AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly set the pace in first practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix, as the 2022 Formula 1 season – featuring revolutionary new cars – got under way…
The Frenchman used the soft tyres to pump in 1m 34.193s, 0.364s clear of the medium-shod Charles Leclerc, who had a 360-degree spin when on the medium tyres before recovering, with Ferrari team mate Carlos Sainz third.
George Russell was the leading Mercedes in fourth, 0.4s off the pace but a quarter of a second quicker than team mate and seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton (P7).
Reigning world champion Max Verstappen began his title defence with the fifth-quickest time, the Red Bull driver rolling through four sets of tyres but keeping the soft compound for FP2.
FORMULA 1 GULF AIR BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX 2022
Practice 1 results
|1 Pierre GASLY AlphaTauri||1:34.193|
|2 Charles LECLERC Ferrari||+0.364s|
|3 Carlos SAINZ Ferrari||+0.418s|
|4 George RUSSELL Mercedes||+0.436s|
|5 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing||+0.549s|
Lance Stroll slotted into sixth for Aston Martin, with team mate Nico Hulkenberg – who is standing in for Sebastian Vettel after his compatriot tested positive for Covid-19 – a second off in 14th.
Fernando Alonso was eighth ahead of AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda, with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez closing out the top 10. Zhou Guanyu began his rookie year on a high note with the 11th-quickest time, after his first run on the red-walled soft compound tyres.
The session was only a few minutes old when Esteban Ocon’s Alpine shed its upgraded sidepod bodywork on the main straight. Given the significant amount of debris scattered across the track, the session was red flagged.
Ocon returned to the track to go 12th, ahead of the leading Williams of Nicholas Latifi, who was two places and three-tenths quicker than new team mate Alex Albon (P15).