Lewis Hamilton causes Ferrari confusion while Scuderia give verdict on SF-24 – F1 news round-up

Henry Valantine
Lewis Hamilton smiles in a Bahrain press conference. F1 news

A claim made by Lewis Hamilton in a Bahrain press conference seems to contradict what Piero Ferrari said about him recently.

Saturday’s F1 news sees lots of reaction to testing from Bahrain, alongside the best headlines from around the paddock.

Can it really just be seven days until lights out on the new season? Yes, and we cannot wait for it.

Here’s our selection of the best F1 news headlines from Saturday, if you missed any of the action to come from the day, with additional reporting from Thomas Maher in Bahrain.

Lewis Hamilton causes confusion with ‘never been to Maranello’ answer

Speaking to assembled media including PlanetF1.com in Bahrain, Lewis Hamilton was naturally asked about his move to Ferrari and one of the questions from press conference host Tom Clarkson was whether or not the seven-time World Champion had ever been to Maranello.

Hamilton said he hadn’t, saying that while he has owned Ferrari road cars, he “didn’t think it was a good look to go” to the factory while a Mercedes driver.

But in a recent interview with long-established Ferrari journalist Leo Turrini for his blog, Quotidiano Nazionale, Piero Ferrari claimed Hamilton has been to Maranello before – albeit not in the F1 department, which may explain the reason for the contradiction.

“Perhaps not everyone knows that Lewis has always been sensitive to the fascination of the Prancing Horse,” Ferrari said.

“He’s a customer of ours! He has visited the factory more than once.”

Read more: Lewis Hamilton causes confusion over Ferrari factory visit after Maranello claim

Our conclusions from F1 2024 testing as season countdown begins

Our own Oliver Harden has written his first Conclusions column of the season, taking in the last three days of action from Bahrain to see what we have learned about the new field of cars.

Take in his thoughts below, with lots to digest before the new campaign gets underway in Sakhir next weekend.

Read more: Conclusions from F1 2024 Testing: Red Bull’s RB20 checkmate, drain cover dramas and more

FIA set for concrete solution to drain cover problem in Bahrain

With reliability strong throughout the field in testing, the only real stoppages to the sessions were caused by two loose drain covers being dislodged by the cars.

As a result, PlanetF1.com understands the FIA is evaluating a process that may involve some drain covers being filled with concrete in order to retain or gain the Grade 1 rating circuits must have in order to host an FIA-sanctioned F1 race.

This could be in place as soon as next weekend in Bahrain, with both Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez having dislodged drain covers by driving over them during testing.

Read more: FIA opts for no-nonsense fix on Bahrain drain cover issues

Daniel Ricciardo: Red Bull want to ‘completely crush’ opposition when in front

Wearing that knowing smile of his, Daniel Ricciardo admitted to raising a chuckle when he first saw the designs of the radically different RB20 this year – and if it performs better than every other team, it’s just indicative of how Red Bull operate.

“I laugh because I’m surprised, but I’m not,” Ricciardo told media including PlanetF1.com.

“I feel it’s a team that operates at its best when they’re winning. I feel like when they’re winning, it’s like they want to just completely crush the competition.

“It’s not like: ‘Okay, now we’re winning. Let’s go on holiday.’ It’s like: ‘Let’s really put our feet down.’ That’s where I think they’ve come out this year. [After] the most dominant season in ’23, now they come out with a car that I think had everyone like, ‘Wow’.”

Read more: Daniel Ricciardo amused by Red Bull RB20 amid chilling ‘completely crush’ verdict

Has key Ferrari weakness been addressed with SF-24?

Last year’s Ferrari gained something of a reputation for eating through its tyres in race trim, which was a hindrance to the team when their strategies were playing out.

Team principal Fred Vasseur spoke confidently about the team having rectified the issue after testing, telling F1 TV: “With the consistency and the race pace, the degradation that we had yesterday for the longest stint was on another planet compared to last year.

“At least on this we’ve made a step, but now it is not just a matter of being consistent, but fast.”

Read more: Ferrari cast ‘another planet’ verdict as crucial weakness cured on eve of F1 2024