The 33-year-old Mexican, who was fastest on the final day of pre-season testing at the same venue, clocked a best lap in one minute and 32.758 seconds in very warm conditions
Sergio Perez topped the times for Red Bull ahead of Fernando Alonso, debuting for Aston Martin, as the defending champion team set the pace in Friday’s opening practice session at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.
The 33-year-old Mexican, who was fastest on the final day of pre-season testing at the same venue, clocked a best lap in one minute and 32.758 seconds in very warm conditions. Alonso confirmed his promising pace from testing with a lap in 1:33.196 to split the two Red Bulls and push two-time defending world champion Max Verstappen down to third, six-tenths of a second off his team-mate’s time.
Lando Norris was fourth for McLaren, a further eight-tenths adrift, ahead of Charles Leclerc of Ferrari and Lance Stroll, back after recovering from a double wrist injury, in the second Aston Martin. Kevin Magnussen was seventh for Haas ahead of Zhou Guanyu and his Alfa Romeo teammate Valtteri Bottas with seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton finishing 10th for Mercedes. The new season began in earnest at the Bahrain International Circuit at Sakhir, a former camel farm in the desert.
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