The Day 1 in F1 2024 Bahrain Test was relatively smooth as Max Verstappen showcased ominous pace against its rivals, while Williams had reliability issues.

The first day out of the blocks in F1 2024 in Bahrain saw a trouble-free day for majority of the runners apart from Williams, who faced fuel pressure trouble with Alexander Albon and then a driveshaft problem when Logan Sargeant took over the car.

It is down to balance trouble in the brand new car they have. Their immediate rivals had a clean run even though pace wise they were a bit on the down side. Whether Haas and or Stake F1 Team and even Visa Cash App RB, all had good amount of laps done.

In fact, Visa Cash App RB looked the best of this lot mixing with the likes of Alpine and even Mercedes to a certain extent. The German team only ran George Russell and didn’t go for any glory run, while opted to get as many laps under their belt for data collection.

It was all quiet at the end of Aston Martin, Ferrari and McLaren too, as all six drivers got their laps in. They were at a distant to Red Bull and Verstappen to start off, but that is expected phenomenon where the gap is the thing to watch out for.

Max Verstappen: “It feels good to be back in an F1 car again and I had fun out on track today. We covered a lot of laps and tried quite a few things with the car, which was important, so happy overall with how it went. After the winter break, the first few laps always surprise you a little but then you get back into the swing of things pretty quickly. Overall, the car was responding well and considering this was only testing we had a nice day. Looking to tomorrow, we are speaking to our engineers about what the plans will be, but I am looking forward to getting into the car in the afternoon.”

Lando Norris: “First of all, I’m really happy to be back behind the wheel. Our first test with the new car felt very enjoyable and it was reliable on track, so all in all, a positive day. We worked through a number of items during the session, as expected in testing, sticking to the plan and executing it well. There are still two long days of testing ahead of us and still a lot to improve and set up, but it’s all moving in the right direction. I am looking forward to driving again tomorrow and continuing to put the MCL38 through its paces.”

Oscar Piastri: “First day of testing done for me and it all went relatively smoothly. It was a pretty solid day, and it was nice to be back on track in representative conditions. We’ll see what we can work through over the remainder of the test and aim to get a good understanding of the car by the end of it. The car felt reasonable and I would say there are some differences from last year which are moving in the right direction. It’s been a decent start to testing, and I look forward to getting back in the car for day two tomorrow.”

Charles Leclerc: “Our first morning of testing was quite productive, especially in terms of mileage. As for the performance, it’s just too early to comment or draw conclusions. We ran all the tests we planned to and things are going ahead as expected, which is a positive. We will continue working and hope to have two more useful days of testing ahead of the GP.”

Carlos Sainz: “It’s been a positive first day of testing here in Bahrain with 373 km completed. We managed to go through the whole programme without issues, gathering some useful data to better understand the SF-24 together with the engineers. As usual with pre-season testing, it’s too early to draw any conclusions yet, so we’ll keep maximising the upcoming two days of running to get ready for the start of the season next week. It felt good to be back properly behind the wheel after the winter break.”

Pierre Gasly: “It’s great to be back in the car to start the 2024 season. It’s been a positive day where we ran our programme accurately and completed all our intended laps. That is the most important thing about testing: to run reliably and complete plenty of laps. The initial feeling in the car is good but now it is important for us to dig into the data, do our analysis and continue to unlock performance. I’m back in the car tomorrow morning and I’m already looking forward to continuing that hard work.”

Esteban Ocon: “It was the first day of proper running with the new car and it was good to get 60 laps under our belt in the morning session. It was also nice to get out on track again and feel the sensation of driving after the winter break. We completed the intended programme and found things to work and improve on in the coming days. At this stage of the test, it’s about getting a decent feel of the car and for the overall balance. We will keep going and continue working hard for the remainder of the test. I’m back in the car tomorrow afternoon and already looking ahead and working hard with the team.”

George Russell: “It was great to drive the W15 for the first time in anger today. From hitting the ground, it felt like we had a good foundation to start from. We completed lots of laps and have plenty of data to go through tonight. We ended the day in a reasonably good spot, and we can build from here over the next two days. We will be focused on maximising mileage for learning rather than chasing an optimum sweet spot with the car. Overall, the W15 does feel nicer to drive than last year’s car. We know that it’s not about the feeling, but the speed. Nevertheless, today was about learning and not about chasing performance. We’re focused on ourselves at this test, and it will only be next week where we see where we stack up against the others. It was a positive first day and I’m looking forward to being back in the car on Friday.”

Valtteri Bottas: “We had a productive first morning of testing, and I’m thrilled to be back on track. It seems that we have made some improvements compared to last year and we were able to get a good feel for our car. The correlation between our simulator data and what we’re experiencing on the track is definitely reassuring, especially on the first day of testing. We started with a solid baseline setup for the car and were able to log some good mileage. Now, our focus shifts to fine-tuning and understanding raw lap times in the coming days. While our progress feels promising, the true improvement of performance will be revealed next week.”

Zhou Guanyu: “Today has been a promising day for us; we were able to complete our programme for the day, focusing on the long runs and on switching between different setups. Our car seems to be heading in the right direction, and even though there is definitely still room for improvement, the feeling is pretty good. I reckon the aggressive approach we have taken over the winter allowed us to make a step forward compared to last year’s car, and you can tell the difference out there on track, which is great. Now, for the next two days, it’ll be important to tick all the boxes, in order to come prepared ahead of next week. It is too early to say anything about our competitors, as of course everyone is going through their own programmes during testing; we will be focusing on our own and aim to get as much mileage and track time as possible.”

Logan Sargeant: “We didn’t get through everything we wanted to do today but it wasn’t all negative. The car is different so that takes some ironing out in a positive way. Whilst it’s the direction we needed to head with the car, there are some balance issues that we still need to tune out but it has taken away a lot of the big issues we had last year. It’s just about managing the new way the car needs to be set up and driven, so once we figure it out, it’ll be a better car. For the moment, I’ve only done 21 laps, so I’m looking forward to a whole day in the car tomorrow. Hopefully, we can understand the issues we had today and get on top of them.”

Alexander Albon: “It was an ok first day. It’s hot and windy out there so not always the nicest conditions to drive in, but generally, it was a relatively smooth day. We had a fuel pump issue towards the end of my session which we fixed. We’re trying to understand just how different the car is from last year, however we know it’s early days to say what the car is like. It has definitely fixed some of our previous issues, however, as a consequence, we’re combating some balance trade-offs. We’ve got three days of testing which never feels like enough time but we’re getting there and making inroads already.”

Kevin Magnussen: “I feel very good. Physically, it was a good morning as it’s always fun getting back into the car after the winter. I think we had a pretty positive morning, we just focused on long runs and we’re really trying to address the issues that we had last year with the tires. That’s going to be our main focus and we’re happy about what we saw this morning, but there’s clearly a lot of work to do but everyone’s fired up to investigate and learn about this new car.”

Nico Hulkenberg: “Our afternoon was mainly about high-fuel, long runs and the objective was to learn about the car and try some things with the tires. We know it was our weakness last year so that’s really been the focus today. It was all good and positive, there were no issues on the technical side and with 82 laps on the board, everything was achieved.”

Here’s the F1 Bahrain Test line-up:

Here’s how Day 1 of F1 2024 Bahrain Test panned out

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