2021 F1 pre-season testing highlights



After a relatively short winter break, the drivers and teams are back to it, as they concluded the 2021 Aramco pre-season testing on March 12-14 – ahead of what’s set to be the longest season in Formula 1’s history.

Pre-season testing was influenced by local conditions. The first day was consistently windy with gusts that reached 47kph (25 knots), affecting the aerodynamics of the cars. As a result of the wind, there was plenty of sand on the track that compromised grip. Temperatures were also particularly high, so the combination of these factors led to some surface overheating and increased tyre degradation.

Throughout all three days, all the compounds performed well and no problems such as graining emerged: only light abrasion on the softest compounds. As well as the weather conditions, lap times were naturally influenced by the different fuel loads run by each team, making performance comparisons with last year’s race and free practice at Bahrain very difficult.

Mario Isola
Head of Formula 1 and Car Racing, Pirelli

On the second day, the wind still remained but temperatures were lower, which reduced the overheating. As a result, the teams had a better balance with their cars, with plenty of set up work carried out over generally short runs, as was the case on an opening day.

The third and final day was run in better track conditions with moderate winds and a cool breeze but track temperatures similar to the first day. Many teams carried out long runs using the C2, C3 and C4 compound tyres nominated for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Best times and compounds overall March 12-14

Driver Team Time  Compound
Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1m28.960s (Day 3) C4
Yuki Tsunoda Scuderia AlphaTauri 1m29.053s (Day 3) C5
Carlos Sainz Scuderia Ferrari 1m29.611s (Day 3) C4
Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Orlen 1m29.766s (Day 3) C5
Lewis Hamilton Mercedes-AMG Petronas 1m30.025s (Day 3) C5
George Russel Williams Racing 1m30.117s (Day 3) C5
Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Racing 1m30.144s (Day 3) C4
Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing 1m30.187s (Day 3) C4
Valtteri Bottas Mercedes-AMG Petronas 1m30.289s (Day 2) C5
Fernando Alonso Alpine F1 Team 1m30.318s (Day 3) C4
Pierre Gasly Scuderia AlphaTauri 1m30.413s (Day 2) C5
Lance Stroll Aston Martin F1 Team 1m30.460s (Day 2)  C5
Charles Leclerc Scuderia Ferrari 1m30.486s (Day 3) C3
Lando Norris McLaren Racing 1m30.586s (Day 2) C4
Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Orlen 1m30.760s (Day 2) C5
Esteban Ocon Alpine F1 Team 1m31.146s (Day 1) C4
Nikita Mazepin Uralkali Haas F1 Team 1m31.531s (Day 3) C4
Nicholas Latifi Williams Racing 1m31.672s (Day 2) C4
Mick Schumacher Uralkali Haas F1 Team 1m32.053s (Day 3) C3
Sebastain Vettel Aston Martin F1 Team 1m33.742s (Day 1) PROTO
Roy Nissany Williams Racing 1m34.789s (Day 1) C3

Here are the team-by-team highlights:

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