Formula 1 Testing 2024: Day 3: Highlights, fastest times, laps completed

Follow the action as F1 teams and drivers test their latest challengers at Bahrain International Circuit in Day 3 of F1 testing 2024

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Welcome to our live blog for Day 3 of 2024 Formula 1 pre-season testing, coming to you directly from the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, Bahrain. As the F1 teams roll out their latest machines on the track from February 21-23, we’re here to bring you all the action, insights, and analyses in real-time on the final day of testing.

Pre-season testing is a pivotal moment in the F1 calendar, offering a first glimpse of the new cars in action and setting the tone for the season ahead. With only 24 hours of track time spread across three days, every moment is crucial for the teams and drivers alike. This year, the testing unfolds under the watchful eyes of fans and experts, eager to decode the performance and reliability of the 2024 contenders.

Stay tuned as we bring you the latest from the track, offering a window into the preparations, strategies, and early indications of what to expect for the thrilling 2024 F1 season.


Final classification: Leclerc fastest but Verstappen looking good

Here is the final standings update for the final day of testing.

Charles Leclerc and Ferrari look really good as they continue their good form demonstrated on Day 2 of testing, whilst Max Verstappen is sitting pretty on one-lap pace by setting his time on used mediums.

Mercedes have typically focused on long runs and data gathering for the three days but when he got to loosen the wheels a little, he posted a strong time to be fractionally slower than Leclerc but with more optimal conditions.

Zhou and Sauber potentially went on a glory run but it’s no doubt a good moment for them to see their names up there.

It was a clean session with nothing drastic happening except the usual lock ups, running wide and sporadic wheel-to-wheel battles.

Nobody appears to have really shown their hand making the Bahrain Grand Prix next Saturday (March 2) even more exciting and Total-Motorsport will bring you LIVE coverage of all sessions with analysis too.

For now it’s good day and goodbye, enjoy your evenings folks.

Pos.DriverTeamTimeTyreLaps
1LeclercFerrari1:30.222Soft74
2RussellMercedes+0.046S67
3ZhouSauber+0.325S85
4VerstappenRed Bull+0.433Medium66
5TsunodaRB+0.453S53
6AlbonWilliams+0.662S121
7PiastriMcLaren+0.708M91
8AlonsoAston Martin+0.837M75
9SainzFerrari+0.925M71
10PerezRed Bull+1.161M53
11HulkenbergHaas+1.364M89
12HamiltonMercedes+1.677S49
13StrollAston Martin+1.716M46
14NorrisMcLaren+1.786M20
15GaslyAlpine+1.827M47
16MagnussenHaas+2.731M80
17OconAlpine+2.757M55
18BottasSauber+3.206M28
19RicciardoRB+6.693Hard70
20SargeantWilliamsNo TimeN/AN/A

Russell goes 4th fastest

The Mercedes driver pumps in some fastest laps and teases all watching by setting a purple final sector. His time is good enough for fourth best behind Yuki Tsunoda (RB) and Max Verstappen (Red Bull) with Leclerc being 0.433 ahead after running softs.

25 minutes to go here.

Long run analysis: Verstappen vs Alonso

Both Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) and Max Verstappen headed to the track at a similar time on a similar tyre. Although precise fuel loads, engine modes and the extent the drivers are pushing is unknown, here is an analysis of their 13 laps.

Verstappen averaged a 1:37.253 across his 13 laps working out as 0.401 faster per lap, on average, across the comparison, suggesting the Red Bull has a comfortable buffer to Aston Martin – at least in the hands of the defending champion. Alonso averaged a 1:37.691.

Excluding Alonso’s two faster opening laps, the gap rises to half a second (0.537) which is consistent with what Williams predict the gap to Red Bull to be.

Here are the lap-by-lap differences from Alonso’s perspective:
-0.142
-0.008
+0.600
+0.578
+0.462
+0.683
+0.562
+0.561
+0.715
+0.387
+0.527
+0.295

One hour to go!

