Bahrain GP 2024

FEBRUARY 29, 2024

Thursday Team Quotes

George Russell
© Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Oracle Red Bull Racing

Max Verstappen (6th, 1:30.851): "The practice sessions today were not perfect but we weren't too far off. The long runs were quite decent, and I think we can always do a little better on those laps. There were a few small balance issues that we will work on but I am quite happy with everything with the car overall. Today was just about trying to find that sweet spot and getting the perfect balance in the car. Performing well in qualifying is important, so we will make sure the car is in good shape ahead of tomorrow. I'm not too worried about the gap to P1 and we aren't looking too much at the others and are just focusing on ourselves at the moment. It's going to be very close in qualifying but we will try and work a bit more and fight for pole tomorrow."

Sergio Perez (10th, 1:31.115): "I think these sessions were key and very interesting, we have a plenty to explore on the car, that we didn't have the chance to during testing, so we are exploring it now with the mechanical balance here and there. The good thing is that whatever we do on performance runs seems to help the long runs. We just have one aim, which is to make a more balanced car and that will make things better for the race and qualifying. Today was as expected. We heard a lot of people saying that we were a second ahead after testing, which made me smile because I knew things would be a lot closer. It is looking very competitive across the grid, and it is going to be tight on Friday night in quali."

Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team

Lewis Hamilton (1st, 1:30.374): "It was very windy in FP1, and the track was very different to during the test. We didn't know exactly where we would stack up against everyone else, but we had a positive FP2 session. The car was feeling good, but we can't get ahead of ourselves. We know there is more to extract, and our long run pace isn't in the fight with the Red Bulls. Overall though, I'm feeling much happier with the car than last year. We've made some good improvements and it feels much more like a race car. It's a really good platform for us to build from. We just need to keep our heads down and keep chasing."

George Russell (2nd, 1:30.580): "We're not going to get carried away after one day of practice. Our qualifying pace did look strong. We made some changes from the test and the improvement exceeded our expectations. But ultimately our long run pace is where it counts. Verstappen looked comfortably quickest, and it was very tight with the Ferraris, the McLarens, and the Aston Martins. So we've likely got a real fight on our hands there. Nevertheless, we're pleased with how our day has gone; the car is performing well. We will sit down and understand where the main improvements came from and try to sustain that. We want to be fighting for good positions on Saturday night."

Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director: "Following the test we were most concerned about our single lap pace. We had both drivers in the simulator before returning here. From the running today, it looks like we have improved. We're certainly not getting carried away, as there is plenty of scope within power unit modes and fuel loads for several cars to find a chunk of time before tomorrow. It's encouraging though that the picture we had last week seems to have improved. The long run data also looks close. Verstappen is still comfortably out front, as we saw last week, but behind him it's going to be a tight battle for the remaining podium spots. We know we've got plenty to fine tune on the balance. It's still early days with the W15, and we're learning how to get lap-time out of it with each run, but it's already feeling very different to the last two years that we have been here."

Scuderia Ferrari

Carlos Sainz (4th, 1:30.769): "It was a trickier practice day compared to testing with lower temps and higher winds, which made it more difficult to be consistent on track. We obviously don't know the run plan of the others, but in terms of competitiveness it looks like we're more or less where we expected to be. Apart from that, I feel we have had a good Thursday, completing all our programme and tyre testing. Now it's time to analyse the data and get ready for tomorrow's quali. I look forward to it, it looks like it's going to be tight!"

Charles Leclerc (9th, 1:31.113): "First day done. Not much to say, as it's very difficult to read our competitiveness for now but there were no big surprises. It was good to be back in the car alongside all the other drivers to kick off the season. Now we have quite a lot of work to do, especially in terms of balance. Let's see where we stand tomorrow."

McLaren Formula 1 Team

Oscar Piastri (5th, 1:30.784): "It was a good session. I felt like we were pretty competitive in both low and high fuel running. It'll be interesting to see what we're like tomorrow, but I think it was a pretty solid day overall. I was happy with my driving, and we got some good information out of the session. It will be interesting to see what the grid is like when all the sandbags are gone, but I think we're about where we expected to be and we're in a good place going into tomorrow."

