*** ----> Leclerc fastest as F1 tests wrap up at Bahrain International Circuit | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Leclerc fastest as F1 tests wrap up at Bahrain International Circuit

TDT | Manama                                                      

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc shone brightest last night as Formula 1 Aramco Pre-Season Testing 2024 wrapped up under the bright lights of Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) in Sakhir, setting the stage for the final countdown to the new F1 season.

Leclerc brought the curtain down on three days of tests by setting the fastest time on another busy day on track at “The Home of Motorsport in the Middle East”.

The Monegasque F1 superstar powered his Ferrari SF-24 contender to a best lap of one minute 30.322 seconds, set during the day’s afternoon session.

It was the second time in the three days of pre-season testing at BIC that Ferrari had topped the times, following the leading pace set by teammate Carlos Sainz the previous evening.

Three-time defending drivers’ world champion Max Verstappen was quickest on the first day for Red Bull.

Only a few days separate testing with the start of the 2024 FIA F1 World Championship.

The season-opening F1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix is scheduled for next weekend from 29 February to 2 March as the first of a record 24 rounds this year.

It will be celebrating “20 Years of a Modern Classic”, showcasing the Kingdom’s 20th anniversary in F1.

The 57-lap main event will be held for the first time on a Saturday night, making for an additional spectacle under lights.

Tickets to this year’s F1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix weekend have completely sold out for BIC’s grandstands.

Fans who are hoping to be a part of the landmark occasion can still take advantage of two of BIC’s hospitality options, The Dome by F1 Experiences and The Champions Club.

There is some availability in each, both of which offer exclusive experiences in an unmatched setting.

The Dome by F1 Experiences and The Champions Club are specially curated hospitality options created in cooperation with F1 Experiences for the most passionate of F1 enthusiasts.

To purchase these hospitality packages, go to bahraingp.com, call the BIC Hotline on +973- 17450000, or visit the BIC stand at City Centre Bahrain or the Beyon Money BIC Fan Village at Block 338 in Adliya.


Leclerc’s leading time in testing yesterday was marginally slower than Sainz’s pace-setting lap of 1:29.921 on Thursday.

The pair shared the duties in the cockpit on day three, with Leclerc completing 74 laps and Sainz going for 71 for a total of 145 laps for Ferrari, equivalent to nearly 785 kilometres of mileage and crucial data collection.

George Russell followed on the timesheet a mere 0.046s behind in his Mercedes F1 W15, while Zhou Guanyu put Kick Sauber third 0.325s adrift.

Verstasppen steered Red Bull to the fourth-best time of the day 0.433s from Leclerc in his RB20, while Yuki Tsunoda followed 0.453s back in his RB VCARB 01, with Alexander Albon in sixth 0.662s in his Williams FW46.

Albon was the only driver testing for the full day, racking up 121 laps in all.

McLaren’s Oscar Piastri was classified seventh 0.708s off the pace in his MCL38, while Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso was 0.837s from the top in his AMR24 challenger.

Sainz made it two cars in the top 10 for Ferrari, 0.925s behind his timesheet-topping teammate; and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez was classified behind him, 1.161s off the pace in his RB20.

The rest of the classification featured Nico Hulkenberg (+1.364s) in his Haas VF-24, Lewis Hamilton (+1.677s) for Mercedes, Lance Stroll (+1.716s) for Aston Martin, McLaren’s Lando Norris (+1.786s), Alpine’s Pierre Gasly (+1.827s) in his A524 challenger, Kevin Magnussen (+2.731s) for Haas, Esteban Ocon (+2.757s) for Alpine, Valtteri Bottas (+3.206s) for Kick Sauber, and RB’s Daniel Ricciardo (+6.693s).

This week’s F1 pre-season testing was the fourth year in a row it was held at BIC and fifth time overall.

Bahrain also staged in-season F1 tests in 2017 and 2019.


Lewis Hamilton tests for Mercedes in the morning runs


McLaren’s Oscar Piastri drives around BIC’s Sakhir Tower around which the team made a tribute to the Late Gil de Ferran


RB’s Yuki Tsunoda prior to getting into the car yesterday


Pierre Gasly gets ready to test for Alpine in their garage