We’re into the final hour of testing for 2024 now and it’s pitch black in Bahrain save for the track floodlights.

Verstappen trails Leclerc by 0.433 and has done for a long time too. Alonso is 4th and Russell is 8th.

A small victory for Mercedes

Coming down the main straight, Russell is right on the gearbox of Charles Leclerc and he pulls to the inside to overtake him into Turn 1 and he didn’t use DRS either…

But considering the gap he opened up afterwards, they were not running equal performances be that tyre, engine or fuel loads.

Verstappen out on hards with flow-vis

Red Bull clearly have something they want to test as the bright green paint covers the right hand side of his RB20. He’s also on hard tyres as he finds out what his engineers need.

This uncertainty for Red Bull could be something to keep an eye on…

Here’s how things stand with 1hr and 28 minutes to go

Leclerc leads Verstappen by almost 0.450 in an encouraging session for Ferrari so far!

Pos.DriverTeamTimeLaps
1LeclercFerrari1:30.32229
2VerstappenRed Bull+0.43333
3PiastriMcLaren+0.70846
4AlonsoAston Martin+0.83740
5SainzFerrari+0.92571
6PerezRed Bull+1.16153
7HulkenbergHaas+1.36457
8HamiltonMercedes+1.67749
9StrollAston Martin+1.71646
10NorrisMcLaren+1.78620
11RussellMercedes+1.84143
12AlbonWilliams+2.261102
13TsunodaRB+2.34034
14GaslyAlpine+2.57433
15MagnussenHaas+2.73180
16OconAlpine+2.75755
17BottasSauber+3.20628
18RicciardoRB+6.69370
19ZhouSauber+6.85757
20SargeantWilliamsNo TimeN/A

More wheel to wheel action πŸ‘€

This time it’s the Williams slipping past the Haas into turn one. Both RB and Williams have cruised past the American team now, is that a worrying sign of how their rivals have left them behind?…

Wheel to wheel action πŸ‘€

Yuki Tsunoda in the RB sticks a move on Nico Hulkenberg into the final corner and blasts away with DRS down the main straight. Both compliant and fair, but it’s nice to see ahead of the fast push laps.

Leclerc setting the pace

Charles Leclerc has once again raised the bar by setting a new fastest time of the day, clocking in at an impressive 1:30.322. This time, he used another set of C4 tyres, further showcasing his speed on the softer compound. Leclerc’s latest lap is now four tenths quicker than Max Verstappen’s previous best, adding another layer of competition and intrigue to the testing session.

Sargeant positive

Logan Sargeant on Sky Sports F1: “To have this opportunity to be back with the team is special. Excited to continue this journey together. I think there are definite positives we felt in the new car, but there have been issues. Nonetheless, there is potential. It requires a different driving style.”

Leclerc fastest

Charles Leclerc has just set the new fastest time of the day with an impressive 1:30.409. Notably, this time was achieved on the softer C4 tyre, while Verstappen’s earlier lap, which was slightly slower, was on the harder C3 compound.

Leclerc’s performance, being 0.354 seconds faster than Verstappen, adds an intriguing element to the testing dynamics.

Lewis Hamilton talks about Ferrari move

Lewis Hamilton has spoken in the press conference about his impending move to Ferrari in 2025 and his desire to emulate Michael Schumacher at the Scuderia.

Verstappen goes fastest

Verstappen has claimed the top spot on the timing sheets after just a few laps. The Dutchman clocked an impressive 1:31.058s, a couple of tenths faster than Sainz.

Despite the track not reaching its peak speed yet and the times still lagging behind yesterday’s pace, Verstappen’s early performance is a strong statement of intent.

More drivers take to the track

Piastri is joined by Charles Leclerc who is also starting his run plan for Ferrari. Fernando Alonso comes out of the pits as well, as is Max Verstappen.

