Max Verstappen sets the fastest time in the first session of F1’s pre-season testing in Bahrain as Red Bull’s reigning champion edges Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz… with Lewis Hamilton to take to the track this afternoon

Max Verstappen started off in pre-season testing where he left off last year by setting the fastest time in the first session in Bahrain. The Red Bull star, fresh from winning the second of his two consecutive titles at a canter, made the best possible impression, three-tenths ahead of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, with Williams’ Alex Albon third. He will have been cautiously cheered by what he watched from the TVs in the 26C paddock because the car appears not to be porpoising – the bouncing phenomenon that blighted the early part of their disappointing campaign 12 months ago. The regulations remain fundamentally the same for 2023, though the car floors have been raised 15mm off the ground, a change aimed at reducing porpoising, thus theoretically helping Mercedes while potentially hampering Red Bull.

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