Max Verstappen led the way in F1 Bahrain GP FP1 from Valtteri Bottas and Lando Norris, as Williams retained Daniel Ticktum in developmental role.

It was a steady run in FP1 of F1 Bahrain GP to kick-off the 2021 season, as apart from few skiddy moments, there were no major trouble for the drivers and the teams. After multiple change of hands at the top spot, it was Red Bull’s Max Verstappen fastest in the end.

He set a 1m31.394s to lead the way from Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas (1m31.692s) and McLaren’s Lando Norris (1m31.897s), whereas the other Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton (1m31.921s) was fourth ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc (1m31.993s), in a better show.

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez (1m32.071s) slotted in sixth with AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly (1m32.195s) seventh, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz (1m32.366s) eighth, McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo (1m32.434s) ninth from the pair of Alfa Romeo Racing drivers.

It was the Swiss outfit’s Antonio Giovinazzi rounding the Top 10 from Kimi Raikkonen, with the Aston Martin pair of Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll following them in 13th and 14th, as AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda slotted in 14th – being the best rookie of the lot.

Just behind the Japanese driver were the Alpine pair of Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso, with Williams’ George Russell & Nicholas Latifi following up and the Haas pair of Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin rounding the 20 runners in Bahrain GP.

In other news from F1, Williams retained Daniel Ticktum to be its development driver for the 2021 season as well. This completed their full 2020 retention, after already confirming Roy Nissany, Jack Aitken and Jamie Chadwick in their respective roles.

There was no FP1 or test run mentioned in the release, but the team will continue to immerse Ticktum in the weekend work and increase his simulator run. “I am very happy to be continuing my partnership with Williams as Development Driver,” he said.

“It will be fun to get more time trackside this year as last year was quite difficult, so it will be nice to get more involved with the team at the track. I am looking forward to continuing my support in the sim, and I am very focused for this year.

“I still have a lot of work to do as my season hasn’t started but I am privileged and very happy as always to be representing Williams,” summed up Ticktum. At the same time, team principal Simon Roberts, added:

“It’s great to be continuing our working with Dan in his role as Development Driver for Williams Racing. He is a very exciting young driver with plenty of talent, which is evidenced by his back-to-back successes in Macau along with his impressive rookie season in F2 last year. We got to see first-hand his skills in the simulator and Dan played an important role in helping with car development, along with becoming a well-respected member of the team. We look forward to watching him grow and develop in 2021.”