Max Verstappen tops the timesheets as F1 pre season testing gets underway

Max Verstappen tops the timesheets as F1 pre season testing gets underway

Defending champion Max Verstappen topped the timesheets ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris as pre-season testing for the 2024 FIA Formula One World Championship got underway in Bahrain. 

Ahead of the season-opening grand prix in Bahrain next week, drivers got a first taste of their new machinery at Sakhir circuit and Verstappen laid down a strong day one marker in the new RB20, completing 142 laps and setting a best time of 1:31.344s on the C3 Pirelli tyre to beat Norris by 1.1s. Only the combined 148 laps of Haas pairing of Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen exceeded Verstappen’s total and the Dutchman posted 23 more than the next single driver on test, Mercedes’ George Russell. 

Verstappen took up residence in top spot early in the morning session and was rarely ousted as the day progressed. Norris, in for the afternoon in place of team-matre Oscar Piastri, moved ahead at one point but three-time champion Verstappen was soon back on top with a lap 1:31.662 and then as night fell, temperatures dropped and the circuit flood lights came on, the Dutch driver made the most of the kinder conditions to carves a further three tenths off his best time and seal the top spot with a 1:31.344. 

Norris, looking competitive in the new MCL38, held on to second with a time of 1:32.484s. The Briton posted 72 laps in all, 15 more than team-mate Oscar Piastri who set a best time of 1:33.658s in the morning to finish in P9, +2.314s down on Verstappen. 

Third place on day one went to Ferrari's Carlos Sainz. The Spanish driver completed 69 laps in Ferrari SF-24 in his afternoon stint to finish just a tenth of a second behind Norris. 

Daniel Ricciardo, enjoying his first pre-season since 2022, took his rebranded RB team to fourth place on the timesheet. The Australian completed just 48 laps but he quickly found a comfort zone in the VCARB01 and finished the day 0.015s behind Sainz.

Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll was next on the list ahead of Alpine’s Pierre Gasly, while Charles Leclerc, who finished second to Verstappen in the hotter morning session, eventually slid back to P7 by the end of the day’s running. Aston's Fernando Alonso, Piastri and Sauber's Zhou Guanyu rounded out the top 10.

Williams’ Logan Sargeant took 11th place but the American driver only put in 21 laps on a stop-start day for the Grove team. In the morning session team-mate Alex Albon’s running was halted by a fuel pump issue and that caused a delay to Sargeant’s afternoon in the new FW46. The US driver also suffered a lurid spin in Turn 10, after which he returned to the garage with a suspected driveshaft problem.

Russell’s 121 laps earned him and Mercedes P12 ahead of the second RB of Yuki Tsunoda and the Japanese driver was followed by Sauber's Valtteri Bottas, Albon and the second Alpine of Esteban Ocon. Magnussen and Hulkenberg were left to prop up the timesheet. 

Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Pérez were the only two drivers not to take to the track on day one. They will get their first taste of their new cars tomorrow. 


2024 FIA Formula One Pre-Season Test – Day 1 
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1:31.344s   142 C3
2 Lando Norris Mclaren 1:32.484s +1.140s 72 C3
3 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:32.584s +1.240s 69 C3
4 Daniel Ricciardo RB 1:32.599s +1.255s 51 C3
5 Pierre Gasly Alpine 1:32.805s +1.461s 60 C3
6 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:33.007s +1.663s 53 C3
7 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:33.247s +1.903s 64 C3
8 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin 1:33.385s +2.041s 77 C3
9 Oscar Piastri Mclaren 1:33.658s +2.314s 57 C3
10 Zhou Guanyu Sauber 1:33.871s +2.527s 62 C3
11 Logan Sargeant Williams 1:33.882s +2.538s 21 C3
12 George Russell Mercedes 1:34.109s +2.765s 121 C2
13 Yuki Tsunoda RB 1:34.136s +2.792s 64 C3
14 Valtteri Bottas Sauber 1:34.431s +3.087s 68 C3
15 Alexander Albon Williams 1:34.587s +3.243s 40 C4
16 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:34.677s +3.333s 60 C1
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:35.692s +4.348s 66 C3
18 Nico Hulkenberg Haas 1:35.906s +4.562s 82 C3

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