Ricciardo beats Norris to top opening practice in Bahrain

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Bahrain, Bahrain International Circuitbh

Visa Cash App RB driver Daniel Ricciardo set the benchmark time in the opening practice of the Bahrain Grand Prix, edging out the McLarens of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri. Reigning world champion Max Verstappen ended up sixth fastest, having only used Pirelli's medium compound. F1Technical's senior writer Balázs Szabó reports on Free Practice 1.

Just a week after the sole pre-season testing in Bahrain, the Formula One returned to action on the Bahrain International Circuit to complete the first free practice of the 2024 F1 season. While Max Verstappen and Mercedes drivers George Russell and Lewis Hamilton dominated the opening phase of the session, a late run on Pirelli's soft compound saw RB’s Daniel Ricciardo emerge as the surprise pacesetter.

The Australian recorded a time of 1m32.869s that was just enough to beat the McLarens of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri, who also used the red-walled compound. Ricciardo's team-mate Yuki Tsunoda set the fourth fastest lap ahead of Aston Martin racer Fernando Alonso, who was the quickest driver on the medium tyres.

Reigning world champion Max Verstappen racked up a total of 21 lap en route to the sixth place on the standings with George Russell and Charles Leclerc finishing just thousands of a second behind on Pirelli's medium compound.

Lewis Hamilton looked quick all through the session and his quickest lap on the C4 compound saw him record the 9th quickest lap ahead of Kick Sauber driver Valtteri Bottas, who used the softest compound to set his best lap. Having started his last season at Ferrari, Carlos Sainz ended up 11th quickest ahead of Red Bull Racing's Mexican racer Sergio Perez.


13Daniel RicciardoRb Honda Rbpt1:32.86923
24Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes1:32.901+0.032s25
381Oscar PiastriMclaren Mercedes1:33.113+0.244s25
422Yuki TsunodaRb Honda Rbpt1:33.183+0.314s24
514Fernando AlonsoAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:33.193+0.324s20
61Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt1:33.238+0.369s21
763George RussellMercedes1:33.251+0.382s25
816Charles LeclercFerrari1:33.268+0.399s24
944Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:33.302+0.433s22
1077Valtteri BottasKick Sauber Ferrari1:33.354+0.485s21
1155Carlos SainzFerrari1:33.385+0.516s26
1211Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt1:33.413+0.544s24
1323Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes1:33.583+0.714s17
1418Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:33.868+0.999s20
1524Zhou GuanyuKick Sauber Ferrari1:33.923+1.054s16
162Logan SargeantWilliams Mercedes1:34.213+1.344s19
1731Esteban OconAlpine Renault1:34.807+1.938s21
1810Pierre GaslyAlpine Renault1:35.144+2.275s24
1920Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:37.477+4.608s25
2027Nico HulkenbergHaas Ferrari1:37.938+5.069s27