Driver: Sergio Perez
Best time: 1:35.977
Circuit length: 5.412km
The final week of testing ahead of the start of the 2022 FIA Formula One World Championship got underway today at the Bahrain International Circuit and on board the new RB18 for the first day of running in Sakhir was Sergio Perez. Largely focusing on the harder end of the Pirelli tyre spectrum, Checo got through a marathon 138 laps of the 5.4km circuit as the Team worked through a busy run plan. There was one small blot on the Team’s Thursday report card, however, as Checo’s running ended a few minutes before the flag when he had a slow-speed spin in Turn 8. The incident was minor, however, and caused no damage.
And despite his late off track moment, the Mexican driver was pleased with his first day in Bahrain.
“It was a very productive day, we did plenty of laps and gathered a lot of information. It was good to get a read on the car on a different track with higher temperatures. It’s obviously very different here compared to Barcelona. Bahrain is one of the roughest circuits on the calendar so you are naturally more rear biased. In general, we had a good pace and we have plenty of information to go through, there is so much to learn at the moment. Towards the end of the day, after the safety car I had cold tyres and just lost it and unfortunately went into the gravel. It ended the session early so hopefully everyone can have a nice rest now!”
Head of Race Engineering Guillaume Rocquelin added: “We had a good day today, in one day we did the amount of mileage we would usually carry out across an entire race weekend. That means being able to gauge the reliability of parts across the race weekend in one day and we are in a good place. A few things fell away here and there, but there was no massive time lost in the garage due to big issues. We were not focused on pace today and we ran a programme we felt would be useful to learn from, so we’re really pleased that we managed to get through so much work. As we have ticked the box of race distance today, it may not be as critical tomorrow, so we will still do fairly long runs but maybe not with pit stops. Every day we are learning more and getting better.”