FP1 – 54 minutes left
Alonso is currently the fastest man in the early stages, with a 1:35.048. Very early days, yes. Verstappen and Stroll leave the pits for their first laps, meaning only the two Mercedes drivers have yet to get out.
FP1 – 57 minutes left
Everyone on track except Verstappen, Stroll and the two Mercedes.
GREEN LIGHT: FP1 begins
And the first Grand Prix weekend of 2023 is over!
I wouldn’t pay too much attention to how the first session is going today, but the second, in light of tomorrow’s qualifying and Sunday’s race, will be one to watch.
Alexander Albon is the first driver to leave the garage.
A Red Bull lookalike, porpoise remedies and McLaren woes – F1’s 2023 cars analyzed
Telegraph Sport columnist and former F1 technical director Gary Anderson took us back and forth through the changes to the cars this year. Read his full analysis of the grid here.
FP1 starts in just under five minutes.
Lance Stroll is racing for Aston Martin this weekend
Well, he will at least participate in the first practice session. He missed testing after an injury to his wrist/arm in a cycling incident. Felipe Drugovich took his place.
Lewis Hamilton alludes to testing FIA’s ban on political statements in Bahrain
The seven-time Mercedes world champion says he believes the governing body’s ruling is 100 per cent wrong and nothing is stopping him from speaking out. Read more from Tom Cary here.
Update on the jewelry situation in Hamilton
The FIA leaves it alone. Frankly, it would have been annoying to drag it on.
We have decided not to take any further action as there are concerns about malformation with frequent attempts to remove the device.
Max Verstappen was asked where this year’s Red Bull was better than last year’s
“Everywhere,” he replies simply.
It looks like the FIA is going ahead with their jewelery ban
This, from the Sun’s Ben Hunt.
Every other driver complied, but it says:
The Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team has not confirmed for its driver Lewis Hamilton (44) in the submitted self-check form that he meets the requirement not to wear jewellery, in the form of piercings or metal necklaces or watches.
A reminder of the 23 races that make up the 2023 season
What are the driver line-ups this year?
Red Bull: Max Verstappen (1) and Sergio Perez (11)
Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton (44) and George Russell (63)
Ferrari: Carlos Sainz (55) and Charles Leclerc (55)
Alps: Esteban Ocon (31) and Pierre Gasly (10)
McLaren: Lando Norris (4) and Oscar Piastri (81)
Alfa Romeo: Valtteri Bottas (77) and Guanyu Zhou (24)
Aston Martin: Lance Stroll (18) and Fernando Alonso (14)
Hare: Kevin Magnussen (20) and Nico Hulkenberg (27)
AlphaTauri: Yuki Tsunoda (22) and Nyck de Vries (21)
williams: Alexander Albon (23) and Logan Sargeant (2)
Good morning F1 fans
The 2023 Formula 1 season is almost – and finally – upon us. We’ve had tests, but that really doesn’t help much to work out the competitive order. By the end of today we should have a better idea of who is leading the pack and who has some ground to make up.
Of course, after last season and some hints we got during testing, we have a hunch. It will be hard to stop Red Bull and look like the favourite, but if they are fastest, but how much? You’d be concerned if the gap was bigger than at the end of last year, but this is just one race. It doesn’t mean that a big advantage in the beginning will last all season.
As for Red Bull’s biggest challengers, you would also expect them to be Ferrari and Mercedes, as was the case last year. Mercedes took a while – a very long time – to get their season going and only won in the last race. Mercedes sounds more optimistic than last year, but it doesn’t look like they’ll have a race-winning car at the start of the season.
Ferrari, on the other hand, has a new team boss, Frederic Vasseur. They did at least have a title challenge last year, but it fizzled out early on. Their car is fundamentally fast, but they were arguably the third slowest team at the end of the season.
It might be a bit difficult to expect a team outside of the big three to break through this year. Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes scored all but one podium in 2022. Still, there is some talk (or hype) surrounding Aston Martin. Alpine could also be a candidate to disrupt the big three.
Threatening in recent seasons, McLaren struggled in the pre-season and will start on the back foot. How bad will it be for them? 2022 started pretty bad here (finishing 14th and 15th) but it did improve.
As for the other subplots to watch out for? Lewis Hamilton vs George Russell at Mercedes will be one. Hamilton was beaten by his younger compatriot last year, but has never suffered that fate two seasons in a row. Of course it would be interesting if they were both fighting for the championship, but that hope is perhaps a bit too much to ask.
Anyway, the first practice starts at 11.30am GMT and lasts an hour with the second session from 3pm to 4pm under lights in Bahrain. We will be here for any updates.