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Bahrain GP: Daniel Ricciardo tops first timesheet of F1 2024 for new-look RB team in Practice One

Few answers provided by the season's opening track session with RB and McLaren cars quickest on soft tyres; Max Verstappen sixth and expresses early set-up frustration; watch Thursday's second practice live from 3pm on Sky Sports F1; Bahrain GP on Saturday at 3pm

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Red Bull's Max Verstappen expresses his frustration over team radio during first practice at the Bahrain Grand Prix

Daniel Ricciardo topped the first practice session of the new Formula 1 season at the Bahrain GP for the renamed RB team but few questions about the early pecking order were answered in 2024's first hour of competitive running.

Six days after the conclusion of pre-season testing at the same circuit, F1's 20 drivers and their all-new 2024 cars hit the Bahrain International Circuit once again with the session ending with a surprise team at the top of the timesheet.

One of only a handful of drivers to use the quickest soft tyre during the hour, Ricciardo clocked a best time of 1.32.869 for the former AlphaTauri outfit to outpace McLaren's Lando Norris, who used the same compound, by 0.032s at the head of the order.

The pair's respective team-mates, Oscar Piastri and Yuki Tsunoda, were third and fourth having also set their times on the quickest available compound.

Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso was the quickest medium tyre-shod runner in fifth place, just 0.3s back on Ricciardo, with world champion Max Verstappen sixth for Red Bull.

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This weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix will be taking place on Saturday rather than the usual Sunday slot!

But the triple world champion, who starts as clear favourite for this season again after winning 19 of last season's 22 races, did not yet appear happy with the handling of his RB20 car in warm but gusty desert conditions.

"Everything is like miles off," said Verstappen over team radio during his first run of the session on track, albeit at a time when he was at the head of the timesheet.

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Verstappen also later expressed frustration with the car's gearshifts.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner was at the circuit and in his usual position overseeing the session, a day after allegations of inappropriate behaviour made against him were dismissed.

George Russell was the lead Mercedes driver in seventh, with Ferrari's Charles Leclerc eighth ahead of his 2025 team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who was ninth quickest in the other Mercedes.

Alpine and Haas, as expected, struggled for pace and filled the bottom four places on the timesheet. While those two teams, particularly Haas, appeared to be focusing on heavy-fuel runs, both teams appear to be starting the season on the back foot with their latest respective cars.

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There's plenty to look forward to on Sky Sports F1 as the start of the 2024 season edges closer

What - if anything - was the significance of opening practice's results?

There are several significant caveats to the results of practice sessions at the best of times but that is especially the case for two of the three sessions in Bahrain, Practices One and Three, given they take place in day-time conditions whereas the key sessions of the weekend take place in the evening under floodlights when the temperature is cooler.

So the reality of Thursday's opening hour is that teams were likely effectively using it as an extension of last week's test as they continue to understand their cars for 2024, some of which have been completely re-designed, and conduct specific test and set-up assessments.

The RBs and McLarens locked out the top of the timesheet after using the soft tyre, whereas those behind finished within striking distance on absolute lap time despite staying with the slower medium compound.

Aston Martin's Alonso in fifth and Red Bull's Sergio Perez in 12th were separated by less than two tenths of a second around the 93-second lap, although it's the scale of the unlocked speed of the latter's car which remains the big question heading in to Practice Two at 3pm live on Sky Sports F1.

Sauber's Valtteri Bottas, who finished 10th, was the only other driver to run the soft tyre.

Bahrain GP Practice One Timesheet

Driver Team Time
1) Daniel Ricciardo RB 1:32.869
2) Lando Norris McLaren +0.032
3) Oscar Piastri McLaren +0.244
4) Yuki Tsunoda RB +0.314
5) Fernando Alonso Aston Martin +0.324
6) Max Verstappen Red Bull +0.369
7) George Russell Mercedes +0.382
8) Charles Leclerc Ferrari +0.399
9) Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +0.433
10) Valtteri Bottas Sauber +0.485
11) Carlos Sainz Ferrari +0.516
12) Sergio Perez Red Bull +0.544
13) Alex Albon Williams +0.714
14) Lance Stroll Aston Martin +0.999
15) Zhou Guanyu Sauber +1.054
16) Logan Sargeant Williams +1.344
17) Esteban Ocon Alpine +1.938
18) Pierre Gasly Alpine +2.275
19) Kevin Magnussen Haas +4.608
20) Nico Hulkenberg Haas +5.069

Sky Sports F1's live Bahrain GP schedule

Thursday February 29

  • 12.55pm: F3 Qualifying
  • 1.40pm: F2 Qualifying
  • 2.35pm: Bahrain GP Practice Two (session starts at 3pm)
  • 4.15pm: The F1 Show

Friday March 1

  • 10.10am: F3 Sprint Race
  • 12.15pm: Bahrain GP Practice Three (session starts at 12.30pm)
  • 2.10pm: F2 Sprint Race
  • 3.10pm: Bahrain GP Qualifying build-up
  • 6pm: Ted's Qualifying Notebook

Saturday March 2

  • 8.55am: F3 Feature Race
  • 10.25am: F2 Feature Race
  • 1.30pm: Bahrain GP build-up: Grand Prix Saturday
  • 5pm: Bahrain GP reaction: Chequered Flag
  • 6pm: Ted's Notebook
  • 6.30pm: Bahrain GP highlights

Watch every round of the new season, starting with the Bahrain Grand Prix this week, with the opening race on Saturday at 3pm. Stream every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership

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