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Verstappen remains fastest; Hamilton quickest of afternoon runners

Max Verstappen remains top of the first day of F1 pre-season testing, with Lewis Hamilton fastest of the drivers who took over in the afternoon.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen remains fastest on the first day of Formula 1 pre-season testing in Bahrain, mid-way through the afternoon session. The World Champion is the only driver to be in the car for all of the opening day, whereas the other nine teams all switched their drivers at the lunch-break with the likes of Charles Leclerc, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso all venturing out after the one hour break. Verstappen managed to shave 0.122s off his best effort to clock a 1m:32.837s with his 109th lap of the day with two hours to go as the #1 smashed through the 100 lap barrier. Of those drivers who jumped in at the break, it was Hamilton in the #44 Mercedes who was quickest, going third overall and above teammate George Russell.

Quiet start to the afternoon

The aero-rakes and flo-vis paint were again out in force during the session, with Leclerc's Ferrari sporting an impressive rake bolted to the rear of the SF-23 and Nyck de Vries' AlphaTauri smothered in yellow paint. After a quiet start, action quickly picked up with Verstappen completing a series of in and out laps as compatriot de Vries headed out for his first official run as an F1 driver. As did Williams rookie Logan Sargeant and seven-time champion Hamilton. The Mercedes driver was initially towards the bottom of the time sheets, but pumped in a 1m:33.901s effort to vault up the order into fifth-place. He was then usurped by old rival Alonso but quickly responded with a 1m33.508, carving 0.393s off his previous best effort. Alonso's run in the Aston Martin after assuming control from Lance Stroll stand-in Felipe Drugovich was badly hampered after the team broke the floor during pit-stop practice. It limited Alonso to 22 laps, but he is sixth-fastest at the mid-way point of the afternoon session. Leclerc's Ferrari looked quite a handful with some lairy moments, including big snap of oversteer on the downhill run to the tight Turn 8 hairpin.

Severe problems for McLaren

Lando Norris' was limited to only five laps in the McLaren MCL60 after a problem was found on the front-wheel brow of the car. Mechanics were forced to affix metal tape to the area, with Norris not able to return to the track after initial slow laps. Esteban Ocon is currently slowest of all in the Alpine A523, 5.582s slower than Verstappen's benchmark, with the Frenchman logging 23 laps. There were no red flags or incidents of note during the two-and-a-quarter hours of running following the resumption after lunch.

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