Sergio Perez tops first practice for the Bahrain GP as Red Bull underline their championship credentials ahead of this weekend’s season-opener… with team-mate Max Verstappen finishing third behind Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso

Sergio Perez has topped the first practice ahead of the season opener in Bahrain this weekend. The Mexican set the pace at 1.32.758, .438 seconds ahead of Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso, who had also been expected to perform well. Driving on soft tyres, Perez’s time was around a second slower than the quickest time set in practice in Sakhir last week. His Ferrari team-mate, Carlos Sainz, recorded the slowest time, some 3.314 seconds off the pacy Red Bull. Only being the first practice of the day, the second, which is held in twilight hours at 18:00 Bahrain time, is expected to give a much clearer picture of what fans can expect in tomorrow’s qualifying and Sunday’s opening race of the season.

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