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Formula 1

Everything that happened on first morning of 2024 F1 testing

by Jack Cozens
3 min read

Max Verstappen put Red Bull's new 2024 Formula 1 car on top in Bahrain as the 10 teams racked up more than 500 laps on the first morning of pre-season testing.

Key moments

  • Verstappen seven tenths clear on first morning
  • Albon brings Williams to a halt late on
  • First chance to see 2024 tech in more detail

The first morning of 2024 testing allowed for a closer look at the RB20, which was described at its launch last week as a "quite aggressive" evolution of the RB19 that won all but one of last year's 22 grands prix.

These new details included halo inlets as well as more detail around its sidepod design. Red Bull has seemingly split its inlet into two parts on the 2024 car.

While the RB20 appeared to be a handful early on in the four-hour session, it looked far more cooperative when Verstappen switched to the mid-range, yellow-sidewalled C3 tyre and he went fastest inside the first two hours.

Verstappen, who is back in the Red Bull later on Wednesday afternoon, went faster still on a subsequent run and ended the session with a best time of 1m32.548s - meaning he was the only driver to eclipse his 2023 day one benchmark (1m32.837s).

Charles Leclerc had been within two tenths of the Red Bull at one stage but Verstappen's improvement meant the Ferrari driver ended the session 0.699 seconds adrift.

Leclerc had a couple of lock-ups and the SF-24 appeared to suffer from some bouncing on the approach to Turn 1 but his session was otherwise trouble-free.

Fernando Alonso was the only other driver within a second of Verstappen's early benchmark, lapping 0.837s off. He was the most industrious driver in the morning session, completing 77 laps in the new Aston Martin AMR24.

McLaren had a slow start to the morning but Oscar Piastri cleared more than 50 laps on his way to the fourth-fastest time, three tenths further back from Alonso.

The MCL38 was one of the more-anticipated cars to emerge from the Bahrain pitlane as McLaren has been discreet with the angles it revealed of its new car during its launch last week, but it appeared without significant differences to the specification seen previously.

Yuki Tsunoda was fifth fastest for the rebranded RB team ahead of George Russell, who had a low-key session for Mercedes.

Russell spent an extended spell of more than half an hour in the Mercedes garage mid-session but the team said its focus was on learning rather than what it described as 'mileage accumulation'. He completed 48 laps.

Alex Albon, who was eighth behind the Sauber of Valtteri Bottas, was the only driver to stop on track during the session.

He brought the Williams FW46 that was seen for the first time on Tuesday to a halt on the outside of Turn 3 with 25 minutes of the session remaining, having slowed on the main straight and then cut the right-left Turn 1/2 switchback at the start of the lap.

The car, which completed 40 laps but conducted extensive running with flo-vis paint applied, had been recovered to the Williams garage by the end of the session. Albon was an outlier in setting his best time - a 1m34.587s - on the softer C4 compound.

Esteban Ocon was ninth for Alpine, with Kevin Magnussen - whose Haas spent some time on its stands in the garage with a reported fuel system issue - 10th, 3.144s off Verstappen's benchmark.


1 Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 1m32.548s, C3 tyre, 66 laps
2 Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +0.699s, C3, 64 laps
3 Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) +0.837s, C3, 77 laps
4 Oscar Piastri (McLaren) +1.110s, C3, 57 laps
5 Yuki Tsunoda (RB) +1.588s, C3, 64 laps
6 George Russell (Mercedes) +1.682ss, C3, 48 laps
7 Valtteri Bottas (Sauber) +1.883s, C3, 68 laps
8 Alex Albon (Williams) +2.039s, C4, 40 laps
9 Esteban Ocon (Alpine) +2.129s, C3, 60 laps
10 Kevin Magnussen (Haas) +3.144s, C3, 66 laps

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