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Max Verstappen Fastest in Testing, Mercedes Have Work To Do

Formula One groups wrapped up three days of pre-season testing in Bahrain on Sunday with Max Verstappen quickest for Red Bull and AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda shut behind in a one-two for Honda-powered automobiles.

Mercedes and seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton, in the meantime, recognised that they had loads of work to do earlier than the season begins on the similar Sakhir circuit on March 28.

Mexican Sergio Perez, Verstappen’s new crew mate, had been high of the morning session with a finest lap of 1 minute 30.187 seconds on smooth tyres. Verstappen took over after lunch and produced a finest time of 1:28.960.

It was the second time he had topped the tip of day timesheets after setting the tempo on Friday.

“In general I would say the car feels good and I’m looking forward to going racing,” mentioned Verstappen, winner of the final race of 2020.

The Dutch teenager mentioned earlier than he obtained within the automotive that he thought Mercedes had been nonetheless the favourites however, if that’s the case, the dominant champions of the previous seven years had been hiding any benefit.

Hamilton was solely fifth quickest and simply faster than compatriot George Russell who did almost 3 times as many laps within the Williams — 157 to Hamilton’s 54. Sunday was Russell’s first day within the automotive.

The older Briton appeared to wrestle to get a secure lap collectively, spinning late on.

“We’ve had issues in recent years with pace in winter testing and managed to make good progress before the first race but we may have our work cut out this time,” mentioned Mercedes trackside engineering head Andrew Shovlin.

He mentioned the automotive was extra predictable on excessive gasoline masses however “we can see from the data we’ve collected over the last few days that on race pace, we’re not as quick as Red Bull.”

EYE-CATCHING TSUNODA

Tsunoda was the identify that caught the attention with the Japanese rookie simply 0.093 slower than Verstappen as he accomplished 91 laps for the Red Bull sister crew.

Ferrari, gathering power once more after their worst season in 40 years, had Carlos Sainz third general regardless of an hydraulics situation after Charles Leclerc was second within the morning. The pair managed 159 laps between them.

“When we were here last year in Bahrain for the race and for qualifying we have been very slow on the straights,” mentioned Ferrari crew boss Mattia Binotto.

“Now… I think at least on the straights the speed is alright. It doesn’t seem to be such a disadvantage as it was last year.”

Kimi Raikkonen, within the Ferrari-powered Alfa Romeo, did extra laps than anybody — 165.

Valtteri Bottas opened the session for Mercedes and was seventh quickest when he handed over to Hamilton, with 84 laps accomplished.

The Finn felt the crew had made up floor after a troublesome opening Friday when he had managed solely six laps because of a gearbox downside.

“I feel like we made a decent recovery,” Bottas advised reporters.

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