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Top Takeaways from the Formula 1 Preseason Testing Session in Bahrain

As the 2024 Formula 1 season starts up again next week, the last three days of the pre-season testing session in Sakhir, Bahrain, comes to an eventful close. With many eyes on the more competitive teams such as Red Bull Racing, Scuderia Ferrari, Mercedes, and McLaren, the results of the tests were much awaited by team members and fans alike.

On the first day of testing, Max Verstappen met all of the high expectations placed on him and Red Bull, hitting the fastest time of 1:31.344. McLaren and Ferrari also performed well, receiving times of 1:32.484 and 1:32.584 respectively, with Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz taking over for their teammates Oscar Piastri and Charles Leclerc in the afternoon session. Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin caused some minor issues as his wing mirror flew off, causing RB pilot Daniel Ricciardo to swerve to avoid it and Haas pilot Nico Hulkenberg to run over it. Alpine’s pilot Pierre Gasly also almost had a run-in with Sainz at Turn 12 and ended up coming in fifth. Logan Sargeant of Williams had an unlucky day, undergoing a wild spin at Turn 9 into the run-off area and then having a suspected driveshaft issue that brought him into the pits yet again.

Continuing into the second day, Sainz set the pace in first place with a time of 1:29.921 with his C4 Pirelli tires, the second softest of the range. Other teams opted to shift focus on the second day, prioritizing data gathering on long runs with harder tires. Despite a productive afternoon of testing for many teams, especially Ferrari, the session was cut short after debris was sprinkled over the approach to Turn 11 due to Leclerc running over a drain cover. Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes and Sergio Perez of Red Bull both cleared over 100 laps, with Sergio Perez losing some time due to a brake fire and possible power issue.

On the third and last day of testing, Leclerc topped the time chart with a speed of 1:30.322 on the C5 Pirelli tires. Red flags were flown due to Perez running over a drain, causing the session to restart into the end of the day. The rest of the session flowed smoothly for all pilots except Logan Sargeant who did not get in the car due to Alex Albon being the one to collect data for Williams the entire day. As the weather ramped up more on the final day, conditions became closer to what pilots will experience on race day, preparing them for what is to come next week.


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