Ricciardo sets the pace in first practice session

Ricciardo sets the pace in first practice session

Ricciardo sets the pace in first practice session

Max Verstappen has blamed a 150-horsepower surge from his Renault engine for triggering the Q1 crash that put him out of Formula 1 qualifying at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Running fourth in Q1, Verstappen headed back out for a late run and lost control on the exit of Turn 2, sliding sideways through the gravel and hitting the barrier with his front left corner, breaking his suspension.

Having set an initial time good enough for fourth in the first part of qualifying, Verstappen was looking to improve his time but instead found the wall.

If there was a race in which McLaren did not need to be beaten by Toro Rosso at the start of the season, Bahrain is probably it. With Bahraini ownership, McLaren had many of their key shareholders in their garage on Saturday but could only qualify 13th and 14th with Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne respectively. "We can be a lot better than that".

"It can be a good race, I think the pace of the car is good in the long runs".

The Red Bull driver took over as fastest man with 15 minutes of the 90 remaining and stayed on top three-tenths of a second clear of Finns Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes and Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari.

Lewis Hamilton was fifth quickest in P1, as he welcomes the chance to move on from the disappointment of the opening Grand Prix of 2018.

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Ricciardo expressed encouragement over Red Bull's race pace, as he prepares to start from the outside of the second row as a consequence of Hamilton's five-place grid penalty.

"We don't think we'll have to take a grid penalty, so we'll see".

"But it was like an off and on switch.

We know that in the race we are still struggling a little bit on this".

Al Faisal Al Zubair of Oman ended the session in second place 0.177 seconds off the pace, while Saul Hack was classified third 0.341s.

Overtaking - or the lack of it - was on the agenda after the Australian Grand Prix, with Albert Park once again proving to be a notoriously difficult track to pass on with the current generation of car. With team-mate Kevin Magnussen in ninth, Haas looks to put in a performance similar to what they accomplished two weeks ago in Melbourne.

Hamilton remains on course, though, to equal Raikkonen's record of 27 consecutive finishes in the points.

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