Record-breaking Q1: smallest gap ever between first and last
It is no mystery that the goal of the new technical and sporting regulations introduced in the 2022 Formula One season had among the main objectives that of creating a performance convergence between the different single-seaters. Year after year, thanks to the stability of the regulations and the development of the single-seaters, more cars should be able to fight for victory in each Grand Prix, with the hope of not seeing the world championships mathematically concluded with several races to go until the end of the season. What we saw in free practice and then in the qualifying session for the 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix, the first round of the 2023 Formula One championship, which takes place today at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, gave us hope in this sense, even if at the end of Q3 we saw a clear advantage for Red Bull, which monopolized the first row of the grid, with Max Verstappen expected to have a strong pace based on the data collected from the long runs performed in the practice sessions.
A record Q1
The most attentive fans will not have missed what happened in the first part of qualifying, with Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) fastest of all: the Spaniard driver stopped the clock at 1’30.993, while the last driver, Nyck De Vries (Alpha Tauri) who ended Q1 with the twentieth time, completed his fastest lap in 1’32.121.
This means it was the closest Q1 in history, with a gap of 1″188 between first and twentieth, which therefore rewrites the history books of Formula 1: the previous record was the Q1 lap times from the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix, with a 1″196 difference between Lewis Hamilton and Nicholas Latifi.