Amongst a plethora of new faces in FIA Formula 3, it was the returning partnership of Devlin DeFrancesco and Trident who finished as top dogs on the first day of pre-season testing in Bahrain.

The Canadian is one of just five drivers to return to their 2019 seats for the new season and edged out two of the others for first, with Alexander Peroni and Richard Verschoor finishing narrowly behind.

The drivers made their long-awaited return to the track in cool, early morning sunshine and most of the grid opted to head out early doors. Lining up with Dutch compatriot’s MP Motorsport, Bent Viscaal will be pleased with his new partnership, having become the first driver of 2020 to sit in first, with an initial time of 2:22.673.

The first true time of the morning was set by Enzo Fittipaldi though. The Brazilian had previously tested with both PREMA and Charouz, but seemed instantly at home in the HWA RACELAB machine, chopping the fastest lap down to 1:48.469. His teammate, Jake Hughes, was forced to miss the first day of testing due to prior commitments. The Briton will make his return in the afternoon session of Day 2.

Viscaal returned to the top on the 90-minute mark, narrowly beating out Dutch teammate Richard Verschoor by taking the time under 1m 48s. Alexander Smolyar briefly topped the times before Hitech Grand Prix switched on the style and sent Max Fewtrell and Liam Lawson out for fast laps. The duo obliged by going one-two in the standings.

A productive morning for MP Motorsport was capped off by Viscaal once more, as the Dutchman returned to first place ahead of lunch with a time of 1:47.146, propped up by teammate Verschoor.

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Trident started out the afternoon session on the front foot, as one of their new recruits, Lirim Zendeli, set the early pace as the cars returned to track. Enjoying her first full testing stint in F3, Sophia Flörsch showed the grid what she could do by beating out her fellow German to take P1.

In a similar fashion to the morning session, Hitech flicked the switch and turned things up a notch, with Lawson and Fewtrell going first and second with their first quick laps of the afternoon, taking the times to below 1m 48s.

From there, DeFrancesco and Igor Fraga both took turns at the top. Alex Peroni briefly dived in front of the duo, before the Canadian snatched back the position. Their jostling for first was fleetingly interrupted by a red flag for Théo Pourchaire, who had stopped on track.

With just three minutes remaining, only a few of the drivers dove out for one final tour, which left DeFrancesco sitting pretty in first place at the end of the session. The Canadian was followed by Peroni, Verschoor, Sebastián Fernández and Pourchaire, who completed the top five. Joining them in the top ten were Viscaal, Smolyar, Zendeli, Fraga and Niko Kari.

Trident will be hoping DeFrancesco continues in the same rich vein of form when the cars return for the second of three days tomorrow, at 9am.

2020 FIA Formula 3 Championship - pre-season tests, Day 1, morning session

1Bent ViscaalMP Motorsport1:47.14621
2Richard VerschoorMP Motorsport1:47.49922
3Max FewtrellHitech Grand Prix1:47.56214
4Liam LawsonHitech Grand Prix1:47.65313
5Frederik VestiPREMA Racing1:47.6948
6Alexander SmolyarART Grand Prix1:47.79418
7Niko KariCharouz Racing System1:47.81418
8Logan SargeantPREMA Racing1:47.85916
9Lukas DunnerMP Motorsport1:47.87321
10Lirim ZendeliTrident1:47.90813
11Theo PourchaireART Grand Prix1:48.04318
12Jack DoohanHWA RACELAB1:48.10024
13Dennis HaugerHitech Grand Prix1:48.19413
14Alexander PeroniCampos Racing1:48.23112
15Sebastian FernandezART Grand Prix1:48.24818
16Matteo NanniniJenzer Motorsport1:48.24830
17Olli CaldwellTrident1:48.26812
18Oscar PiastriPREMA Racing1:48.27016
19Federico MalvestitiJenzer Motorsport1:48.37623
20Enzo FittipaldiHWA RACELAB1:48.46924
21Clement NovalakCarlin Buzz Racing1:48.51314
22Calan WilliamsJenzer Motorsport1:48.76922
23Enaam AhmedCarlin Buzz Racing1:48.77215
24Devlin DeFrancescoTrident1:48.82012
25Igor FragaCharouz Racing System1:48.86424
26David SchumacherCharouz Racing System1:49.00316
27Cameron DasCarlin Buzz Racing1:49.12114
28Sophia FloerschCampos Racing1:49.48816
29Alessio DeleddaCampos Racing1:50.40422

2020 FIA Formula 3 Championship - pre-season tests, Day 1, afternoon session

1Devlin DeFrancescoTrident1:46.84426
2Alexander PeroniCampos Racing1:46.86025
3Richard VerschoorMP Motorsport1:46.91926
4Sebastian FernandezART Grand Prix1:47.03626
5Theo PourchaireART Grand Prix1:47.09324
6Bent ViscaalMP Motorsport1:47.12432
7Alexander SmolyarART Grand Prix1:47.27327
8Lirim ZendeliTrident1:47.47331
9Igor FragaCharouz Racing System1:47.49823
10Niko KariCharouz Racing System1:47.53021
11Federico MalvestitiJenzer Motorsport1:47.60032
12Liam LawsonHitech Grand Prix1:47.70930
13Sophia FloerschCampos Racing1:47.89926
14Max FewtrellHitech Grand Prix1:47.91931
15Clement NovalakCarlin Buzz Racing1:47.95427
16Dennis HaugerHitech Grand Prix1:47.97531
17Enaam AhmedCarlin Buzz Racing1:48.00424
18Logan SargeantPREMA Racing1:48.01522
19Enzo FittipaldiHWA RACELAB1:48.06526
20Jack DoohanHWA RACELAB1:48.07322
21Olli CaldwellTrident1:48.20034
22Lukas DunnerMP Motorsport1:48.21926
23Calan WilliamsJenzer Motorsport1:48.26324
24Cameron DasCarlin Buzz Racing1:48.43524
25Alessio DeleddaCampos Racing1:48.66232
26David SchumacherCharouz Racing System1:48.76925
27Matteo NanniniJenzer Motorsport1:50.52132
28Frederik VestiPREMA Racing1:50.87925
29Oscar PiastriPREMA Racing1:52.13617