Mexican Sergio Pires, Red Bull driver, topped the first free trials of the new season of the Formula 1 World Championship at the Bahrain Grand Prix on Friday, at the Sakhir circuit, while Spaniard Fernando Alonso made a strong start with his new team, Aston Martin, by finishing second.
Pires, who led the final day of pre-season testing at the same circuit last week, set Friday’s best lap with a time of 1:32.758 minutes in hot conditions.
Alonso, who is coming this season from Alpine, also confirmed that his performance in the pre-season tests was not fleeting, and he finished second (1:33.196) to separate Pires from his Dutch Red Bull colleague, Max Verstappen, the world champion who came third.
British McLaren’s Lando Norris finished fourth in front of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Canadian Lance Stroll “Aston Martin”, who returned to the track after recovering from a wrist injury that kept him out of winter testing.
Dane Kevin Magnussen finished seventh on Haas, ahead of the Chinese Djo Guanyu and the Finn Valtteri Bottas, the Alfa Romeo drivers, while the British Lewis Hamilton, the seven-time world champion, was satisfied with the tenth place, which warns that the return trip to Mercedes after the suffering of last season will not be easy.
On Sunday, the new season begins at the Sakhir circuit, which will witness a record number of 23 races.
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