Daniel Ricciardo labels two ‘strong favourites’ for Bahrain GP podium after testing showing

Jamie Woodhouse
Daniel Ricciardo during pre-season testing.

RB's Daniel Ricciardo.

RB’s Daniel Ricciardo felt the need to temper expectations on the chances of a podium at the F1 2024 season-opener in Bahrain as he plotted out how the order at the top could look.

F1 2024 Bahrain testing is now in the books, leaving a clear run through to the first Grand Prix of the season, as the Bahrain International Circuit hosts the opening race weekend from February 29-March 2.

Testing is a notoriously tricky way of judging the pecking order, but the performances of two teams stood out, those being Red Bull and Ferrari, who Ricciardo believes are looking in good shape going into the first race.

Red Bull and Ferrari to battle for first F1 2024 podium?

Red Bull are the vast majority of the F1 paddock’s pick to set the pace in Bahrain, though it was Ferrari who were delivering the fastest times of testing by some margin, Carlos Sainz’s 1:29.921 the best lap recorded and seven-tenths up on Red Bull’s fastest effort courtesy of Sergio Perez.

And from Ricciardo’s observations, Red Bull and Ferrari are the teams best-placed to make the podium in Bahrain.

“I think from what me kind of being a viewer [can see], it looks like Red Bull and Ferrari would be the strong favourites to be on the podium here in a week,” Ricciardo told media.

“Anything can happen, but I think they certainly seem like they’re pretty good at the moment.”

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Considering all the talk surrounding RB’s strengthening of ties with parent team Red Bull, RB are seen by some as a dark horse to challenge for the podium themselves in Bahrain.

Ricciardo though moved to play down such thoughts, saying making the final stage of qualifying and securing a points-scoring top 10 result in Bahrain would be a job well done for them.

“Then after that, it’s yeah, probably pretty close, but I would say we’re still in that midfield fight,” Ricciardo continued. “I know people are getting pretty excited about us, but I’m trying to just bring it back down.

“I think we’re probably where we expected to be. Obviously we do want to get stronger as the year goes on and establish ourselves at the front of the midfield, but I think now we’ll be hopefully a Q3 and top 10 car, but to be much more than that, I think that’s probably getting too excited.”

Ricciardo will once more be partnered by Yuki Tsunoda at RB, with both drivers hopeful of challenging for a 2025 Red Bull seat, as Perez’s current contract is up at the end of 2024.

Read next – F1 2024 pre-season testing: All the key stats and facts from Bahrain