Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20
Autosport Plus
Analysis

What we learned on day one of 2024 F1 testing in Bahrain

The opening day of pre-season testing ahead of the 2024 Formula 1 campaign ended in unsurprising fashion, as Max Verstappen comfortably led Wednesday's session in the Red Bull. But what else did we actually learn as testing got under way?

Did we really expect anything else?

Red Bull and Max Verstappen, on top of the times on the first day of Formula 1 pre-season testing in Bahrain. That’s now in the books for 2024, just as it was in 2023 and 2021 – the Dutchman’s grip on this particular (non) accolade disrupted only this decade by Pierre Gasly leading the way on the opening day at the Sakhir track in 2022 when Barcelona preceded this event anyway.

But what a margin. Verstappen finished the day a whopping 1.14 seconds clear of McLaren’s Lando Norris – the pair having exchanged the top spot during the afternoon/evening session here on Wednesday.

But really, after Valtteri Bottas, Charles Leclerc and Fernando Alonso had enjoyed spells at the top of the times early on for Sauber, Ferrari and Aston Martin, this was Verstappen’s position to command throughout the eight hours.

His best time – a 1m31.344s set on the C3 Pirellis, which is 1.493s quicker than his best time on the opening day in 2023 – leaves him with the biggest margin at the end of a year’s opening day of F1 testing since Mark Webber was 0.848s slower for Red Bull than Jenson Button had been for McLaren at Jerez in 2013.

It’s the biggest gap of the modern era. That’s going back to 2009, when testing really started getting restricted (although with 20 sessions that year compared to the two of 2023 and 2024, that only feels like a limited amount when compared with when there was nearly five times the number of group tests during the running allowed in the mid-2000s and the manufacturer boom).

But it was nevertheless the right attitude to arrive at this event wondering if there was any hope of a different testing story.

Verstappen's lead on day one in testing is the biggest since 2013

Verstappen's lead on day one in testing is the biggest since 2013

Previous article Marko: New Red Bull concept is working after “very impressive” first day
Next article Video: Red Bull's ominous start - F1 2024 pre-season testing day one reaction

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe