Ricciardo Takes the Lead in Bahrain Practice

Daniel Ricciardo emerged as the pace-setter in the initial practice session of the Bahrain Grand Prix, keeping Formula 1 enthusiasts guessing about the upcoming season a little while longer.

Representing Red Bull’s RB squad, Ricciardo utilized soft tires to outpace Lando Norris from McLaren and Oscar Piastri. Meanwhile, Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso claimed the title of the fastest driver on medium tires, securing the fifth spot, while the highly anticipated Max Verstappen trailed behind.

Verstappen, although regarded as a strong contender for the championship, voiced concerns throughout the session regarding his car’s performance. Nevertheless, he displayed glimpses of his potential by significantly outpacing his rivals on his initial flying lap, showcasing his prowess behind the wheel.

The management of Red Bull, under the guidance of team principal Christian Horner, continued to oversee operations amid the backdrop of an internal investigation into allegations of inappropriate conduct toward a female colleague.

Despite the conclusion of the investigation with a dismissal of the complaint, specific details regarding the nature of the allegation were not disclosed.

Despite widespread expectations of Verstappen and Red Bull’s dominance in the upcoming season, the session saw Verstappen grappling with issues related to inconsistent gearshifts, a recurring challenge for him in recent seasons.

However, his performance on medium tires initially placed him ahead of his competitors until Alonso’s late surge in the session under presumably more favorable track conditions.

Yuki Tsunoda further bolstered Red Bull’s strong showing by securing the fourth-fastest time, closely trailing Ricciardo and Norris. Notable performances also came from George Russell of Mercedes and Charles Leclerc of Ferrari, with Russell edging out Leclerc in the rankings.

As the session progressed, Carlos Sainz of Ferrari and Sergio Perez of Red Bull posted respectable times, positioning themselves for further improvements in the subsequent sessions.

A more accurate assessment of the teams’ relative competitiveness is anticipated in the upcoming sessions, providing a clearer picture as the conditions evolve to mirror those of qualifying and the race.