2024 F1 Testing Bahrain - Day One - George Russell
2024 Bahrain F1 Pre-Season Testing: Day One
Formula One

I must admit, my fervent desire for the 2024 Formula One season is to witness a departure from the monotonous dominance of Red Bull, who turned 2023 into a rout. I yearn for a spectacle where Red Bull is pushed to their limits, where every race is a battleground for supremacy. I yearn for the epic battles of 2021. Despite my apprehensions, it appears that RB20 may yet again assert its dominance. The first day of Formula One pre-season testing often reveals little insight, and the same is true this year as Red Bull topped the time sheets, perhaps an ominous warning for the very long season ahead.

Pre-season testing is a dubious barometer for predicting the forthcoming season’s trajectory, as lap times seldom mirror the true competitive nature of a Grand Prix weekend. The inaugural day of pre-season testing primarily focuses on system evaluations, meticulously awakening an F1 car’s capabilities in a methodical and structured manner, guided by a predefined set of objectives.

Indeed, Max Verstappen claimed the top spot on the timesheets for the day. However, his lap time of 1:31.662 is well down on the current qualifying time of 1:29.708 set during the 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix. It becomes apparent that on the first day of pre-testing teams have opted for setups laden with high fuel loads, aligning more closely with race-spec fuel loads rather than highly optimised for qualifying runs.

Pre-season testing remains an ambiguous gauge, neither confirming nor reliably indicating actual race-spec performance. Yet, should testing times mirror or surpass those of the 2023 qualifying sessions, we glean valuable insights into the competitive landscape. However, the definitive verdict on which team holds the edge will emerge only when qualifying kicks off for real at the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 1st.

2024 Bahrain F1 Pre-Season Testing: Day One

1 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing 1:31.344 143 laps

2 Lando NORRIS McLaren +1.140 73 laps

3 Carlos SAINZ Ferrari +1.240 69 laps

4 Daniel RICCIARDO RB +1.255 52 laps

5 Pierre GASLY Alpine +1.461 61 laps

6 Lance STROLL Aston Martin +1.663 54 laps

7 Charles LECLERC Ferrari +1.903 64 laps

8 Fernando ALONSO Aston Martin +2.041 77 laps

9 Oscar PIASTRI McLaren +2.314 57 laps

10 Guanyu ZHOU Kick Sauber +2.527 63 laps

11 Logan SARGEANT Williams +2.538 21 laps

12 George RUSSELL Mercedes +2.765 122 laps

13 Yuki TSUNODA RB +2.792 64 laps

14 Valtteri BOTTAS Kick Sauber +3.087 68 laps

15 Alexander ALBON Williams +3.243 40 laps [C4 tyres]

16 Esteban OCON Alpine +3.333 60 laps [C1 tyres]

17 Kevin MAGNUSSEN Haas +4.348 66 laps

18 Nico HULKENBERG Haas +4.562 82 laps

2024 F1 Testing Bahrain - Day One - George Russell
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