Formula 1: Test in Bahrain: Verstappen in front, Hamilton worried

As with the title showdown in Abu Dhabi in mid-December, Max Verstappen saved the best for last in the winter tests for the 2022 season: With a 1:31.720 minutes, the Dutchman burned in the last ten minutes on the third and last day Bahrain still set the overall best time of the test drives on the asphalt.

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The Silver Arrows, in the person of George Russell, did not get past fourth place on Saturday, more than a second off the best time. Vice world champion Lewis Hamilton, who is in action in the morning, is only 17th and penultimate despite 78 laps – and is concerned: “It doesn’t look so good. I was told that we have to find a considerable amount of speed”, explains the Brit. The situation at Mercedes is “very different from last year”.

With the #1 on P1: Max Verstappen with best time at the end

“It is clear to everyone that we are not the fastest. Ferrari seems to be the fastest or maybe the Red Bull. Then maybe we or McLaren,” says Hamilton. Long-term winner Mercedes really only fourth force – or is Hamilton stacked deep again? The Brit’s face is serious: “We’re not at the top right now. It’s still too early to worry about the World Cup, but at the moment I don’t think we’ll be fighting for victories.”

Ferrari turns the most laps

As slim and fast as the Mercedes looks after the engineers’ recent lean craze, the car’s problems on the track are obvious, at least in Bahrain: understeer makes life difficult for the drivers in the corners, but the W13 always hops on the straights still too much.

Now what, Lewis: is the Mercedes good or bad?

At least the mileage is right: With 778 laps spread over the three days in Barcelona and Bahrain, Mercedes turned the second most laps of the test winter. Only Ferrari comes ten more and, together with the fast times of Leclerc and teammate Carlos Sainz, underpins the Scuderia’s upward trend. Red Bull occupies fourth place in the kilometer-eater statistics with exactly 100 laps fewer than Mercedes, only B-Team AlphaTauri does one lap more.

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Mick Schumacher’s Haas team came last in what is perhaps the most important category of test drives (since the teams are known to often trick with the injection charge when it comes to pure lap times): With 364 laps, the US troops completed by far the fewest of the six test days. Schumacher is flagged down on Saturday after a spin in the finish corner, which causes a red flag, but in which the German does not damage the car, initially in eighth place.

Curious: After the official end of the test, Haas is allowed to continue testing alone with a special permit, because the team lost valuable time on the route on Thursday due to missing parts due to late air freight.

Mick Schumacher tries to make up for Haas’ lap deficit

At the end of the regular test, Sebastian Vettel in the Aston Martin placed two places behind compatriot Schumacher in tenth place. Like his buddy in the Haas, the Heppenheimer is on the road in the afternoon, both Germans finish well ahead of their stable mates in cooler and therefore faster conditions. The red lantern goes to F1 returnee and Schumi stable mate Kevin Magnussen during the last warm-up before the start.

Next weekend, Formula 1 will start the 2022 season on the spot with the Bahrain Grand Prix.

F1 test in Bahrain, result day 3:

1. Verstappen (Red Bull) 1:31.720 minutes, 53 laps (C5 tyres)
2. Leclerc (Ferrari) 1:32.415 – 51 (C4)
3. Alonso (Alpine) 1:32.698 – 122 (C4)
4. Russell (Mercedes) 1:32.759 – 71 (C5)
5. Bottas (Alfa Romeo) 1:32.985 – 68 (C3)
6. Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) 1:33.002 – 57 (C5)
7. Perez (Red Bull) 1:33.105 – 43 (C4)
8. Schumacher (Haas) 1:33.151 – 57 (C3)
9. Norris (McLaren) 1:33.191 – 90 (C3)
10. Vettel (Aston Martin) 1:33.821 – 81 (C4)
11. Zhou (Alfa Romeo) 1:33.959 – 82 (C4)
12. Gasly (AlphaTauri) 1:34.865 – 91 (C4)
13. Sainz (Ferrari) 1:34.905 – 68 (C5)
14. Albon (Williams) 1:35.171 – 18 (C3)
15. Latifi (Williams) 1:35.634 – 124 (C3)
16. Stroll (Aston Martin) 1:36.029 – 53 (C3)
17.Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:36.217 – 78 (C5)
18. Magnussen (Haas) 1:38.616 – 38 (C2)

Formula 1 on TV

In 2022, Formula 1 will run on Sky. Last year, the broadcaster introduced a new TV channel especially for the premier class: Sky Formula 1. Here there is motorsport 24 hours a day. All practice sessions, all qualifying sessions, all races are always live and without commercial breaks. In addition, Sky also broadcasts the support races Formula 2, Formula 3 and the Porsche Supercup. Historical races and special programs are also on the programme.

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