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Verstappen stays on top in Bahrain as first day of pre-season testing concludes

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BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 21: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull

Max Verstappen made it a clean sweep on the opening day of pre-season testing at the Bahrain International Circuit as he followed up his morning benchmark with another pace-setting effort in the afternoon.

With a time of 1m 32.548s in the books during the warmer midday conditions, Verstappen got down to a 1m 31.344s as the second session wore on and the sun began to set over the Sakhir desert.

READ MORE: Verstappen leads first morning of pre-season testing in Bahrain

Verstappen also continued his impressive mileage as he charged his way past two race distances as one of only two drivers – along with Mercedes’ George Russell – to spend the full day at the wheel.

McLaren and Ferrari were next on the timesheets with Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz, who took over from their team mates, Oscar Piastri and Charles Leclerc, for the afternoon/evening action.

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Daniel Ricciardo took fourth for RB after some late drama that saw him narrowly avoid a wing mirror that had freed itself from Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin – Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg not managing the same and driving over it.

Alpine’s Pierre Gasly, having almost run into a slow-moving Sainz at Turn 12 in the late afternoon, wound up fifth, with the aforementioned Stroll and Leclerc taking sixth and seventh respectively.

WATCH: Take a look as the 2024 cars hit the track for pre-season testing in Bahrain

Fernando Alonso’s morning efforts put him eighth overall, from Piastri, the lead Kick Sauber of Zhou Guanyu and Williams’ Logan Sargeant, who enters his second season in the sport.

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 21: Logan Sargeant of United States driving the (2) Williams FW46

There were problems for Sargeant and Williams on the opening day of action

However, Sargeant’s preparations were twice disrupted, first by a wild spin at Turn 9 that sent him into the run-off area and then by a suspected driveshaft issue that brought him back to the pits again.

George Russell was the sole Mercedes driver in action en route to 12th, followed by the other RB, Kick Sauber, Williams and Alpine machines of Yuki Tsunoda, Valtteri Bottas, Alex Albon and Esteban Ocon.

AS IT HAPPENED: All the action from Day 1 of Pre-Season Testing

Haas pair Kevin Magnussen and Hulkenberg brought up the rear in 17th and 18th, cut adrift of the pack, with Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez set to get their first pre-season running on Thursday.

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