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FP1: Ricciardo tops first practice in Bahrain as 2024 F1 season officially kicks off

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BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 29: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Visa Cash App RB prepares to

Daniel Ricciardo and the rebranded RB team set the pace in the opening free practice session of the 2024 season at the Bahrain International Circuit, leading the way from McLaren pair Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri amid a mixture of run plans.

At 1430 local time, the green light switching on at the end of the pit lane officially signalled the start of the campaign, with the 10 teams and their 20 drivers quick to emerge for some early running on Pirelli’s medium compound tyre.

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After those initial laps, it was Verstappen who held P1 on a 1m 33.535s, a couple of tenths clear of Mercedes’ George Russell, despite the Dutchman complaining over the radio that his car was “miles off” what he wanted with “very bad downshifts and upshifts”.

Bahrain 2024

Practice 1 results

PositionTeam NameTime
1RIC1:32.869
2NOR+0.032s
3PIA+0.244s
4TSU+0.314s
5ALO+0.324s
View Full Results

As the session wore on, RB, McLaren and Kick Sauber were the three teams who opted to bolt on the soft tyres, with Ricciardo ending up fastest thanks to his 1m 32.869s – just ahead of McLaren duo Norris and Piastri and team mate Yuki Tsunoda.

Fernando Alonso and Aston Martin led the medium-shod runners in fifth position, followed by the aforementioned Verstappen and Russsell, the lead Ferrari of Charles Leclerc and the other Mercedes of seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.

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Valtteri Bottas used his soft tyres to go 10th quickest from Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari and Sergio Perez’s Red Bull, with Alex Albon the fastest of the Williams drivers in 13th and Lance Stroll winding up 14th – 0.999s off the pace set by Ricciardo.

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The time for talking stopped as the first FP1 session of the season began and cars hit the track

Zhou Guanyu recovered from early brake gremlins to place 15th in the second Kick Sauber, having also used soft tyres, with Logan Sargeant’s Williams and the Alpines of Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly taking 17th and 18th respectively.

Following their winter managerial reshuffle, Haas started the season where they expected to in P19 and P20 as Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg appeared to focus their efforts on longer run pace once more.

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After FP1, drivers and teams will now take some time to run through the data and get ready for the more representative evening second practice session, which is scheduled to run from 1800 to 1900 local time.

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