2024 Bahrain GP FP1: Daniel Ricciardo Leads First Practice

The season's first track session leaves many questions unanswered, with RB and McLaren showing speed on soft tyres and Max Verstappen sixth.


By Ben Bush
Updated on March 4, 2024

2024 Bahrain GP FP1 Daniel Ricciardo
2024 Bahrain GP FP1, Daniel Ricciardo

In the season-opening test session for the 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix, Daniel Ricciardo emerged as the fastest driver for the newly rebranded RB team. Yet, the session did little to clarify the competitive standings for 2024.

Just six days after the end of pre-season testing at the same venue, the Formula 1 grid returned to the Bahrain International Circuit, with the session concluding with an unexpected team leading the timesheets.

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Ricciardo, among the few to opt for the fastest soft tyres, recorded a time of 1:32.869, driving for the team previously known as AlphaTauri. He narrowly edged McLaren’s Lando Norris, also on soft compounds, by a mere 0.032 seconds.

Their teammates, Oscar Piastri and Yuki Tsunoda, secured third and fourth places, respectively, setting their best times on the softest tyres available.

Fernando Alonso was the fastest driver on medium tyres, placing fifth overall for Aston Martin and trailing Ricciardo by just 0.3 seconds, with reigning world champion Max Verstappen in sixth for Red Bull.

Verstappen, who dominated last season with 19 wins out of 22 races, expressed dissatisfaction with the RB20 car’s handling under the challenging desert conditions. He remarked that the setup felt significantly off during his initial track session despite leading the timesheets at one point.

George Russell led the Mercedes team in seventh place, followed by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in eighth, with Lewis Hamilton, set to join Leclerc at Ferrari in 2025, in ninth for Mercedes.

Given the variability inherent in practice sessions, particularly for Bahrain’s first and third sessions conducted during the day as opposed to the more critical evening sessions under cooler, floodlit conditions, Thursday’s practice offered a continuation of the previous week’s testing, allowing teams to further adjust and understand their 2024 designs and carry out specific testing and setup evaluations.

First Practice Results

2024 Bahrain Grand Prix, 29 February 2024

Pos.DriverNumberTeamFastest LapLaps
1Daniel Ricciardo3RB1:32.86923
2Lando Norris4McLaren1:32.90125
3Oscar Piastri81McLaren1:33.11325
4Yuki Tsunoda22RB1:33.18324
5Fernando Alonso14Aston Martin1:33.19320
6Max Verstappen1Red Bull1:33.23821
7George Russell63Mercedes1:33.25125
8Charles Leclerc16Ferrari1:33.26824
9Lewis Hamilton44Mercedes1:33.30222
10Valtteri Bottas77Sauber1:33.35421
11Carlos Sainz55Ferrari1:33.38526
12Sergio Perez11Red Bull1:33.41324
13Alexander Albon23Williams1:33.58317
14Lance Stroll18Aston Martin1:33.86820
15Zhou Guanyu24Sauber1:33.92316
16Logan Sargeant2Williams1:34.21319
17Esteban Ocon31Alpine1:34.80721
18Pierre Gasly10Alpine1:35.14424
19Kevin Magnussen20Haas1:37.47725
20Nico Hulkenberg27Haas1:37.93827

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About The Author

Chief Editor

Ben Bush

Ben is our chief editor specialising in F1 from the 1990s to the modern era. Ben has been following Formula 1 since 1986 and is an avid researcher who loves understanding the technology that makes it one of the most exciting motorsport on the planet. He listens to podcasts about F1 on a daily basis, and enjoys reading books from the inspirational Adrian Newey to former F1 drivers.

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