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Max fastest after first test day Bahrain: 'We had a really nice day'

Published on 21 February 2024 by Kees-Jan Koster

The first day of the three-day Formula 1 test ahead of the 2024 season went well for the Oracle Red Bull Racing team and Max Verstappen. The reigning world champion was driving the brand new RB20 all day and completed no less than 142 laps. More laps than all other teams except for Haas. Max finished the morning session as fastest and was again the fastest at the end of the day. His fastest time, a 1:31.344 set on yellow C3 tyres, was more than 1.1 seconds faster than the fastest time set by Lando Norris in P2. Carlos Sainz in his Ferrari completed the top three.

“It is nice to be back”, says Max after the end of the first day. “I think we had a really nice day. A lot of laps and we could try a few things with the car. Very happy overall.”

Max continues: “Good to be back in an F1 car. It always surprises you a bit the first few laps, how quick it is compared to anything else. Good fun out there. I was very happy with how the car was responding, very well balanced. Of course it was only testing, but we had a good day.”

After setting the fastest time in the morning, Max starts the second part of the first test day. His time stands till halfway through the session, when Lando Norris in his McLaren narrowly goes faster. With Norris also on the C3 tyres.

McLaren and Norris are not able to enjoy that P1 for long, as Max sets a 1:31.662 only a couple of minutes later. The three-time world champion shows that he is a force to be reckoned with again this year. The gap of more than eight tenths puts a big smile on the face of Max’ engineer GianPiero Lambiase.

It is getting dark when there is still and hour and ten minutes to go. Max goes again to improve his time, but after two purple sectors, this is prevented when he loses the rear in turn thirteen and the Dutchman continues to do a longer run.

With only half an hour to go, Max comes out back on track again with a new set of tyres. Purple first and second sectors and a yellow third take three tenths of his time, increasing the gap to Norris to 1.1 seconds.

In the final phase of the day, we can conclude that it was a good day for Red Bull Racing. McLaren and Ferrari are not too much behind, and the RB in the hands of Daniel Ricciardo in P4 has a good pace. The speed of the Mercedes is hard to judge. Williams was suffering from issues for both Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant, and Haas also would have wanted to have a better day.

The second day of testing will be shared by both Red Bull Racing drivers. Sergio Perez will take the morning session and Max the afternoon.

Results day 1: