Daniel Ricciardo tops opening practice of F1 2024, Max Verstappen unhappy with car

Daniel Ricciardo kicks off F1 2024 by topping opening practice at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) RB VCARB 01. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix, Sakhir, Bahrain, Practice
Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) RB VCARB 01. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 1,…

RB’s Daniel Ricciardo was the surprise pacesetter as the 2024 F1 season kicked into action with first practice at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Ricciardo ended up just 0.032s clear of the McLaren pair of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri, with all three using Pirelli’s softest tyre to complete their fastest laps.

Ricciardo’s teammate Yuki Tsunoda, also on soft tyres, was fourth-quickest.

Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso was the fastest of the medium-tyre runners, ahead of reigning world champion Max Verstappen, who was only sixth.

Verstappen was unhappy with his new Red Bull RB20, complaining several times throughout the session about a variety of issues, including “very bad” downshifts and upshifts and a “really weird” throttle application.

After setting the pace in the early stages, the Dutchman bemoaned that “everything was miles off” in his new challenger.

George Russell was the fastest Mercedes driver in seventh, 0.382s adrift of Ricciardo’s benchmark time.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was eighth, ahead of seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, who completed the top-10 for Sauber. 

Alpine had been anticipating a tough start to the season and that certainly proved to be the case in FP1, with Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly winding up a lowly 17th and 18th, some two seconds off the pace.

Haas ended up at the very bottom of the pile with Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg 19th and 20th respectively. 

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