Max Verstappen set the fastest lap in the first free practice of the new 2021 F1 season, few minutes before the end of the session while Valtteri Bottas was second fastest for Mercedes.

Bottas and Hamilton started on soft Pirelli tyres, which correspond to the C4 compound this weekend, and took the first two places with laps 1:32, but were soon knocked down by Verstappen on the same tyres with which they exchanged the best times at the top of the standings.

Perez soon joined the top three and completed the dominance of Mercedes and Red Bull in the opening part of the first practice, and Hamilton took the lead after 15 minutes of training with a time of 1:32.2, almost four tenths ahead of Verstappen.

McLaren drivers Ricciardo and Norris started their running on hard (C2) tyres, as did Alpine and Williams drivers, while Raikkonen in Alfa Romeo and Haas drivers started on mediums.

Leclerc brought Ferrari to fifth place on soft tyres ahead of Gasly in AlphaTauri on the same tyres, and Norris was a very good seventh on the hard tyres.

25 minutes before the end, Norris replaced hard with soft and set the fastest time, 1:31.897, three tenths ahead of Hamilton, and Vettel climbed to seventh place for Aston Martin.

2021 Bahrain GP Norris McLaren hard C2 Pirelli Photo McLaren
Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M (Photo: McLaren)

Ricciardo soon followed the example of a teammate and replaced hard tyres with soft, but set the third fastest time with half a second behind the fastest Norris.

Leclerc set the second fastest time for Ferrari on the new set of softs , 0.096 s behind Norris, and Sainz was almost four tenths slower in the second Ferrari SF21.

Gasly set the third best time on the new soft in AlphaTauri, ten minutes before the end of practice, before Hamilton and Bottas put on new sets of soft.

Hamilton set the best first sector but finished second fastest with 0.024 s behind Norris while Bottas took the lead with a two-tenths advantage ahead of Norris with the best second sector.

Four minutes before the end Verstappen on the new soft tyres sets the fastest time 1:31.394 with the best time in the first two sectors.

Bottas remained second fastest ahead of Norris, Hamilton and Leclerc, and Perez finished his first training session for Red Bull in sixth place, 0.677 seconds behind his teammate.

2021 Bahrain GP Verstappen Red Bull C4 soft Pirelli FP1 Photo Red Bull
Max Verstappen, Red Bull RB16B (Photo: Red Bull)

Gasly finished seventh for AlphaTauri ahead of Sainz in second Ferrari and Ricciardo in second McLaren while Giovinazzi surprised with the tenth fastest time for Alfa Romeo, 1.4 behind Verstappen.

Raikkonen was three tenths slower than his teammate in 11th place and Vettel and Stroll were 12th and 13th fastest for Aston Martin.

Tsunoda finished his first Formula 1 practice session in 14th place after the team complained on the radio about traffic while on soft tyres and Ocon and Alonso were 15th and 16th for Alpine with more than two seconds behind Verstappen.

Drivers Williams and Haas took the last four places in the first practice – Russell was faster than Latifi while Schumacher than Mazepin in their first free practice as Haas racing drivers.

The second free practice is scheduled for 18:00 local time (16:00 CET).

2021 BAHRAIN GP FP1 RESULTS

1 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 1:31.394 12
2 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:31.692 0.298 17
3 4 Lando Norris McLaren/Mercedes 1:31.897 0.503 20
4 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:31.921 0.527 15
5 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:31.993 0.599 14
6 11 Sergio Pérez Red Bull/Honda 1:32.071 0.677 15
7 10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri/Honda 1:32.195 0.801 23
8 55 Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 1:32.366 0.972 15
9 3 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren/Mercedes 1:32.434 1.040 20
10 99 A.Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:32.786 1.392 16
11 7 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:33.134 1.740 18
12 5 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin/Mercedes 1:33.157 1.763 21
13 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin/Mercedes 1:33.233 1.839 20
14 22 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri/Honda 1:33.329 1.935 21
15 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine/Renault 1:33.528 2.134 20
16 14 Fernando Alonso Alpine/Renault 1:33.872 2.478 18
17 63 George Russell Williams/Mercedes 1:34.127 2.733 22
18 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 1:34.340 2.946 22
19 47 Mick Schumacher Haas/Ferrari 1:34.501 3.107 16
20 9 Nikita Mazepin Haas/Ferrari 1:34.975 3.581 16
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