Red Bull’s Max Verstappen beat Ferrari debutant Mick Schumacher to the quickest time on the opening day of Formula 1 in-season testing in Bahrain.
Verstappen set a time of 1:29.379 with five minutes remaining to put Red Bull almost six-tenths clear at the conclusion of a rain-affected day at Sakhir.
Much of the attention was placed on Schumacher as he made his debut behind the wheel of a Ferrari Formula 1 car, having joined its Driver Academy at the start of 2019.
Schumacher, 20, spent most of the day hovering towards the lower reaches of the top 10, as he completed his first laps in the SF90.
But during the final half hour of the session he vaulted to the top of the timesheets and made two further improvements, before being shuffled down to second by Verstappen’s late lap.
Teams were frustrated by difficult conditions on Tuesday, with the circuit initially dusty in the wake of a sandstorm affecting the country on Monday.
Overcast conditions eventually gave way to a bout of showers, the second of which at 12:15 was significantly heavy to dissuade teams from running for the next four hours.
Haas’ Romain Grosjean had been quickest during the opening few hours and his time remained unbeaten until Verstappen, and then Schumacher, followed again by Verstappen, moved ahead in the final half hour.
Grosjean was shuffled down to fourth by those late improvements as Lando Norris joined his fellow youngsters in the top three, having taken over testing duties from McLaren team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr. after the protracted lunch-turned-rain-delay.
Alexander Albon placed fifth for Toro Rosso while reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton was the most productive driver, completing 77 laps aboard Mercedes’ W10, as he took sixth.
Daniel Ricciardo was seventh for Renault while Racing Point’s Lance Stroll classified eighth, in front of Sainz Jr. and Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi.
Double World Champion Fernando Alonso returned to Formula 1 action four months after stepping back from a race seat to drive the Pirelli-run McLaren MCL34, as part of the company’s 2020 tyre preparations.
Alonso’s best lap left him 11th, with Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat – also in action on behalf of Pirelli – finishing in 14th place.
They were split by Haas tester Pietro Fittipaldi and Williams’ Robert Kubica – who ran during the final 90 minutes – while the Pole’s team-mate George Russell capped the 15-driver field, 4.302s behind Verstappen.
Russell will be back in action on Wednesday for Mercedes.
Source: Motorsport Week