F1 pre-season testing LIVE: Stream and TV channel as Lewis Hamilton spins off track and Mick Schumacher gets run out

AFTER a short refuelling break over winter the sight of tyres on tarmac is back – and Formula One racing proper is almost upon us.

A gruelling 2021 season lies ahead – the longest ever in F1 history – with the cars and drivers in Bahrain this week for all-important pre-season testing.

  • Testing is taking place over three days, from Friday, March 12 to Sunday, March 14
  • Morning sessions run from 7am GMT until 11am, before afternoon runs between 12pm and 4pm
  • You can catch every moment of the weekend's action live on Sky Sports F1

Follow ALL of the latest updates below…

  • Ben Hunt

    HEAD DOWN, CAR IN THE GRAVEL

  • Ben Hunt

    YET MORE BAD NEWS FOR LEWIS HAMILTON

    The Mercedes man spun off track earlier on this morning and his car was stuck in the gravel.
    It is yet more concerns for both him and his Mercedes team after a difficult start to testing yesterday where they suffered a gearbox problem.
    Hamilton cut a dejected figure as his car was lifted up out of the stones, displaying the car's floor they have tried to keep secret.

  • Ben Hunt

    VERSTAPPEN TOPS DAY ON OF TESTING

    The Red Bull man topped the timesheets as Verstappen gets the season off to an excellent start.

    Also a good day for McLaren and Alpine who both set quick times.

    However, misery for Mercedes, who lost a chunk of time due to a gearbox problem in the morning while Lewis Hamilton was off the pace in the afternoon session.

  • Ben Hunt

    IN TO THE FINAL 15 MINUTES OF DAY ONE

    Still no good news for Mercedes as Hamilton drops to P10 on the timesheets. It will be interesting to see how the drivers react to this first day of testing.

  • Ben Hunt

    INTO THE FINAL HOUR OF DAY ONE OF TESTING

    And Max Verstappen has just gone quickest of the day.

  • Ben Hunt

    TESTING CONDITIONS

  • Ben Hunt

    THE 'LON ROAD BACK

    Fernando Alonso believes he is in the form of his life – despite not racing an F1 car in two years.

    The two-time world champion has returned to the sport with the rebranded Renault team, now known as Alpine.

    Alonso, who quit F1 in 2018, spent last year racing in the Dakar series and again missed out on winning the Indy 500.

    But the 39-year-old says he still has unfinished business in the sport and decided to come back to F1.

    He said: "The main thing of why I am here was because I felt that I was at my best in the last couple of years.

    "I felt like I was driving better than evert and I had to make a decision on what was the next challenge after LeMans.

    "And I thought that being at my best now, maybe Formula One was the place to be and I have time in the future to look at the challenges that were not completed.

    "So that was the main thing, I felt that I had something to do here again."

    Alonso was quizzed if winning the title was within his grasp, as there is renewed hope at the French team.

    He added: "To win races and championships, you need a few more things than just your motivation or beliefs.

    "You need the package, the laps and the momentum and that is something we are looking to build with the new Alpine name.

    "So yeah, I cannot guarantee it, but we will fight for those wins and championships in the future if we do those things but we are not racing alone."

  • Ben Hunt

    PEREZ AND SAINZ TAKE COVID-19 JABS

    SERGIO PEREZ and Carlos Sainz have taken up Bahrain's offer of COVID-19 vaccinations.
    The Gulf Kingdom said they were happy to make the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine available to all those coming for the F1 test.
    A second jab should be administered after the race on March 28th and while F1 said they did not want to be seen to jump the queue, some teams and drivers have taken up the offer.
    Perez, who was struck down with COVID-19 last summer, said: "We got offered, and I took the decision to take it.
    "For me, back in Mexico, I don't know when I will be able to get it, so I think it was very nice from Bahrain to offer that to us. And, yeah, I took it myself."
    Sainz, who has joined Ferrari from McLaren, added: "Yes, same as Checo, I did take it.
    "I think it was a great opportunity and obviously thankful for the Bahrain government for offering it to so many people that travel around the world and, yeah, happy with it."
    So far, Perez, Lance Stroll, Lewis Hamilton, Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc have all tested positive for the virus.

  • Ben Hunt

    HULKENBERG TO RETURN TO F1?

    NICO HULKENBERG could be offered another F1 return as a stand-in for Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes team.
    The German was called up as a late replacement for Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll last season when the two Racing Point drivers were struck down with COVID-19.
    Mercedes themselves were also forced to call in a reserve driver last season when Lewis Hamilton tested positive in Bahrain and George Russell had to fill in.
    And now Merc boss Toto Wolff says his team could swoop for Hulkenberg, should their reserves, Stoffel Vandoorne or Nyck de Vries, be engaged in their Formula E commitments.
    Wolf said: "There is a situation that our two reserve drivers, Stoffel and Nyck, are racing in Formula E and there are certain races where there is an overlap.
    "I think Nico knows the current generation of Formula One cars and the tyres, and it would be good to have him in the line-up as a solution, maybe to be shared with other teams.
    "He's a known quantity and well respected, so it would be good, but it's not yet… we didn't put pen to paper."

