Max Verstappen opened pre-season testing ahead of the start of the 2024 F1 season with the fastest time behind the wheel of the Red Bull RB20 he drove all day, with Lando Norris second fastest by more than a second on the same tyre compound.

Red Bull and Mercedes were the only teams to field a single driver on the first day as Perez and Hamilton were the only ones not to drive, and Verstappen took advantage of this to complete a large number of laps (143) and was generally fastest on track.

The current world champion was the fastest in the first part of the day with a time of 1:32.548 on C3 Pirelli tyres, which was enough for him to be about seven tenths ahead of Leclerc.

But in the afternoon, track conditions were even better and temperatures dropped by more than 10 degrees Celsius, so Verstappen improved his morning time twice more, both times on C3 tyres.

For the first time, Verstappen broke his own time a little less than two hours before the end of the day with a lap of 1:31.662, and 26 minutes before the end he improved that time by another three tenths (1:31.344) for more than a second ahead of Norris in McLaren.

With this lap, Verstappen broke the best time of the first day of the test last year (1:32.837) by 1.5 s and was faster than the fastest time at the first practice in 2023 by 1.4 s.

Norris took over the McLaren MCL38 from Piastri in the afternoon and set the second fastest lap, a tenth ahead of Sainz in the Ferrari.

Ricciardo finished fourth for RB after several mistakes in attempting a fast lap on the C3 tyres, and on his fastest lap of the afternoon he locked the wheels on Turn 1 braking and failed to improve on his best first sector.

Gasly took fifth for Alpine ahead of Stroll who was the faster Aston Martin driver as he drove in the afternoon and seventh was Leclerc, the fastest of the morning drivers.

Alonso finished eighth for Aston Martin thanks to his time from the first part of the day ahead of Piastri and Zhou while Sargeant finished 11th for Williams despite spinning out at turn 10 with a drive shaft problem.

Russell was the only driver for Mercedes and set the 12th fastest time with 122 laps, followed by Tsunoda, Bottas, Albon and Ocon who only drove in the morning.

Haas drivers Magnussen and Hulkenberg took the starting position with more than a second behind the nearest competition.

The test continues tomorrow, and like today, it will be driven in two parts – from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m (CET).


1VerstappenRed Bull1431:31.344
6StrollAston Martin541:33.0071.663
8AlonsoAston Martin771:33.3852.041
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