the degradation of their tyres, although they appeared not to be too worried about the former.
Total Laps – 414
Fastest Lap – 1m 31.381s (Kevin Magnussen)
Kevin Magnussen set the seventh-fastest time of testing on Friday, and the Dane also notched up 95 laps in an assured showing for his team as they had a smooth three days. Returnee Nico Hulkenberg also got useful mileage in Bahrain – a minor throttle issue on Day 1 the only hurdle they faced in the reliability stakes.
Total Laps – 413
Fastest Lap – 1m 30.305s (Sergio Perez)
It was a strong three days for Red Bull that ended in Sergio Perez setting the fastest time of the week on the final day. The RB19 was quick out of the box, with Max Verstappen going straight to the top of the timesheets while completing 157 laps on Thursday. They also enjoyed a trouble-free three days with limited reliability woes, putting them in a good position ahead of the season.
Total Laps – 402
Fastest Lap – 1m 30.827s (Valtteri Bottas)
It was a mixed bag for Alfa Romeo. They managed a very good haul of laps, and Zhou Guanyu’s glory run under the lights on Day 2 was enough to top the timesheets. But the team also caused two red flags – the first when the Chinese racer stopped at the end of the pit lane, the second when Valtteri Bottas pulled over with a power unit problem on the final day. Solve those, and they look like they should be right in the thick of the midfield action once again.
Total Laps – 398
Fastest Lap – 1m 30.664s (Lewis Hamilton)
Mercedes endured a mixed pre-season, as while they were able to go through their programme on Day 1, George Russell stopped on track on Day 2 with a hydraulics issue, costing them running time. They were able to get the car fixed for Day 3, with Lewis Hamilton ending the day in second, although they seemed to struggle with the balance of the car.
Total Laps – 387
Fastest Lap – 1m 31.440s (Fernando Alonso)
Aston Martin had caused headlines before the test even began when news of Lance Stroll’s accident broke – but once they took to the track, the whispers were far more about performance than their driver line-up.
While Felipe Drugovich did an admirable job in the two sessions he drove, Fernando Alonso was the one to watch. The Spaniard looked instantly at home in his new environment, the car seemingly responding to his every request, and the combination of that, along with some eye-catching hot laps, is why most of the paddock believe they could give Alpine a run for their money at the head of the midfield.
Total Laps – 353
Fastest Lap – 1m 32.762s (Pierre Gasly)
Alpine had a rather low-key three days of running in Sakhir, with both Esteban Ocon and newcomer Pierre Gasly finishing towards the bottom of the combined timesheets. Ocon, though, was keen to talk up the A523 as a clear step forward over its predecessor, with the general feeling that there is more to come.
Some trouble on the rear axle of the car, as seen during some practice pit stops in the early stages of the test, caused a small headache for the team, but matters appeared to be under control on the final day.
Total Laps – 312
Fastest Lap – 1m 32.160s (Lando Norris)
McLaren had another challenging pre-season in Bahrain after their brake-related woes 12 months ago, with aerodynamic efficiency – or rather an apparent lack of it – causing the team from Woking a headache over the three days of running.
Add in the need for temporary strengthening work on the front winglets between runs on Saturday and McLaren ended the test with the least mileage of all 10 outfits. Lando Norris and new team mate Oscar Piastri will be hoping for a quick performance and reliability boost.