Formula 1 before the start of the season: The fastest Red Bull and Ferrari

Author of the article: , published on February 22, 2024.

After reigning world champion Max Verstappen in Red Bull's RB20 won the first day of Formula One winter testing in Bahrain with a lap more than a second faster than anyone else, it was Carlos Sainz in the Ferrari SF24 who came out on top on day two, 0.758 seconds faster than Sergio Perez, who took over test duties.

Sainz's 1:29.921 was faster than Verstappen's 1:31.344, but on the softer C4 compound, while the Dutchman set the opening day's fastest time on the yellow C3 variant, which will be the softest compound available at the Bahrain GP , next weekend, and Sainz was 1.240 seconds slower than Verstappen at the end of the first day on the same tire, despite setting the third fastest time.

Lando Norris (McLaren) was a tenth faster, and Daniel Ricciardo in the VCARB01 racecar of the Visa Cash App RB team, as the other Red Bull team AlphaTauri was called this year, finished in the top five on the first day.

Pierre Gasly (Alpine) was fifth, while Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll was sixth with a time 1.663 seconds worse. Charles Leclerc, Fernando Alonso, Oscar Piastri and Zhou Guanyu also finished in the top ten on the first day. Verstappen was not only the fastest on the first day, but also drove the most laps (142) and thus thoroughly tested the concept of minimum sides, which Red Bull adopted for this season.

Although testing times tend not to reveal the true picture, Lewis Hamilton gave the Mercedes team some reasons for optimism with his third time, although he was 1.145 seconds behind Sainz and 0.4 seconds behind Perez. Despite technical problems, the brakes were bothering him, the Mexican managed to collect 129 laps, the most among all racers. A fourth time put Lando Norris ahead of Daniel Ricciardo in fifth.

The teams and racers lost two hours of time when, in the morning, Leclerc ran into an unfastened shaft cover in the 11th corner and damaged his Ferrari, and Hamilton also crashed into the wreckage. The day was extended by one hour in the afternoon.

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