Logan Sargeant, Oscar Piastri and Nyck de Vries all made their pre-season test debuts at the Bahrain International Circuit on Thursday, as they get set to embark on their maiden campaigns in F1…
After busy half-days aboard their new machines, and working through varied programmes, Williams driver Sargeant was the highest-placed rookie in P10, with AlphaTauri’s De Vries slotting into 13th, and McLaren’s Piastri 18th of the 19 runners.
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“It was nice to finally get the chance to get comfortable in the car. I feel like I did build up comfortability throughout the day, but it was relatively tricky, the grip seemed relatively low,” said Sargeant, who racked up 75 laps and declared that “mileage is key”.
“[There are] definitely a few things to work on going into tomorrow. Another full day, so that’s going to be another chance to take another step forward. I think we were moving in the right direction.”
As for leaning on the experience of team mate Alex Albon, who completed the morning session, Sargeant added: “[He] has been a great reference for me, to see what he’s doing in the car. I think he’s extremely quick and has a lot of experience, so he’s a perfect team mate to lean on.”
Piastri was also left feeling positive about his start after giving the MCL60 its official debut in the morning session, putting 52 laps on the board, before handing over to team mate Lando Norris in the afternoon.
“My first morning of testing went pretty smoothly which is a good start to the season,” said the former F3 and F2 champion, who joined McLaren on a two-year deal after parting ways with Alpine.
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“We got through the programme we wanted to, which was great, with the focus being on getting myself back up to speed and used to the new generation of F1 cars.
“There is still a lot to learn and improvements to make but I think I’m getting there. It was good to get some laps on the board and everything felt pretty comfy.”
With Piastri set to drive again on Friday afternoon, he added: “I’m looking forward to my next few sessions to keep improving and learning more about the car.”
New AlphaTauri signing De Vries jumped into the AT04 after Yuki Tsunoda’s morning session and ended the day with 85 laps to his name, joining Sargeant in surpassing a race distance.
“Today was our first day back on track with the AT04 at pre-season testing. In terms of execution and reliability, we had a positive day,” commented the Dutchman.
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“Conditions were quite challenging with high track temperatures and strong winds, although this was the same for everybody.
“Ultimately, we went through the programme and even if it’s early, we continue to work on learning about our car and gathering as much data as possible.”