Max Verstappen went quickest during the first free practice session of the 2021 F1 season setting a lap time of 1.31.394 around the Bahrain International Circuit.
Verstappen who ended the preseason test at the same venue at the top of the timesheets, continued his fine form setting the quickest lap time by almost three-tenths of a second. Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas was second 0.298 seconds behind the Dutchman with McLaren's Lando Norris surprising the pack in third.
Mercedes driver, and current World Champion, Lewis Hamilton led the early running despite being knocked off the top of the timesheets by Verstappen with the two trading blows throughout the 60-minute session. The British driver set a time of 1.32.214, which was only good for fourth overall.
Ferrari's Charles Leclerc and Pierre Gasly rounded out the top six for Ferrari and AlphaTauri, respectively.
McLaren's new boy Daniel Ricciardo who topped two sessions during the preseason test could only manage ninth, while Fernando Alonso who returned to the sport after a two year hiatus was in a disappointing 16th place, over 2.4 seconds behind the front runners.
The Aston Martin Racing Team continued to struggle with Sebastian Vettel finishing 12th overall and teammate Lance Stroll in 13th.
The drivers will now turn their attention to the second free practice session which will occur later on Friday afternoon.
Practice 1 - Bahrain
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