Lando Norris (20th, 1:32.608): "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."

Andrea Stella, Team Principal: "Overall, a productive first day of practice. We had no major issues and we got through our test programme. Even though we've had three days of testing, there is always a lot to finalise when it comes to the race weekend, and today we worked on setup. It was also important to develop our understanding of the tyres in conditions that were colder in comparison to the test. Oscar had a good session both on new tyres and long runs, while Lando couldn't complete his single timed lap on the Soft, which meant his position in the classification was not very meaningful. But we're happy with the information we've acquired, and we seem to be in a decent position to score points. We'll try to maximise our package tomorrow and put ourselves in the best position for the rest of the weekend."

Aston Martin Aramco F1 Team

Fernando Alonso (3rd, 1:30.660):

Lance Stroll (8th, 1:30.891):

BWT Alpine F1 Team

Pierre Gasly (16th, 1:31.951): "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."

Esteban Ocon (18th, 1:32.027): "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."

Williams Racing

Alexander Albon (11th, 1:31.333): "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."

Logan Sargeant (13th, 1:31.715): "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."

Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: "It was good to get the car running again and have all 20 drivers on the track. Inevitably teams start to converge on run programmes once we are into a race weekend and so the competitive picture becomes a little less fuzzy. That said, we won't know until tomorrow evening what the order really is. Both drivers had productive days despite the windy conditions. The FW46 was performing well and reliably, and we were able to test some different setup approaches, which helps to correlate the simulator to the track, and prepares us for hotter events to come. We didn't quite get everything from the Soft tyres today but we can improve that tomorrow. We also need to watch the weather as we will likely face cool and calmer conditions as the event progresses. There is work to do but we have a solid platform to build on."

Visa Cash App RB Formula One

Daniel Ricciardo (12th, 1:31.516): "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."

Yuki Tsunoda (15th, 1:31.881): "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."

Alan Permane, Racing Director: "Today was a fairly standard day for us. We looked fairly quick in the morning session because we took the soft tyre. We planned to run two sets of the medium and two of the soft compounds today to take one in each session, so we could have a baseline of the car at the end of FP1 to help us with our assessment and changes for FP2. We are reasonably happy with where things are at. We'll look closely at the changes we made, to understand why we were possibly less competitive in FP2. Overall, it was still a productive day during which we completed all the testing we had on our programme."

Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber

Valtteri Bottas (17th, 1:32.001): "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."

Guanyu Zhou (19th, 1:32.048): "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."

MoneyGram Haas F1 Team

Nico Hulkenberg (7th, 1:30.884): "It was a pretty good Friday - the first one of the year - so not much of a reference yet. This morning, we continued to focus on long-run and race-pace stuff, trying a couple of things. This afternoon was more like a normal program. The pace over one lap was maybe a bit unexpected but also there's no reason to get over-excited or over-ambitious now. I think there were a few people who didn't do low-fuel runs and have more potential, but it's going to be tight and fun to see. I expect a very tight field in qualifying, like it was last year, it will continue to be like that – so the smallest mistake can have a big impact. I'm not exactly sure where we'll slot in, but we'll put everything that we have into tomorrow."

Kevin Magnussen (14th, 1:31.764): "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."

Ayao Komatsu, Team Principal: "In FP1, it was a continuation of building on from the work of last week – looking at the high-fuel long-run performance – because that's still our biggest limitation. That's why looking at the timesheets we were bottom two but we weren't worried about that, we were focused on our program like we were in testing. I'm happy that we learned a couple of things that led to changes for FP2. In FP2, the conditions were very different compared to testing, it was actually quite cold. In both sessions, it was pretty windy and more difficult compared to testing as well. In FP2, we looked at our low-fuel performance for the first time since the third day of testing. Again, we didn't get the best out of it but having said that, the lap Nico put in was pretty good, but that's not my main concern. We then did a high-fuel run – and it was okay – but it shows we've got a bit more work to do. The things we learned through testing have been reflected today and it shows that we're in a better place, but we must make another step, so we're really focused on that."