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Max quickest on opening morning of pre-season test

Published on 21 February 2024 by Stefan Meens

Max Verstappen was quickest on the opening morning of the only 2024 pre-season test. The Oracle Red Bull Racing driver enjoyed a productive start to his season by completing 66 laps of the Bahrain International Circuit before stopping for lunch. His quickest effort in the new RB20 (1:32.548) was almost seven tenths quicker than second placed Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari.

“It’s great to be back at the circuit”, said Max. “I’ve enjoyed the off-season in which I tried to spend as much time at home to prepare for this year. Of course, it’ll be difficult to repeat our 2023 season, but we’ll try to build on it.”

By setting the quickest lap in the morning of day one, Max is hoping to confirm his thoughts before the test: “I think this can be a competitive car, but it’s up to us to make the most of it. I’m really looking forward to this season.

The first session of the three-day test is uneventful. The only team seemingly struggling is Williams. Alex Albon only manages to complete 44 laps in the new FW46 and even has to park his car trackside due to technical problems.

At the start of the session, McLaren are off the mark slow, with Oscar Piastri unable to get laps in until later in the session. When the papaya orange car does venture out on track, it is fourth fastest, completing 57 laps.

The most productive driver of the morning is Fernando Alonso. The veteran laps the Bahrain circuit 77 times in the new Aston Martin.

For the afternoon session, most teams opt for a driver switch with only Red Bull Racing and Mercedes keeping Max Verstappen and George Russell behind the wheel of their 2024-spec cars.