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2024 Bahrain F1 test: Verstappen heads first day by 1.1s from Norris

Max Verstappen and Red Bull have ominously topped the first day of Formula 1 2024 winter testing in Bahrain.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20

Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

On the first of three testing days ahead of next week's season opener at the same venue, Verstappen finished over a second clear of the competition after completing a mammoth 142 laps aboard his new Red Bull RB20.
The three-time world champion set the pace in the morning session and stayed on board for the remainder of the day, reclaiming the lead from McLaren Lando Norris around the halfway mark with a lap of 1m31.662s on Pirelli's yellow-marked C3 tyres.
That middle-of-the-range tyre compound, which will be the softest compound for next weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix, was used by almost all runners on their fastest lap.
As night fell over the Arabian gulf and the Sakhir track cooled off, Verstappen used the much-improved conditions during the final half hour to knock another three-tenths off and seal the top spot with a 1m31.344s lap, a second and a half faster than he was during the same session last winter.
Norris stayed second after a much-improved opening session of the new season compared to McLaren's backfoot start last year. After taking over from team-mate Oscar Piastri, the Briton clocked 72 laps to finish 1.1s behind Verstappen with a 1m32.484s that had briefly yielded the lead.
Ferrari's Carlos Sainz, who was first out of the gates with his brand-new Ferrari SF-24 on a quiet start to the afternoon session, finished just a tenth behind Norris in third after producing his best lap around the same time as the McLaren driver.
RB's Daniel Ricciardo produced just 51 laps, but his best effort was good enough for fourth, a mere 0.015 behind Sainz.
Daniel Ricciardo, VCARB 01

Daniel Ricciardo, VCARB 01

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Fellow afternoon runners Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) and Pierre Gasly (Alpine) were next up in fifth and sixth respectively, followed by the second Ferrari of Charles Leclerc, who was the fastest of the morning runners behind Verstappen.
Aston's Fernando Alonso, McLaren man Piastri and Sauber's Zhou Guanyu rounded out the top 10.
Logan Sargeant in 11th was limited to just 21 laps after a low-key start for Williams. At the end of the morning session, Alex Albon caused the only incident by grinding to a halt due to a fuel pump issue, which delayed Sargeant's debut in the new FW46.
The American then suffered a wild spin through the challenging Turn 9-10 double left-hander, after which he disappeared in the garage for a suspected driveshaft problem.
Behind him, Mercedes man George Russell was on the opposite end of the lap chart as the only other driver than Verstappen to go through a full day of running. After 121 laps Russell's best lap was a 1m34.109s.
The second RB of Yuki Tsunoda was 13th after the Japanese's morning runs, followed by Sauber's Valtteri Bottas, Albon and the second Alpine of Esteban Ocon.
Esteban Ocon, Alpine A524

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A524

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

In line with their muted pre-season expectations, Haas duo Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg finished at the bottom of the timesheets, even if Wednesday's times are completely meaningless.
Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez were the only two drivers not to take to the track on day one, instead making their 2024 testing debuts on Thursday.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps Tyres
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 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 C3
16 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:34.677s +3.333s 60 C2
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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