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Start Emilia Romagna GP
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Daniel Ricciardo

Mercedes struggle, while Ricciardo tops timesheet in first session of F1 testing

An eventful first session of pre-season testing came to a conclusion with Daniel Ricciardo posting the quickest time of the morning. Mercedes, meanwhile, were hampered by a gearbox issue, which severely limited Valtteri Bottas' running time.

Article
To news overview © McLaren

McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo led the way in the first session of F1 testing at Bahrain, topping the timesheet from Alpha Tauri's Pierre Gasly.

In what was our first look at the 2021 F1 cars, it was Gasly who also completed the most laps of any driver in the session, with 74.

We also saw the likes of Charles Leclerc for Ferrari, Esteban Ocon for Alpine, Roy Nissany for Williams, Kimi Raikkonen for Alfa Romeo, and Mick Schumacher for Haas out on track.

There were few technical issues of note during the four-hour session, but the big story from the morning involved Mercedes and Valtteri Bottas, who missed much of the running with a gearbox problem.

The Finnish driver only managed to complete one installation lap before being halted, for what the team described as a 'gear shift issue'. He did emerge in the final hour to finalise aero testing for the team.

The session was brought to a close by a red flag, when Charles Leclerc lost drive through the first few corners. The Ferrari man did complete 59 laps beforehand, but it's a disappointing end to the morning for the team aiming to return to the front of the grid.

Max Verstappen was just 0.042 seconds away from Ricciardo in the final time classification, and that came after an early spin which saw him destroy a set of the hard rubber.

A sandstorm midway through the session did also cause one or two concerns, but testing was able to continue undeterred.

RN365 News dossier Formula 1 pre-season test 2021

Everything you need to know and want to see from the 2021 Formula 1 winter test days in Bahrain.

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