Piastri on his way out

Lando Norris faced a setback in his running as a clutch issue interrupted his session. Consequently, the team initiated their seat swap earlier than initially planned, and it appears that the process has been successfully completed.

Now, Piastri is in the car, donning his helmet and displaying readiness to hit the track. Given that he missed some running yesterday due to a red flag, it seems that reliability luck has balanced out between the two teammates. The team is poised to make the most of the remaining session with Piastri taking the wheel.

Driver changes coming up

Carlos Sainz is the only man out on track, as the teams get ready to make driver changes for the afternoon.

Magnussen the mechanic

An unusual sight unfolded at Haas, as Kevin Magnussen found himself in an impromptu mechanical role. With the driver half out of the car, he appeared to be working on something for an extended period.

A curious mechanic approached, and it turned out Magnussen was handed an old-fashioned hammer. He took the tool into the cockpit, vigorously addressing what seemed to be a loose component inside the car.

Magnussen, who has already completed 80 laps, has taken on the unexpected role of a makeshift mechanic. The humorous speculation suggests that perhaps his race seat was feeling a bit uncomfortable, prompting this hands-on approach to adjustments.

Race simulation for Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo has successfully executed a full race simulation, completing an impressive 58 laps without returning to the garage. This comprehensive simulation provides valuable insights into his performance throughout the session, starting with a full tank of fuel and concluding with minimal fuel remaining.

Ricciardo commenced the simulation on the C3 tyres, initially setting times in the 1:38s range. However, toward the end of his 14-lap stint, the times increased to the 1:40s.

Timesheet

PosDriverTeamTimeLaps
1Carlos SainzFerrari1:31.24752
2Sergio PerezRed Bull+0.23638
3Lewis HamiltonMercedes+0.86138
4Lance StrollAston Martin+1.11446
5Lando NorrisMcLaren+1.65520
6Alex AlbonWilliams+1.84625
7Kevin MagnussenHaas+2.02665
8Esteban OconAlpine+2.44343
9Valtteri BottasSauber+2.71838
10Daniel RicciardoRB+6.79766

Problems at Sauber

Concerns arise at Sauber as the screens are raised, indicating that the floor is off the car. This suggests a more significant issue than a routine seat swap for driver changes. Further investigation is needed to uncover the details of the situation.

Meanwhile, McLaren is also engaged in adjustments to their car. Norris, having completed only 20 laps this morning, indicates that the team is actively working on the vehicle. The nature of the adjustments and the reason for the limited laps are yet to be determined.

Six hours remaining

The testing session has been non-stop due to a recurring issue with a loose drain cover at Turn 11.

Approximately 75 minutes of valuable track time were lost during the repairs. In response, the FIA opted to forgo the lunch break and seamlessly combine the two testing sessions.

As the session progresses, Race Control will conduct checks in the final 10 minutes or so to ensure the proper functionality of Safety Car and red flag procedures. This meticulous assessment aims to guarantee the safety protocols are in place and functioning effectively.

Long run for Ricciardo

Ricciardo is currently placing emphasis on extended runs with heavier fuel loads, reminiscent of Yuki Tsunoda’s approach from the previous morning when he was in the Red Bull (RB) car.

Despite currently holding the bottom position on the timesheet, Ricciardo leads in terms of lap count, having completed 47 laps thus far. His laps are consistently in the 1:38s range as he focuses on gathering valuable data during this disrupted morning session. The strategic focus on heavier-fuel running indicates a deliberate effort to simulate race conditions and fine-tune performance for an extended period.

Ricciardo: “Is the wind pretty consistent?”

Engineer: “Confirmed. The wind is consistent.”

Hamilton on the C5 tyres

Hamilton moves into third position, trailing Sainz by 0.752 seconds on his fast lap with the C5 tyres, while Sainz’s lap was on the C3.

