*** ----> Verstappen sets testing pace at Bahrain International Circuit | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Verstappen sets testing pace at Bahrain International Circuit

TDT | Manama                                                      

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

Three-time defending drivers’ world champion Max Verstappen set the pace on the opening day of Formula 1 Aramco Pre-Season Testing yesterday at Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) in Sakhir. It was a busy day out on track for F1’s star drivers and their teams, putting their 2024 contenders through their paces in two four-hour sessions at “The Home of Motorsport in the Middle East”.

At the end of the day, with BIC’s bright floodlights shining bright and illuminating the circuit, Verstappen continued from where he left off last season—at the very front of the pack.

He set a fastest lap of one minute 31.344 seconds during yesterday’s evening session to top the overall timesheet.

He was on track for the full day in the constructors’ world champions’ RB20 contender.

Testing continues today and tomorrow with both days open to fans. BIC is scheduled to welcome the public from 12pm up until the end of testing at 7pm. Tickets are available for the two open days of testing at BD5 for adults and half-price for children for each day.

Tickets can be purchased online at bahraingp. com or by calling the BIC Hotline on +973-17450000. Tickets to pre-season testing offer an incredible opportunity to witness F1 cars in action at a low price. Free entry to the tests is also available to all fans who had purchased their F1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix 2024 tickets before 1 February.

All those coming to BIC will be able to watch the F1 teams and drivers busy at work from the circuit’s Main Grandstand, which overlooks the F1 pit lane and team garages, as well as the circuit’s main straight.

Testing action will once again be over two sessions, first from 10am to 2pm and then again from 3pm to 7pm.

Massive Verstappen completed a massive 142 laps over 768 kilometres of running yesterday at BIC. He had also steered Red Bull’s RB20 to first in the morning session, where he clocked a best time of 1:32.548.

Lando Norris followed on the combined timesheet 1.140 seconds off the leading pace in McLaren’s MCL38, while Carlos Sainz put Ferrari’s SF-24 in third 1.240s back.

Daniel Ricciardo driving RB’s VCARB 01 was fourth-quickest 1.255s behind Verstappen, while Alpine’s Pierre Gasly in their A524 car came fifth 1.461s adrift. Lance Stroll in Aston Martin’s AMR24 followed 1.663s off the pace. Each of yesterday’s top six times were clocked during the evening tests. Charles Leclerc, who was second-fastest in the morning, came seventh on the combined timesheet 1.903s behind Verstappen’s best, while Fernando Alonso was eighth-quickest for the day for Aston Martin 2.041s back.

The top 10 was completed by McLaren’s Oscar Piastri 2.314s from the top, and Zhou Guanyu driving Kick Sauber’s C44, who was 2.527s off the overall pace.

The rest of the overall day one classification featured Williams’ Logan Sargeant (+2.538s) in their FW46, George Russell (+2.765s) who drove the full day for Mercedes in their F1 W15, RB’s Yuki Tsunoda (+2.792s), Kick Sauber’s Valtteri Bottas (+3.087s), Williams’ Alexander Albon (+3.243s), Alpine’s Esteban Ocon (+3.333s), and the Haas pair of Kevin Magnussen (+4.348s) and Nico Hulkenberg (+4.562s) in their VF-24 challenger. BIC is hosting F1 pre-season testing for the fourth year in a row and for the fifth time overall.

Bahrain also staged in-season F1 tests in 2017 and 2019. Testing in Bahrain is part of the F1 drivers’ and teams’ final preparations for the start of the 2024 FIA F1 World Championship.

The new season gets underway just a week following the tests at this year’s F1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix from 29 February to 2 March, celebrating “20 Years of a Modern Classic”, showcasing the Kingdom of Bahrain’s 20th anniversary in F1.


Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez in the BIC Paddock yesterday