Bahrain GP 2024 Free Practice 1: Ricciardo tops session ahead of talented ex-teammate

Follow the action as F1 teams and drivers take to the Bahrain International Circuit for FP1 at the 2024 Bahrain GP


Welcome to our coverage of the Free Practice 1 session at the 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix, coming to you directly from the heart-pounding turns of the Bahrain International Circuit. As the Formula 1 season kicks off under the desert stars, join us for real-time updates, expert commentary, and behind-the-scenes insights into every thrilling moment of the action.

The Bahrain GP, renowned for its challenging track and dynamic weather conditions, promises an electrifying start to the season. Whether you’re a die-hard F1 fan or new to the sport, our live blog will bring you closer to the action, providing a comprehensive look at team strategies, driver performances, and all the on-track drama.

Stay tuned as we analyze the performance of top contenders, including defending champions and ambitious newcomers, all vying for supremacy in the first showdown of the 2024 F1 calendar. With technical analyses, and fan reactions, we’re here to ensure you won’t miss a beat of this adrenaline-fueled spectacle.

Make sure and join our live blog for the 2024 Bahrain GP which starts at 18:00 local time.

Report: Ricciardo tops FP1 as RB lead McLaren

After losing his McLaren seat for 2023, quite a lot of people questioned when Daniel Ricciardo would make it back to F1 but he’s here and he’s proving he still has the pace to be utterly rapid as he topped FP1 with a 1:32.869 leading Lando Norris by 0.032, Oscar Piastri by 0.244 and Yuki Tsunoda by 0.314.

But most of the front teams (Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull, Aston Martin) never used the soft tyres so it’s still unclear where exactly RB are in the pecking order. They’re not as slow as last year though.

In a hot and windy session, there were challenging conditions for the drivers to navigate and it did catch several out such as Charles Leclerc, George Russell, Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen who all made small mistakes. Nobody got anything majorly wrong in a pretty clean session.

Meanwhile, Max Verstappen’s relationship with his downshifts hasn’t got any better over the winter as the world champion continued to complain about them throughout the session with his race engineer sounding slightly annoyed already.

There’s a lot of pace still to come from Verstappen and his Red Bull so keep an eye out for that in FP2 so make sure to join us for live coverage of of Free Practice 2 which begins at 18:00 local time.

That’s all for now! See you later.

Aston Martin are still testing

They’re sitting quite lowly on the timing charts so far but that’s not a big deal as they continue their programs from F1 Testing.

If you’re going to use any session to do that, FP1 is the right one to use because of how unrepresentative it is.

“If you are concerned about Fernando Alonso or Lance Stroll, then don’t be,” Ted Kravitz said to Sky Sports F1. “They are continuing some of the work they have done from testing. 

“They don’t have any new items for the test but are continuing their setup and configuration work to improve the balance.”

But as I write this, Alonso pops his Aston Martin up into 5th proving the words of the F1 analyst immediately.

Where can you watch the 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix?

Here are the details for our Australian, American and British viewers:

Timing update: Ricciardo leads Norris with 15 minutes to go

Daniel Ricciardo is attempting to get his foot into Sergio Perez’s car either this season, or in 2025, and he’s making a good start of it so far as he sets a 1:32.869 to go fastest overall.

The Australian leads Lando Norris by 0.032, Oscar Piastri by 0.244 and his teammate, Yuki Tsunoda, by 0.314 although they have all used the soft tyre and their rivals haven’t, so their positions as 1-2-3-4 are a bit deceptive.

Zak Brown: McLaren are in a good spot

This time last year, McLaren were shockingly off their targets as they qualified as one of the slowest teams for the 2023 Bahrain GP but one year on, they’re in a much better position as they prepare to try to challenge Red Bull.

Their CEO, Zak Brown, has calmed any worries for McLaren fans of a repeat of 2023 by saying everything is running to plan.

“So far, so good,” Brown said to Sky Sports F1. “Everything is going according to plan. We’re excited for the season ahead of us and great to get FP1 under way.

“I think it’s early. The tracks still very much coming in. It’s getting about a tenth quicker every five to ten minutes.

“Soft tyres (for Oscar), you never know what fuel everyone is on. So I think it’s very early to be making predictions but based on testing we feel like we’ll be competitive this weekend.” 

Has a new team joined the frontrunners

The newly-branded RB team, formerly AlphaTauri/Toro Rosso, leads the timing charts as Daniel Ricciardo goes fastest overall albeit on a set of softs.

The junior team of Red Bull are running a car heavily inspired from their parent team’s dominant 2023 machine so keep an eye on that to see if any of McLaren, Aston Martin, Mercedes or Ferrari kick up a fuss about the legality of it…

Fernando Alonso to retire?

Total-Motorsport’s Adam Dickinson takes a closer look at whether the F1 legend will bow out in the near future…

25 minutes to go: Here are the standings

*Update: Norris goes faster than Piastri by 0.212, also doing his lap on the softs as teams begin to bolt them on.

2VerstappenRed Bull+0.422M
4PerezRed Bull+0.799M
6AlonsoAston Martin+0.816M
10StrollAston Martin+1.551M

Analysis: Will Ferrari challenge Red Bull in 2024?

Yesterday (February 28), Lando Norris said that there is a clear top two in the F1 field, alluding to Ferrari and Red Bull.

Is the McLaren racer going to be proven right or wrong? Total-Motorsport analysed how strong Ferrari’s claim to Max Verstappen’s crown is.

Both Haas drivers lock up

Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen aren’t shy on F1 experience but they’ve both made an identical mistake at the same corner.

The downhill left-hander at Turn 10 is one of the toughest corners on the calendar due to it being partially blind whilst the dive down the descent actually takes downforce away from the cars making it harder to judge performance.

