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Live: F1 Bahrain pre-season test - Day 1

Follow the live action as the Formula 1 Bahrain pre-season test gets under way on Wednesday.

The 2024 F1 season is here with the start of pre-season testing in Bahrain.

All 10 teams have completed their launches but the opening day of testing marks the first time each 2024 car is truly unveiled to the world.

With Red Bull coming off a dominant 2023 season when it won all but one grand prix, can any of its rivals take the fight to the defending world champions?

The Bahrain pre-season test will run between 21-23 February, with each day’s track action starting at 7am GMT (10am local time).

By: Haydn Cobb, James Newbold, Sam Hall

Summary

Summary
  • Verstappen comfortably tops opening day of 2024 pre-season test in Bahrain
  • Norris second for McLaren ahead of Ferrari's Sainz, Russell 12th for Mercedes
  • Albon suffers fuel pump issue for Williams, coming to a halt on track with 20 minutes remaining of morning session
  • Sargeant spins at Turn 10 but avoids major damage for Williams
Leaderboard
  1. Verstappen, Red Bull, 1m31.344s, C3 - 143 laps
  2. Norris, McLaren, 1m32.484s, C3 - 73 laps
  3. Sainz, Ferrari, 1m32.584s, C3 - 69 laps
  4. Ricciardo, RB, 1m32.599s, C3 - 52 laps
  5. Gasly, Alpine, 1m32.805s, C3 - 61 laps
  6. Stroll, Aston Martin, 1m33.007s, C3 - 54 laps
  7. Leclerc, Ferrari, 1m33.247s, C3 - 64 laps
  8. Alonso, Aston Martin, 1m33.385s, C3 - 77 laps
  9. Piastri, McLaren, 1m33.658s, C3 - 57 laps
  10. Zhou, Sauber, 1m33.871s, C3 - 63 laps
  11. Sargeant, Williams, 1m33.882s, C3 - 21 laps
  12. Russell, Mercedes, 1m34.109s, C3 - 122 laps
  13. Tsunoda, RB, 1m34.136s, C3 - 64 laps
  14. Bottas, Sauber, 1m34.431s, C3 - 68 laps
  15. Albon, Williams, 1m34.587s, C3 - 40 laps
  16. Ocon, Alpine, 1m34.677s, C2 - 60 laps
  17. Magnussen, Haas, 1m35.692s, C3 - 66 laps
  18. Hulkenberg, Haas, 1m35.906s, C3 - 82 laps
Status: Stopped
So, plenty to digest from a busy opening act of pre-season testing. We'll call time on this live text coverage but never fear, we'll be back bright and early tomorrow morning for Day 2 which starts at 7am GMT. Have a lovely rest of your Wednesday - go well!
Here's the full report on today's test action: Verstappen heads first day by 1.1s from Norris
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

That was the opening day of pre-season testing, a day dominated by Red Bull and Verstappen on the lap times and lap counts. Is that a hint of what is to come in 2024?
Practice starts are the final order of the day and there are plenty of takers this time after this morning it was pretty much Russell on his own.
The chequered flag is out to end Day 1. Verstappen tops the day by over a second from Norris, Sainz and Ricciardo.
Verstappen is still pounding around as he starts his 141st lap of the day, which is basically a distance of two grand prix and a sprint race.
Into the closing minutes and no soft tyre runners so no glory runs today. Boo.
There was murmurs of Mercedes' new front wing not being legal but while it has gained plenty of attention, it appears perfectly fine according to the FIA. Here's the full story.

