Sergio Perez posted the quickest time in the first practice session for this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix. The Red Bull driver posted a 1:32.758 and was challenged by teammate Max Verstappen for most of the session.
Fernando Alonso emerged as a challenger for the quickest time and led the times in the session's early stages. Ultimately, he split the two Red Bulls, posting the second-quickest time.
However, it was revealed that Alonso and his Aston Martin teammate, Lance Stroll, had about 9kg less fuel than the Red Bulls, which meant they could post such a competitive time. It remains to be seen if they can somehow carry their FP1 momentum into this afternoon's session.
FP1 CLASSIFICATION— Formula 1 (@F1) March 3, 2023
It's @SChecoPerez who tops our first session of 2023! ??#BahrainGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/eESOoqgOJ3
Where was Ferrari?
It wasn't an all-too-easy session for Ferrari. Charles Leclerc managed to post the fifth-quickest time, but he was 1.5 seconds off Perez's pace. His teammate, Carlos Sainz, was 20th after spinning as the 60-minute session passed the halfway mark.
While we should be cautious not to read too much into the opening practice session of the year, the Italian team has work to do if they want to challenge Red Bull for the win on Sunday.
For Mercedes, their best position at the end of FP1 was tenth for Lewis Hamilton, while George Russell was 11th. Hamilton, on the medium tyre, was 2.1sec off Perez's pace, and they will have to up the wick if they want to avoid carrying 2022's misfortunes into '23.
FP2 takes place at 17:00 SA time.