Max Verstappen chat at F1 testing is not good news for Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton reveals the Queen told him off at the Royal lunch

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Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton were back in action on Thursday for the first time in several months, during day one of F1’s pre-season testing in Bahrain. Ahead of next week’s opening Bahrain Grand Prix, both multiple-time world champions took the track to try out the new cars that Red Bull and Mercedes have provided them with for the upcoming season.

The Dutchman topped the timesheet on the first day as he completed a stunning 157 laps with a fastest time of 1:32.837. He pipped Fernando Alonso to second place, with the Aston Martin driver 0.029 seconds behind Verstappen. Hamilton finished the day in sixth place, having been beaten to fifth by McLaren’s Lando Norris.

Verstappen and Hamilton made up two of the three drivers who completed the most laps on Thursday, alongside Nyck de Vries, while the Red Bull man was able to take a break from his over 150-lap day to speak with team principal Christian Horner about the car and provided a positive assessment.

“He [Verstappen] got out and I had a brief chat with him at lunchtime,” Horner told Sky Sports. “He’s already into the detail, which is usually quite a positive sign. So I think there are no fundamental flaws with the car, I think it’s now getting to know the car and we’ll only see next weekend just how competitive we are.”

Horner’s revelation will not be music to Hamilton’s ears as he may be facing a significant challenge to displace Verstappen at the top of the standings and prevent him from a hat-trick of world championships. The Silver Arrows star is aiming to claim his eighth championship this season and become the sole leader in F1 history, as he is currently tied with Michael Schumacher on seven titles.

However, Verstappen’s further admission that he was pleased with the opening session and his car’s performance will not have been the news that Hamilton was hoping for. “It was good,” Verstappen claimed after completing 157 laps. “A lot of laps, so that’s of course what we wanted. Basically a smooth day [with] no issues.

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“We could really focus on the car, try a few things, to understand also the new tyres for this year. We got loads of running during the day when it was really hot, or kind of hot, and in the evening as well – so a pretty okay day.

“[The car is] a bit of an evolution from last year. I think last year was more a time where you were really adapting to the car, really understanding what you had to do.

“Of course, with all the knowledge from last year, I think it’s already a much easier start for everyone to come back here. It’s nice to see the new car, how it has evolved from last year, how the behaviour is a bit different, and also because of the tyres.”

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