F1 testing 2023: Perez fastest as Hamilton and Mercedes make leap forward

Red Bull topped the timing sheets thanks to Sergio Perez's effort on the final day of pre-season testing in Sakhir


Sergio Perez set the fastest time of Formula 1 2023 pre-season testing after topping the timing sheets from Lewis Hamilton on the final day of action at the Bahrain International Circuit.

Perez had already surpasses Charles Leclerc‘s quickest lap from the morning, which was a 1:31.024, when he put down a 1:30.616 on the same C4 tyre compound as the Ferrari driver.

With over an hour to go, Perez went even faster on a 1:30.509 which was not beaten in the final 60 minutes.

Hamilton, who had a brief spell at the top, was 0.359 seconds slower than Perez, albeit on the C5 compound which appeared to be overheating in the final sector.

Valtteri Bottas was third in the Alfa Romeo, 0.522 seconds adrift of the leading time, ahead the Ferrari duo of Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.

Fernando Alonso was down in ninth, but had an impressive long run during the final session where he outpaced Sainz in a full race simulation.

Further down, Yuki Tsunoda was sixth for AlphaTauri, Kevin Magnussen was seventh and George Russell‘s morning time put him in eighth.

Lando Norris was 11th as question marks about McLaren‘s performance continue, with Alex Albon 13th in the Williams.

Red Bull the team to beat

Without doubt, Red Bull are the team to beat after demonstrating very strong pace on short and long runs.

In 2022, Ferrari had a slight advantage over Red Bull, but the roles seem to have reversed and Max Verstappen will be the favourite for pole position and the win at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Ferrari look like they are quick,” team boss Christian Horner said during the final session. “Mercedes’ form is difficult to read at the moment.

Aston Martin have made a big step, the concept of their car has moved them forward. They look like they are not too far away.

“We’ve done a lot of laps, a lot of setups on the car. I think focusing on ourselves, we are in a reasonable window with the car.

Sergio Perez in action during 2023 pre-season testing in Bahrain | Red Bull Content Pool

“You get to try all the things that you wouldn’t at a race. This is a process to see what suits the car, what the drivers like.

On what the drivers have been saying, Horner added: “It’s been pretty consistent with Max and Checo, which is always refreshing to hear.

“Therefore the development of the car, the direction is that we can optimise it in future races.”

Nigel Chiu
Nigel Chiuhttps://total-motorsport.com/author/nigel-chiu/
Nigel Chiu is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who worked at Total-Motorsport for 18 months until May 2023. He has been following F1 since 2007 and hasn’t missed a Grand Prix weekend since. Nigel’s worked with several motorsport websites, plus Eurosport and subsequently went on to work with Sky Sports F1 where he travels to multiple F1 races each season.
- Advertisment -


Max Verstappen in the F1 paddock ahead of the 2024 Spanish Grand Prix | Chris Graythen / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Mercedes chairman flirts with Max Verstappen: He’d look good in silver

One of the most important figures within Mercedes AMG, Ola Kallenius, has declared Max Verstappen “would look good in...
Carlos Sainz during practice for the 2024 Spanish GP | Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

Carlos Sainz hits out at Lewis Hamilton over unpunished Spanish GP move

Carlos Sainz believes Lewis Hamilton should've been given a penalty for his overtaking move that forced the Ferrari driver...
Max Verstappen during 2024 Spanish GP Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Max Verstappen warning to Red Bull and demands improvement

Max Verstappen demands Red Bull improvement as another tough race saw the reigning world champion have to really work...
Start of the 2024 Spanish Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

LIVE F1 Spanish Grand Prix 2024 – Reaction as McLaren mistakes costly as Verstappen...

Welcome to Total-Motorsport’s F1 live coverage of the Spanish GP 2024. Held at the iconic Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, today’s race...
Lewis Hamilton during 2024 Spanish GP weekend | Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton brushes off furious Sainz after Spanish GP incident

Lewis Hamilton risked angering Carlos Sainz after claiming the Ferrari driver "left the door open" to overtake him during...
Lando Norris of McLaren after the 2024 Spanish Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Lando Norris: McLaren easily had the best car at Spanish GP

Lando Norris believes Spanish GP victory should have been his as McLaren had the best car in Barcelona, but...
Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner at the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Christian Horner warns of Norris danger to Verstappen after Spanish GP battle

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner warned that Lando Norris and McLaren are their strongest competitors following a nail-biting...
McLaren team principal Andrea Stella at the 2023 Belgian GP | McLaren F1 team

McLaren chief pinpoints where 2024 Spanish GP was lost

McLaren's team boss they lost the 2024 Spanish GP by Turn 1 as a poor start saw Lando Norris...
Max Verstappen, Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton on the podium after the 2024 Spanish GP | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

F1 Standings after 2024 Spanish Grand Prix

Max Verstappen showcased his racing prowess at the 2024 Spanish Grand Prix, clinching his seventh victory of the Formula...
Lando Norris during the 2024 Spanish GP weekend | McLaren

F1 Fastest Lap: Spanish GP 2024

The Spanish GP Fastest Lap award is given to the driver who posts the quickest time over one timed...
- Advertisment -