Max Verstappen tops the first day of Bahrain pre-season test

Max Verstappen tops the first day of Bahrain pre-season test

Max Verstappen topped the first day of Bahrain pre-season test setting a personal best time of 1:31.344 seconds after completing 143 laps, as Red Bull launched their 2024 campaign in remarkably spectacular fashion.

Max Verstappen kept up his impressive performance with the Red Bull RB20, outperforming his rivals by a wide margin. The nearest competitor, Norris, was over a second behind in a session marked by remarkable consistency and no stops.

Verstappen prevailed in the opening morning session after clocking in a 1:32.548, and he continued running the car throughout the afternoon along with Mercedes’ George Russell.

A lot of cars were spotted sporting flowviz in the afternoon; possibly even Strake F1, although their car is already so green that it would be hard to notice any flowviz at all. Aerodynamic visualization paint covered almost the whole left side of the Aston, which was visible as Stroll ran, despite the car’s brighter green colour this season.

After the lunch break, Carlos Sainz took over the Ferrari from Charles Leclerc and was the first to take to the track, clocking a comfortable 1:38.865s in his first lap. The first hour of the afternoon session saw Russell, Pierre Gasly, Nico Hulkenberg, Daniel Ricciardo, and Lance Stroll join the action as well.

For Norris, the afternoon got off to a slow start after he had to wait 53 minutes to be allowed to get out on track as his staff worked on the MCL38. However, just before the midway point of the afternoon action, Norris overhauled Verstappen to take the lead.

But it didn’t take long for Verstappen to reclaim the lead with a time of 1:31.662 seconds, surpassing the hundred mark just as the daylight began to sink over Bahrain International Circuit.

Williams was the only team to experience serious technical issues in the warmer afternoon temperatures after suffering the same towards the end of the opening session. Alex Albon prompted the only stoppage after finishing 40 laps in the morning session as the team later disclosed that there had been a fuel pump failure.

Sargeant quickly got back on track to finish his afternoon session as Williams engineers had reservations about the rear end of the car. However, a driveshaft problem was later identified limiting Sargeant to just 21 laps.

In the final twenty minutes, there was a noteworthy incident although there were no stoppages. A piece of debris came off Stroll’s Aston Martin at the end of the straight as Ricciardo dodged it in the RB, however, Hulkenberg’s Haas made the hit.

Although there didn’t seem to be much of a concern in the Haas garage, the engineers are going to check for damage over the course of the night. Hulkenberg and Magnussen paired and recorded the highest number of laps completed by any team, surpassing Verstappen’s solo achievement for Red Bull with 148.

Testing will resume tomorrow at 8 a.m. GMT and last for eight hours. Lewis Hamilton will receive his initial impression of the new Mercedes W15, while Verstappen will hand the reins to Sergio Perez.

Bahrain Pre-Season Test – Day 1

1Max VerstappenRed Bull1:31.344sC3143
2Lando NorrisMcLaren+1.140sC373
3Carlos SainzFerrari+1.240sC369
4Daniel RicciardoRB+1.255sC352
5Pierre GaslyAlpine+1.461sC361
6Lance StrollAston Martin+1.663sC354
7Charles LeclercFerrari+1.903sC364
8Fernando AlonsoAston Martin+2.041sC377
9Oscar PiastriMcLaren+2.314sC357
10Zhou GuanyuSauber+2.527sC363
11Logan SargeantWilliams+2.538sC321
12George RussellMercedes+2.765sC3122
13Yuki TsunodaRB+2.792sC364
14Valtteri BottasSauber+3.087sC368
15Alexander AlbonWilliams+3.243sC440
16Esteban OconAlpine+3.333sC160
17Kevin MagnussenHaas+4.348sC366
18Nico HülkenbergHaas+4.562sC382

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