Mercedes F1 W15 last flap

Mercedes F1 W15 last flap

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Russell locks up into Turn 8 over the bumps and has to back out of it. The Bahrain track does look very bumpy compared to when F1 last visited 12 months ago.
It appears the flow-vis paint on Stroll's Aston probably caused the wing mirror to drop off. See, teams have a point about paint adding unnecessary weight.
Stroll's Aston drops its left wing mirror on the main straight going over that big bump just before the braking zone. It is emblazoned with the word 'Boss' and there's a certain irony that the 'Hugo' sponsored team of RB is the first to find it, as Ricciardo narrowly avoids it. Hulkenberg has less luck and runs it over, blowing it into a million pieces.
Norris is the next to lock up at Turn 10 which pushes him wide through the corner and smarts his C1 boots.
Stroll, with green flow-vis paint that makes it look like he's rubbed up against the Sauber, locks up into Turn 10 and takes the safety first approach by pulling out of it and taking to the run-off area. Those tyres will not pass an MOT now.
Verstappen is at it again. The Red Bull driver goes quickest in sector one and two, but not sector three by 0.001s, to produce a 1m31.344s on C3 tyres. That puts him 1.140s clear of nearest rival Norris.
Gasly pushes his Alpine up to sixth overall with a 1m33.083s to show off a bit more pace.
Ricciardo makes a personal improvement again, putting in a 1m32.599s on the C3, but he stays fourth fastest for RB. Will any of the runners opt for a soft set of tyres blast in the final 30 minutes?
Russell joins Verstappen as a centurion for today as he clocks up 101 laps before pitting. Verstappen leads outright on 124 laps, with everyone else splitting running between their two drivers.
Jake Boxall-Legge

C3? We can see a few more than that!

Mercedes opted for 25 sets of the medium tyre compound for the Bahrain test, more than any other team, having decided to take only two sets each of the C1 and C2. As the Bahrain track surface is so rough, the C3 will serve as next weekend's softest compound - so the team has already got an eye on the season opener.

Photo by: Jake Boxall-Legge

Jake Boxall-Legge
 
Gasly has stretched the legs of the Alpine, as he goes up to 11th with a 1m33.940s. Meanwhile Verstappen and Russell are jostling for track position on respective race runs, and the Red Bull gets by and drives into the distance. Make of that what you will.
Ricciardo improves on his personal best with a 1m32.781s, despite running wide out of the final corner, but he stays fourth fastest overall. In quali that lap would've been deleted but for now let's not worry about that.
So far supreme pace and supreme reliability for Red Bull and Verstappen, with most laps and the quickest time. Yes, he is only one of two drivers who has driven all day and, yes, it is only the first day of testing but it is pretty ominous going on what happened last year.
Into the final hour of the opening day and so far it has definitely been a good day for Red Bull and a solid day for McLaren and Ferrari. But it has been a tricky day for Williams.

Spot the inlets either side of the top of Verstappen's helmet. Red Bull's design department certainly wasn't relaxing over the winter.

Red Bull Racing RB20 detail

Red Bull Racing RB20 detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Verstappen goes quickest of anyone in the middle sector but the rear of his car steps out through Turn 13 so his 1m31.922s puts him a third of a second off his own overall best.
Verstappen is weaving to get heat into a new set of C3 tyres. Time for another push at a quick lap?
Back in the Williams garage the mechanics are working on the rear-left corner of Sargeant's car while the American chats to his engineers. He's completed just 21 laps this afternoon so will be desperate to get back on track.
Replays have caught minor lock ups for Ricciardo and Russell in separate incidents, but both not enough to cause any serious concerns.
A fuel pump issue for Albon, a spin for Sargeant and now a suspected transmission problem for Sargeant on Day 1. With only three days of pre-season testing in total, this could really hurt the team over the opening rounds.
It looks like more trouble at Williams. Sargeant pulled up coming out of Turn 8 and his car wouldn't shift gear. He wisely backs out of the lap and returns to the garage which allows the mechanics to take a closer look. Not a smooth day for Williams.
 
Hulkenberg makes a minor lap time gain with a 1m35.906s but stays 17th as he isn't focusing on performance running yet.
Sargeant gets through Turn 9 without as much drama this time around, but there was some steering corrections going through the corner, as he goes 10th on the times with a 1m33.882s.
Eager to shake off that spin, Sargeant is heading back out on track already so he hasn't lost a great deal of time. The sun is setting on the Bahrain track, so maybe he just really wants those cool shots for Instagram.
Ricciardo is the next to improve, as he goes fourth on the C3s with a 1m32.946s for RB.
Moments before Sargeant's off, Stroll moved up to fourth overall, on C3s, with a 1m33.074s. Just the 1.412s off Verstappen.
The American driver has made it back to the Williams pits but that set of tyres are wrecked and the mechanics are getting to work on assessing the FW46 for damage.
Sargeant has spun off! The TV images cut to the Williams mid-spin but replays show him diving into Turn 9 as his car snaps away from him going over the track bumps. He is lucky to avoid hitting the barrier.
 
It appears Russell is about to start a race simulation as he does a mock formation lap before lining up at the end of pitlane for a practice start. Off he goes.

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