Hamilton faced challenges throughout the lap, with the car appearing unbalanced and losing time. Despite the less-than-ideal performance, one positive takeaway is the potential for significant time gains, given that the lap proved to be quite challenging.

It’s worth noting that the C5 tyre tends to lose performance towards the end of the lap. This suggests that there might be room for improvement as the team refines their strategy and optimizes the car’s balance.

Timesheet

PosDriverTeamTimeLaps
1Carlos SainzFerrari1:31.24715
2Sergio PerezRed Bull+0.40014
3Lando NorrisMcLaren+0.86114
4Lance StrollAston Martin+1.11417
5Lewis HamiltonMercedes+1.65510
6Alex AlbonWilliams+1.84613
7Kevin MagnussenHaas+2.02616
8Valtteri BottasSauber+2.44310
9Esteban OconAlpine+2.71811
10Daniel RicciardoRB+6.79715

Teams are up against it

The clock indicates 07:15:30 remaining until the chequered flag marks the conclusion of pre-season testing. While it may seem like a substantial amount of time, in reality, it’s quite limited. Approximately ten minutes are allocated for Race Control tests, including Safety Car procedures.

Additionally, with the exception of Williams, all teams are required to undergo a seat swap, a process that can take up to an hour as they change drivers. Throughout the remaining time, teams will need to bring the cars back for set-up changes, engage in race simulation runs, and manage various tasks. Considering the extensive checklist, they find themselves pressed for time, juggling multiple activities with the clock ticking down.

Green flag!!

After a delay of more than an hour we are back. Hamilton is the first out, followed by Sainz.

We are almost ready to restart

The drivers are putting their helmets back on and officials are checking the drain repairs.

Mekies frustrated

Laurent Mekies, RB Team Principal on Sky Sports F1: “[The delay] does have an impact, so that is very frustrating but Bahrain has been very good to us. We are waiting with Daniel [Ricciardo] to start a race sim, so we will start that as soon as the red flags lift.

“The only thing we look at in this test is grasping the right data and sending it back to the factory. Are we excited about it? No, because we know how difficult it is respective to the other guys. This is our last occasion to grab proper data, from race simulations to other things, and this is our last chance.”

Session restart time – To be confirmed

The session is set to be resumed at 11:45 local time, so less than 30 minutes from now. And it looks like lunch has been cancelled, so we will run right through until 19:00 local time.

While you’re waiting…

Here’s what happened on Day 2

No restart time as yet

The ongoing track repairs are still in progress, and as of now, there is no information available regarding a potential restart time. The teams are likely getting restless as this period is crucial, representing valuable time being lost. The third day is pivotal as teams typically elevate their engine performance and focus on refining setups. Their attention is directed toward the upcoming weekend and the opening race of the season. The delay in track activities poses a challenge for teams eager to make the most of this crucial phase in preparation.

Drain cover repairs

The red flag is still out as workers weld the drain cover in place at Turn 11. No word as to when the session will resume.

Red flag

Another drain cover has come loose. Turn 11 once again. These ground-effect cars generate quite a lot of power.

Sergio Perez went over the cover in the Red Bull and brought it loose. His car is being checked in the garage for any damage.

A reminder of morning driver line-up

Lando Norris – McLaren

Kevin Magnussen – Haas

Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes

Esteban Ocon – Alpine

Alex Albon – Williams (all day)

Valtteri Bottas – Sauber

Carlos Sainz – Ferrari

Daniel Ricciardo – RB

Sergio Perez – Red Bull

Lance Stroll – Aston Martin

Sainz sets the pace

Carlos Sainz has commenced his final pre-season session on the red-marked C4 tyres, and clocks in at a flat 1:32. Interestingly, Ferrari seems to be implementing some rear car upgrades not present on day one, as noted by F1’s Sam Collins.

Lando Norris, who faced a minor fuel system issue causing a loss of track time yesterday afternoon, is already up to four laps. As these opening minutes unfold, only the Sauber is yet to hit the track, and Valtteri Bottas remains in the garage.