  • Ben Hunt

    CONDITIONS IMPROVING

    Verstappen still looking good in P1. Norris and Ricciardo in P2 and P3 in a good day so far for McLaren.

    That's a good effort following their power unit change from Renault to Mercedes.

    In terms of concerns, Mercedes WILL be worried. It is a poor start from them after dominating for years.

    A gearbox issue and now, while is has been fixed, there is something not right for Hamilton, who is in 14th place.
    Bottas in P16, so that will be a concern.

  • Ben Hunt

    VERSTAPPEN GOES QUICKEST

    In windy and dusty conditions, the Red Bull man has bettered Daniel Ricciardo's effort from this morning.

    It's Verstappen, Ricciardo, Gasly, Giovinazzi, Sainz, Ocon, Norris, Leclerc, Raikkonen, Vettel as your top 10 so far on Day One of testing.

  • Ben Hunt

    ICYMI CHARLES LECLERC HAD A SLIGHT ISSUE THIS MORNING

  • Ben Hunt

    HAMILTON IS WINDING UP FOR HIS LAPS

    Man on a mission.

    Originally tweeted by Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) on 12th March 2021.

  • Ben Hunt

    HAMILTON IS NOW GOING OUT ON TRACK

    There has been a lengthy deal down at Mercedes but the world champion is in the cockpit. This will be his first run in 2021.

  • Ben Hunt

    MERCEDES STILL TO COME OUT OF THE GARAGE

    I know I have said that before, but this is a concern. I cannot remember a time when they have started preseason testing so on the backfoot.

  • Ben Hunt

    AFTERNOON SESSION UNDER WAY

    But still no sight of Lewis Hamilton.

    I say no sight, there is a lot of sand out on track which is reducing visibility, but the GPS says his Mercedes is still in the garage.

    Just six laps earlier for Valtteri Bottas.

  • Ben Hunt

    DRIVERS TAKE UP COVID 19 SHOTS OFFER

    Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez have taken up the offer from the Bahraini Government to receive Covid-19 vaccines.

  • Ben Hunt

    THAT'S PART ONE OF DAY ONE DONE – RICCIARDO LEADS THE WAY

    The McLaren man had a trouble free morning and set the quickest time.

    Also good runs for Gasly and Verstappen .

    But problems for Mercedes, who had a gearbox issue and concerns for Ferrari, who saw Charles Leclerc grind to halt at the end of the session.

  • Ben Hunt

    RED FLAG

    Just before the break for lunch, Charles Leclerc's Ferrari has suffered a problem out on track.

    He conks out at the corner of the track. Engine seemed to misfire and then the revs were sporadic before he pulled over.

    The session has been stopped while the marshals recover the car as the mechanics wait for the car to be returned to the garage.

  • Ben Hunt

    UNINSPIRING FROM BOTTAS

    He had his gearbox issues but it down in 10th place on the timesheets.

    Ricciardo still the quickest from Gasly then Verstappen.

  • Ben Hunt

    VALTTERI BOTTAS IS IN THE CAR

    Mercedes look like they are getting ready to go out again. Just one lap so far for Bottas as the team picked up a gearbox issue.

  • Ben Hunt

    THINGS THAT WE HAVE LEARNT SO FAR

    McLaren can be very happy.

    There were some big changes at the Woking team, who have gone back to using Mercedes engines.

    They also have Daniel Ricciardo joining from Renault.

    AlphaTauri and Red Bull look solid and reliable, taking on the form they showed from the end of last season.

    Alpine, the former Renault team, look ok and will be pleased with no reliability issues. That car's blue livery also looks lovely.

     

     

  • Ben Hunt

    THREE HOURS IN…

    And still no sight of the Mercedes. It is of course supposed to be Valtteri Bottas behind the wheel this morning with Lewis Hamilton taking over after lunch. The team have a gearbox problem.

  • Ben Hunt

    VETTEL HAS A PROBLEM AND STOPS IN THE PITLANE

    The German grinds to a halt in his Aston Martin and has been pushed back into the team's garage. It is the first issue for the former Racing Point team.

  • Ben Hunt

    UNEVENTFUL FEW MINUTES

    Still no sign of the Mercedes, who are doing a gearbox change following a failure.

    Daniel Ricciardo tops the times in his McLaren from AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly.

    Williams still the slowest car on the grid.

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