Ricciardo quickest in opening session


Ahead of today's opening session the air temperature is 20 degrees C, while the track temperature is 36 degrees. It is very, very windy, which, other than the problem this presents in itself, also adds a sandy track surface to the mix.

In terms of upgrades, as expected the cars look a little different to those renders and darkened photos we saw a couple of weeks back.

Red Bull has brought a new Front Wing, Nose, Sidepod Inlet, Floor Edge, Louvres, Coke/Engine Cover and Front Wing Endplate, while Mercedes has a new Front Wing, Sidepod Inlet, Floor Body, Coke/Engine Cover, Beam Wing and Rear Wing and Ferrari a new Sidepod Inlet, Coke/Engine Cover and Rear Corner.

At McLaren there's a new Sidepod Inlet, Coke/Engine Cover, Floor Edge and Rear Wing, while Aston Martin brings a new Front Wing, Nose, Floor Body, Floor Edge, Sidepod Inlet , Coke/Engine Cover, Rear Suspension, Rear Corner and Beam Wing.

Alpine has a new Front Wing and Floor Edge, while Williams has a new Front Wing, Front Suspension, Floor Body, Floor Fences, Floor Edge, Sidepod Inlet, Coke/Engine Cover, Beam Wing, Rear Wing, Rear Suspension and Rear Corner, and RB a new Nose, Front Wing, Front Suspension, Front Corner, Floor Body, Floor Edge, Diffuser, Sidepod Inlet, Coke/Engine Cover, Cooling Louvres and Rear Wing.

Stake has a new Front Suspension, Coke/Engine Cover and Floor Body, while finally Haas brings a new Front Wing Endplate, Front Wing, Sidepod Inlet, Floor Body, Floor Fences, Floor Edge, Coke/Engine Cover, Front Suspension, Front Corner, Rear Suspension and Rear Corner.

As is ever the case, with qualifying and the race tasking place in entirely different conditions, this session is somewhat unrepresentative - as is FP3 tomorrow - but at least it allows the teams to try those updates.

The lights go green and Hulkenberg gets the season underway, he is followed by Bottas, Magnussen, Zhou and the Alpines.

Soon all bar Verstappen, Stroll, Sargeant and Russell are on track.

Hulkenberg posts the first time of the day, a 38.955, though this is quickly beaten by his teammate (37.931). Mediums are the order of the day.

Sainz posts a 35.299 but Perez responds with a 35.093. A 35.616 sees Piastri go third.

Zhou pits after reporting that his "brake is not working".

Hamilton posts a 34.630 and Russell a 34.664 to make it a Mercedes 1-2, as Leclerc goes third with a 34.676.

Verstappen's first flying lap sees the Dutchman go quickest by 0.644, moments after Sainz improved to 34.544.

A 33.984 sees Perez close to within 0.084s of his teammate.

"Everything is ******* like miles off," complains Verstappen as Hamilton splits the Bulls with a 33.925.

Leclerc goes fourth and Alonso fifth as Zhou remains the only driver yet to post a time.

Verstappen improves to 33.900 but Russell responds with a 33.749. However, quickest in S2, the Dutchman crosses the line at 33.535.

Alonso goes fourth with a 33.929, the Spanish veteran quickest in the opening sector.

Zhou finally posts a time, the Stake driver stopping the clock at 37.623 to go 18th.

"Still very bad upshifts and downshifts, the car is literally jumping," says Verstappen, as Sainz is unhappy with his brake balance.

25 minutes into the session Piastri is the first driver to switch to softs, McLaren not having brought the red-banded rubber to last week's test.

The Australian is currently 14th, while his teammate is 8th.

A purple in S2 is followed by a a PB in S3 as Piastri crosses the line at 33.113 to go top by 0.422.

Norris switches to the red-banded rubber as he, his teammate, Stroll and Gasly have the track to themselves.

Tsunoda heads out on softs.

Like his teammate, Norris is quickest in S2 then follows up with a PB, crossing the line at 32.901 to go quickest by 0.212.

Ricciardo and Bottas also make the switch to the softs as Tsunoda goes quickest in the opening sector. The RB driver goes third with a 33.183 as Hamilton improves to 33.302.

As Ricciardo goes quickest (32.869), in the Stake garage work continues on Zhou's car. Meanwhile, teammate Bottas improves to 8th with a 33.354.

"I don't think we will improve," claims Ricciardo as Sainz admits to struggling with the front of his car in Turn 1.

With 17 minutes remaining Zhou heads back out... on softs.

Because this session is unrepresentative, the big guns are clearly choosing not to use the softs.

Zhou goes 13th with a 33.923.

"Super inconsistent the car at the moment," reports Ocon as Stroll has a big, big lock-up and subsequently pits.

On fresh mediums Alonso improves to fifth with a 33.193, just 0.324s off the pace.

Hamilton complains of an issue with his downshifts.

With 5 minutes remaining there are 17 drivers on track.

Both Haas drivers are over 4.5s off the pace, 2.2s down on 18th placed Ocon.

Perez is told that he's losing out in Turns 8 and 10 while Stroll complains that his car is "super snappy".

"Very inconsistent downshifts again," reports Verstappen.

Hulkenberg has completed the most laps (25), ahead of Sainz (24)Norris, Piastri, Tsunoda, Russell, Gasly and Magnussen all on 22.

The session ends.

Ricciardo is quickest, ahead of Norris, Piastri, Tsunoda, Alonso, Verstappen, Russell, Leclerc, Hamilton and Bottas.

Sainz is eleventh, ahead of Perez, Albon, Stroll, Zhou, Sargeant, Ocon, Gasly, Magnussen and Hulkenberg.

Check out our Thursday gallery from Bahrain here.

Article from Pitpass (http://www.pitpass.com):

Published: 29/02/2024
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