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F1 Bahrain: Lewis Hamilton And Mercedes Struggle As Max Verstappen Dominates Practice

The first day of practicing at the Bahrain Grand Prix is now over, but what an exciting day for F1 is has been. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has been struggling all Friday, but Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and the Ferrari team have been dominating the time sheets.

Charles Leclerc hits us with the first fastest lap as he hits 1m33.121s on medium tyres, a whole second faster compared to Pierre Gasly a mere hour earlier. But while Ferrari were finding some luck, Esteban Ocon was having difficulty with yet more porpoising, complaining that he was “on the limit of bouncing” and that he “can feel it on the straight”.

Max Verstappen then set the second fastest lap of the session while Hamilton was suffering from sever porpoising. Check out the video below to see just how bad it is.

Both Hamilton and George Russel’s cars looked all over the place in fact, and F1 journalist Will Buxton even commented on how bad it looked.

“Mercedes really weren’t kidding,” he wrote.

Mick Schumacher in his Haas had a lock up on turn 1 and Sergio Perez had a number of lock ups which resulted in his lap times being written off. But then Mick’s teammate Kevin Magnussen comes in with a brilliant lap just 0.062s off from Leclerc’s.

Fernando Alonso very briefly took the top spot on softs, but Leclerc quickly takes it back as Hamilton makes a mistake in turn 1 and cancel’s his quali simulation. He then repeats the mistake and aborts the lap yet again. Things are really looking bad for the Mercedes drivers here.

Max Verstappen pulls the fastest lap next with a lead of three tenths, and George finishes his lap soon after with a third-fastest lap. But it turns out that Hamilton is having DRS issues which would explains why his car is so slow.

“George jumps to P3 after his Soft tyre run,” Mercedes posted. “Lewis slots into P10. He’s losing time down the main straight with a malfunctioning DRS.”

Daniel Ricciardo has some bad luck and suffers a water leak, ending his session early. This could spell a bad time for the Australian driver after he missed Bahrain testing, too thanks to a positive COVID-19 test.

Yuki Tsunoda is the first to go under investigation as he gets in the way of Leclerc at turn 8 but then runs into Stroll later on. This could see the driver being pushed 10 places down the grid!

These are the times you care about:

1. Verstappen (Red Bull) 1m31.936s, soft
2. Leclerc (Ferrari) 1m32.023s, soft
3. Sainz (Ferrari) 1m32.520, soft
4. Russell (Mercedes) 1m32.529s, soft
5. Alonso (Alpine) 1m32.877s, soft
6. Bottas (Alfa Romeo) 1m32.951s, soft
7. Perez (Red Bull) 1m32.958s, soft
8. Schumacher (Haas) 1m33.085s, soft
9. Hamilton (Mercedes) 1m33.144s, soft
10. Magnussen (Haas) 1m33.183s, soft

It’s fair to say that Ferrari and Red Bull will be the teams to watch tomorrow unless Mercedes can pull their fingers out. Max Verstappen has started his year very well and that confidence will surely spread to tomorrow’s qualifying. This has been an incredibly exciting start to the 2022 F1 season.