Formula 1

2024 Bahrain Grand Prix – What the Drivers are Saying after Thursday Practice – Part 2

5 Mins read
Credit: Steven Tee / LAT Images

The 2024 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season got underway on Thursday at the Bahrain International Circuit, and after the belief that Oracle Red Bull Racing would dominate again, the picture on Thursday told a very different story, at least at this time.

Daniel Ricciardo and the Visa CashApp RB Team paced the opening session of the season under the sunshine in Bahrain, but the times tumbled in the second, more representative session where the soft tyre came to the fore, and Lewis Hamilton led the way this time around for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team.

In part two of the review, the other ten drivers from the second session share their thoughts on day one of the season!

#23 – Alexander Albon – Williams Racing

“We were relatively surprised by our pace in FP1 but by FP2, we found a good pace on the Medium tyre, however lost a little bit on the Softs. The cars around us are quicker than I’d like, especially the Haas, so we need to look at what we can do better.

“The car feels different behind the wheel but it’s not yet translating to performance, so we’ve got some work to do. Everyone seems to have made a big step over the break as well, so it’s difficult to say but it’s early days and there’s still a lot to learn from the car.”

#3 – Daniel Ricciardo – Visa CashApp RB

“It was a good day and good testing for us. We had our five minutes of fame in the morning, but as much as it was nice to see your name at the top, we knew not many teams put on the soft tyre compound in FP1 and that we’d get a true picture of where we’re at this evening.

“During the day, it’s sunny, so there’s a lot to take into account for our strong FP1 result, but track conditions change so much at night. We made some adjustments after FP1, and I think there’s a little more we can do, so I’m excited to get stuck into the data.

“I’m staying optimistic because we know some areas to find more time, and I feel if we put it all together, we can fight for Q3 tomorrow and points on Saturday. Let’s see if we can crack into the top 10.

#2 – Logan Sargeant – Williams Racing

“Today was good. The car felt like a big step forward from the test and shows that the work that Alex and the team did on day three was a step in the right direction. I’m generally happy with the car and the balance.

“There’s some fine tuning to do but I’m quite confident with the car I have underneath me, we just need to see where we are pace wise tomorrow.

“It’s good to be starting my second season this weekend and I’m looking forward to continually improving myself and being consistent through the year.” 

#20 – Kevin Magnussen – MoneyGram Haas F1 Team

“I think it’s been a pretty decent day. There’s still a big uncertainty on other people’s fuel loads etc. but again we were focusing on race runs and that was actually good – I’m encouraged so far. On low-fuel, it’s still going to be a big learning curve as we haven’t had any running – FP2 was the first real low-fuel run that we did, so lots to learn there.

“It seems simpler than the high-fuel running, which I feel like we’ve gone in the right direction with in terms of tire-wear at least. I’m curious to learn about the real pace of the car in race conditions but tire degradation is better.”

Kevin Magnussen was happy with Thursday’s running in Bahrain – Credit: Steven Tee / LAT Images

#22 – Yuki Tsunoda – MoneyGram Haas F1 Team

“Today wasn’t an easy day and we are not where we want to be yet. That’s normal after the first day of Practice, so there’s nothing to worry about.

“Even if making it to Q3 seems difficult at the moment, I’m confident we can turn things around in time for Qualifying tomorrow. We now have a lot of things to look at tonight, but our aim still remains to be inside the top 10 tomorrow, which would be great.”

#10 – Pierre Gasly – BWT Alpine F1 Team

“We’re back on track for the first Practice of the season. We tried some things on the car throughout the day, which resulted in some positive learnings. The car was certainly trickier in the first session under the hot and gusty conditions.

“We reverted some things and I had a better feeling in the car in the evening session. We know the performance is not quite where we want it to be but we’re continuing to understand more and more each time we’re on track.

“Patience is required and we’ll try to make the best with the package we have in our hands right now. The team and I are working hard to keep finding performance. We’ll see what we can do tomorrow and on Saturday and I’m ready to keep pushing.”

Pierre Gasly was only sixteenth on Friday – Credit: Simon Galloway / LAT Images

#77 – Valtteri Bottas – Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber

“It was good to finally get the season underway with the first practice sessions of the year and get some more mileage in. I reckon we learned a lot since testing last week, working around and discovering more about the setup of our car: still, there is some extra work that needs to be done, especially on the single-lap performance.

“This’ll be our main task overnight and during the final practice session tomorrow morning. It seems we are still quite close to our main competitors, and it’ll likely come down to a handful of tenths in Qualifying tomorrow.”

#31 – Esteban Ocon – BWT Alpine F1 Team

“It was a productive day of Practice where we ran through different programmes and learnt more about the car. The morning session was particularly difficult with the windy conditions, but the car felt much better in FP2.

“We seem to be better in the evening in cooler conditions compared to the morning session. That’s something to be positive about, as they’re the conditions we’ll be Qualifying in tomorrow and racing in on Saturday.

“We look more competitive in the long runs, but we need to find more pace over a single lap to put us in a better position for Qualifying. We will analyse the data overnight and work hard to unlock some performance, especially in Qualifying trim.”

Esteban Ocon was unable to match the pace of his team-mate on Thursday – Credit: Steven Tee / LAT Images

#24 – Zhou Guanyu – Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber

“It was good to be back on track in an official session. Today’s conditions were quite different from what we experienced during testing, which made it fairly interesting: we had some issues in the morning, but our afternoon went quite smoothly, and we were able to tick all our boxes.

“Now, our focus is on getting everything ready ahead of tomorrow’s qualifying: it’s difficult to evaluate the true pecking order, as FP2 didn’t show the true potential of our performance and, similarly, we don’t know what everyone else was doing.

“It’s a very close midfield, once again, and we might have a tight qualifying session.”

#4 – Lando Norris – McLaren F1 Team

“It’s been a reasonable day. I’m happy with how Thursday went overall. We made some progress with the car, there are still plenty of things to improve on, but we improved the balance and I got more comfortable, which is a good thing.

“I didn’t do a great job in putting a lap together, so it wasn’t a very representative day on the timesheets, but overall, a good first day and a good start to the weekend.” 

Lando Norris felt his lap times were not representative of McLaren’s pace this weekend – Credit: Zak Mauger / LAT Images
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Long time motorsport fanatic, covering Formula 1 and the occassional other series. Feel free to give him a follow on Twitter at @Paul11MSport.
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