Daniel Ricciardo, RB, Bahrain, 2024

Ricciardo fastest for RB in windy start to practice in Bahrain

Formula 1

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Daniel Ricciardo set the quickest time for RB in the opening practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix on soft compound tyres.

However the majority of the 20 drivers in the field chose only to use the medium tyres over the opening hour of running for the season.

Ricciardo’s 1’32.869 was the fastest time of the session, ahead of the two McLarens of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri, who were both less than a quarter of a second slower, with Yuki Tsunoda fourth in the second RB. All of the top four set their best times on the soft tyres.

The first session in the longest Formula 1 season in history began with picture-perfect conditions with the sun shining and an ambient temperature of just under 20C. However, the high winds from last week’s pre-season test appeared returned: Piastri was warned by his McLaren team to expect a 30kph tailwind pushing him down the back straight out of turn 10.

Nico Hulkenberg was the first car out on track as the 2024 season officially began, setting the first official lap time of the year with a 1’37.931. World champion Max Verstappen set the early standard by posting a 1’33.749 as all 20 drivers focused on runs on the medium compound early on in the session. However, Verstappen was unhappy with the gearshifts on his new RB20 and made sure his team knew about it.

It was a very uneventful start to the 2024 season, with no drivers suffering any major problems with their new cars. There was only one brief yellow flag all session, which appeared to be triggered when Yuki Tsunoda ran wide at the exit of turn 11 in the final ten minutes.

Only six drivers opted to run the softs in the hour: both RBs, both McLarens and the Sauber drivers Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu. Fernando Alonso was fastest on the mediums in fifth, ahead of Verstappen in sixth, George Russell in seventh, Charles Leclerc in eighth, Lewis Hamilton ninth and Valtteri Bottas completing the top ten.

At the lower end of the times, the Haas drivers Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg sat at the bottom in 19th and 20th, respectively, over two seconds off the next-slowest cars. In testing the team largely focused on long runs, which was its biggest weakness last year. Alpine drivers Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly were also low down the order in 17th and 18th position.

Hulkenberg completed the most laps of any driver with 27, Zhou the fewest with 16 after reporting a braking problem early on. Williams topped the speed trap rankings with Logan Sargeant hitting 319kph, just ahead of team mate Alexander Albon, while Hulkenberg was bottom with a top speed of 303kph.

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2024 Bahrain Grand Prix first practice result

13Daniel RicciardoRB-Honda RBPT011’32.86923
24Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL381’32.9010.03225
381Oscar PiastriMcLaren-MercedesMCL381’33.1130.24425
422Yuki TsunodaRB-Honda RBPT011’33.1830.31424
514Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-MercedesAMR241’33.1930.32420
61Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB201’33.2380.36921
763George RussellMercedesW151’33.2510.38225
816Charles LeclercFerrariSF-241’33.2680.39924
944Lewis HamiltonMercedesW151’33.3020.43322
1077Valtteri BottasSauber-FerrariC441’33.3540.48521
1155Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariSF-241’33.3850.51626
1211Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB201’33.4130.54424
1323Alexander AlbonWilliams-MercedesFW461’33.5830.71417
1418Lance StrollAston Martin-MercedesAMR241’33.8680.99920
1524Zhou GuanyuSauber-FerrariC441’33.9231.05416
162Logan SargeantWilliams-MercedesFW461’34.2131.34419
1731Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultA5241’34.8071.93821
1810Pierre GaslyAlpine-RenaultA5241’35.1442.27524
1920Kevin MagnussenHaas-FerrariVF-241’37.4774.60825
2027Nico HulkenbergHaas-FerrariVF-241’37.9385.06927

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2024 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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26 comments on “Ricciardo fastest for RB in windy start to practice in Bahrain”

  1. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
    29th February 2024, 12:57

    Red bull in the mud. Time for cash visapp RB to rise.

  2. The last four cars are gapped massively. 24 races left, ouch.

    1. It’s early days… Still, the top 14 covered by less than a second for a 90+ seconds lap is quite exciting.

  3. I know Alpine had the same chance as the others with their engine, but it does seem wrong to leave them stuck with such a disadvantage for years. It’s like repeating the competition of 2022 and 2023, over again, to some extent

    1. I know Alpine had the same chance as the others with their engine, but it does seem wrong to leave them stuck with such a disadvantage for years.

      Renault have been making a pigs ear of PU development for a decade now, what makes this year different?

    2. It’s not the engine that’s holding them back tho, the car looks woeful through corners

  4. The Visa RB car reminds me of some 1990s & early-2000s Sauber cars in the above image.

    1. The Visa RB car reminds me of


      1. Not really

    2. For me it reminds me of the Sega Monaco GP cars (a Tyrant, specifically!)

    3. I’ve seen thumbnails that have me a strong FW16 vibe.

  5. Minardi P1.

  6. I know it’s only FP1, but the gap between Aston Martin, Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes looks nice.

    Probably wishful thinking that this will last, but hey.

    1. The gap is small, but then it often was last year – 2023 had historically close qualifying at the top of the field.

      The catch was that the Red Bull car was better on its tyres, the Red Bull team was better on its strategy, and the Red Bull #1 driver was more consistent in his driving – and with those advantages combined they won almost all the races.

      We need to see long run performance in the race to see where those factors have meaningfully moved.

      1. Yup. Tho strategy can be pretty straightforward if long run pace is good and the driver doesn’t making mistakes. And for that matter the driver is under far less pressure if the long run pace is superior and the team don’t stuff it up.

      2. Very true, it’s all well and good to have a close qualifying but it matters little if the stark differences in race pace spread the field out. We’ll see soon enough, I suppose.

        1. Yes, some people don’t consider the difference of importance between quali and race, a person here, I don’t want to make names but someone who thought verstappen was godlike said red bull was the 8th fastest car in singapore based on quali, which is just not true: their race pace, while not as impressive as other races, was still very close to the leaders and points are given in the race.

          If we based last year on quali results only, it wouldn’t be a dominant season, nowhere near how it went.

    2. Have to agree.

    3. As we saw last year though; The gap between teams been close in terms of lap time doesn’t equate to good racing because if anything performance been close can make overtaking harder as there’s less of a performance variance between them.

      Hence why we just get stuck with silly artificial gimmicks like the Dumb Racing System & comedy tires.

  7. Lance Stroll doing his talking on the track

    1. in FP1?

  8. When was the last time an official F1 session was in February?
    It feels more like another test day – a strange, low-key, midweek start. Melbourne built up to a new season so much better, probably still will despite being round 3.

    1. When was the last time an official F1 session was in February?

      @bullfrog Pretty sure it was the 1992 South African Gp.

      Practice/Qualifying was on Friday 28th & Saturday 29th February with the race taking place on Sunday 1st March.

      1. Before that the next earliest start was the 1982 South Afrian Gp took place over the weekend of 21st-23rd January.

        The 1980 Argentine GP was over the weekend of 11th-13th February with the race taking place on a Monday.

        And going into the 1970’s it seems it was pretty normal for the Argentina/Brazil GP’s to start the championship in January with a 2 month gap until the season picked back up again in March in South Africa.

        1. 1980 Argentina GP was 11th-13th January, Not February.

  9. Good to see a well-known brand like Haas challenging for podiums and wins. F1 shareholders rejoice.

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