Lewis Hamilton, praising the new Mercedes for being “much nicer to drive” than its predecessor, took to the track a few minutes into the session for an initial three-lap run on the C3s.

Plenty of cars on track

Stroll hits the track for Aston Martin, equipped with aero rakes positioned just behind his front wing.

Magnussen is also on the circuit, along with Norris and Sainz. Notably, Sainz and Ricciardo are already out on used soft tires, setting the stage for an intriguing session.

Are Ferrari the main challengers to Red Bull?

Sky Sports F1’s Anthony Davidson: “Carlos Sainz’s fastest time yesterday was only two tenths away from Max Verstappen’s pole position time from last year so it really goes to show the progress all teams have made since this time last year.

“We can expect them to be much, much faster perhaps by the end of the day, maybe even early on as there is less wind tunnel. It looks like the Ferrari is pretty drievable, it moves around a bit on the bumps, and Charles Leclerc also put in a good performance in the morning.

“The Ferrari does look pretty competitive but it’s not as competitive as the Red Bull of course. Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren and Aston Martin it’s very hard to choose between them.”

Green flag

Day 3 of testing is underway

Testing is not just about clocking the fastest times. With teams making significant changes over the winter break, the focus will be on reliability, aerodynamics, and getting a real sense of how the cars perform on the track compared to the wind tunnel and simulation predictions.

From the use of flow-vis paint and aero rakes to the strategic management of limited mileage, every aspect of testing is geared towards optimizing performance for the 2024 season opener, also in Bahrain, on March 2.

As we dive into the heart of F1 pre-season testing, keep an eye out for innovative design tweaks, watch for the teams’ ability to adapt and overcome challenges, and listen for whispers of sandbagging as teams may hold back their full potential until the races begin.

F1 Testing 2024 – Day 3 Driver Line-ups

TeamDriver (AM)Driver (PM)
Red BullSergio PerezMax Verstappen
FerrariCarlos SainzCharles Leclerc
MercedesLewis HamiltonGeorge Russell
AlpineEsteban OconPierre Gasly
McLarenLando NorrisOscar Piastri
SauberValtteri BottasZhou Guanyu
Aston MartinLance StrollFernando Alonso
HaasKevin MagnussenNico Hulkenberg
RBDaniel RicciardoYuki Tsunoda
WilliamsAlex AlbonAlex Albon

F1 Pirelli tyre testing 2024

Pirelli provides 35 sets of slick tyres per team, and each team can select and fit 30 sets (including two sets of intermediate tyres and two sets of full wet tyres, if required).

When is F1 testing 2024?

F1 2024 pre-season testing will run for three days from February 21-23, before it’s lights out for the Bahrain GP on March 2.

The action each day will begin at 10:00 local time and finish at 19:00, so teams will get well over an hour on track after the sun sets to simulate grand prix conditions too.

For UK viewers, that means watching 7:00-16:00 from Wednesday to Friday, with an hour’s shutdown for lunch each day too.

Where is F1 pre-season testing 2024?

Since 2023, Sakhir is the only location used for F1 pre-season testing after F1 officials decided to move away from the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and use the Bahrain International Circuit.

Recently, it has been used as a testing venue due to almost certain dry conditions and warmer weather in the winter, which is more representative than the conditions in Barcelona.

The sun sets at around 17:30 local time – Bahrain is three hours ahead of the UK – so teams will get around 90 minutes of night-time running that will best simulate conditions for the 2024 Bahrain GP.

How to watch F1 pre-season testing 2024?

Sky Sports F1 have secured the rights to show every minute of testing from Bahrain as part of their exclusive coverage agreement, which runs until 2029 in the UK.

As has often been the case in previous years, Sky’s commentary will combine with F1 Media for commentating and reporting duties due to the long-running sessions.

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