Drivers regularly lock-up or run wide there as they attempt to get familiar with their cars and the boys from the Haas F1 Team is no different.

Verstappen complaining 12 minutes into the season

The Red Bull driver describes everything as not very good on his RB20 at the moment although the Dutchman used some more colourful language to do so…

He leads Sergio Perez by 0.084 and Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari by 0.166, they’re all on the same tyre compound so far.

10 minutes in: Verstappen fastest from Sainz

In the early stages of the session, Ferrari and Mercedes are very closely matched but one man who isn’t keen to stick around is Max Verstappen.

Running the same medium tyres, the defending world champion smashes the time sheets to set a 1:33.9 which is 0.644 faster than Carlos Sainz, the next best challenger.

Analysis: Why does the wind matter?

Lando Norris’ engineer wasted no time telling him that the wind is strong, warning the McLaren driver to be careful around the Bahrain International Circuit but how does the wind make a difference?

Well, these F1 cars are incredibly sensitive to wind speed and changes of direction, especially on the rear wing which can give drivers a problem judging how much speed they can carry into a corner.

As Charles Leclerc shows us, a bit too much wind can cause understeer on entry and overwhelm the rear on the exit almost forcing the Monegasque driver into a spin in his new Ferrari.

The modern F1 cars have been described as a pendulum effect when they begin to slide and that once the rear is lost beyond a certain point, it’s not possible to catch it and you will spin.

That can be a disaster for the tyres and time loss in a race so the modern drivers have to be extra careful.

Disaster for Sauber

As the cars take to the track for the first time in 2024, Zhou Guanyu quickly peels into the pits after an out-lap.

The Chinese driver reported that his brakes are not working and he is wheeled into the garage so the mechanics can investigate.

Not the ideal start to possibly his final season in the sport with Theo Pourchaire waiting on the side lines.

Green light! Formula 1 is back as FP1 gets underway!

The one hour session will be used to dial in set-ups as FP2 later today is the more representative session for race simulations.

Max Verstappen is one of the last cars out on track as he waits for some space from the pack.

Horner reacts to being cleared

The 50-year-old, who was investigated by an external lawyer, reportedly had 100 pages of documents in his favour, or against his name, when the Austrian company made a decision about his Red Bull future.

Ahead of the 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix, he addressed the situation for the first time since declaring his innocence and calling it a “distraction” at the Red Bull car launch.

“I’m just pleased that the process is over,” Horner told Sky Sports News.

“Obviously, I can’t comment about it, but we are here very much to focus now on the Grand Prix and the season ahead and trying to defend both of our titles.”

Asked if the team is unified, he added: “Within the team it has never been stronger.”

Horner investigation won’t impact Red Bull

The team principal spent the majority of February under investigation for inappropriate behaviour towards an ex-female employee but on Wednesday, February 28 was cleared by Red Bull GmbH, the holding company of the F1 team, and will be free to continue his duties as boss.

“I don’t think it’s been helpful, that’s without doubt,” Martin Brundle said to Sky Sports F1. “I don’t think it will impact their performance much at all. 

“There are 1500 people, focused, they have a brilliant car and a brilliant driver line-up. They know what to do on an F1 weekend. They have been through the testing process.

“They have got so much momentum and performance, I don’t think we will see an impact on the track.”

What does the circuit look like?

The defending double world champions take us on a virtual lap of today’s circuit. How will they fare in 2024? Will they retain their crowns or will someone prize them away?

Did you know that F1 has raced at three different iterations of the Bahrain International Circuit?

Detailed 2024 Bahrain GP Session Times and Dates

Session / TimeBahrainUKUS (ET)US (PT)Aus. (AEDT)
Practice 114:3011:3006:3003:3022:30
Practice 218:0015:0010:0007:0002:00*
Practice 315:3012:3007:3004:3023:30
*Next Day

When Does the Bahrain GP 2024 Start?

The 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix is eagerly anticipated by fans worldwide. It’s the inaugural race of the season, promising to deliver an electrifying start. The race will illuminate the Bahrain International Circuit on Saturday, March 2, with the main race set to commence at 18:00 local time in Bahrain. For international viewers, times will vary:

  • United Kingdom (GMT/UTC): 15:00 on Sunday, March 3.
  • United States (ET/PT): 10:00 ET / 07:00 PT on Sunday, March 3.
  • Australia (AEDT): 02:00 AEDT on Monday, March 4.
  • Canada (ET/PT): 10:00 ET / 07:00 PT on Sunday, March 3.

Where to Watch the F1 2024 Bahrain GP in the UK

In the UK, the exclusive rights to broadcast Formula 1 are held by Sky Sports F1. Fans can watch every session live on the Sky Sports F1 channel, including practice rounds, qualifying, and the race itself. For those without a Sky subscription, NOW TV offers a Sky Sports day pass, providing a flexible way to catch the race.

Where to Watch the F1 2024 Bahrain GP in the USA

ESPN continues to be the home for F1 in the USA, providing comprehensive coverage of the Bahrain Grand Prix across its channels. Live streams are also available through the ESPN App for fans on the go. Additionally, cord-cutters can opt for services like Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, and YouTube TV, which include ESPN in their packages.

Where to Watch the F1 2024 Bahrain GP in Australia

Fox Sports and Kayo Sports are the go-to platforms for watching F1 in Australia. Fox Sports will broadcast the Bahrain GP live on TV, while Kayo offers a streaming service tailored for sports enthusiasts, featuring live and on-demand access to the F1 season.

Where to Watch the F1 2024 Bahrain GP in Canada

TSN and RDS secure the rights to F1 broadcasts in Canada, offering live coverage of the Bahrain Grand Prix in English and French. Streaming is available for TSN and RDS subscribers via their respective websites and apps, ensuring fans can watch the race on multiple devices.

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