Australian Daniel Ricciardo led the timing diagrams for his new McLaren team on the opening morning of the Formula 1 tests in Bahrain

The three-day test in Bahrain, which ends on Sunday, takes place before the season starts on Jan. March begins on the same track after the Australian Grand Prix was postponed to later in the year

Ricciardo was happy but cautious after finishing 028 seconds ahead of AlphaTauris Pierre Gasly and Red Bulls Max Verstappen in third place, 0042 seconds off pace

“It was really good and a nice first half of the day,” said Ricciardo, who joined McLaren from Renault. “Everything went very smoothly and it’s nice to see your name above

“However, testing, especially day one, is all about reliability and making sure everything works. The team is happy and nice to be back”

Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes team was dealt a blow after pausing due to a mechanical failure

The world champions were absent for most of the four hours on the Bahrain International Circuit after a gearbox failure

Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas finally came out of the Mercedes garage 35 minutes before the end and only drove six laps, finishing the last of the ten runners

Hamilton, who is competing for an unprecedented eighth world title this season, should take over the driving duties from Bottas after the one-hour lunch break

The mileage is king in the test and Mercedes is now on the rearfoot with Verstappen, who with 60 laps is expected to be the next challenger to the Silver Arrows

Sebastian Vettel collapsed in his Aston Martin at the end of the pit lane before finishing seventh, while Mick Schumacher also got into trouble

Schumacher, the son of seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, only drove 15 laps

after changing the gearbox

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc stopped 10 minutes before the end and brought out the first red flag of the day

The Italian team are looking to recover from their worst season in four decades after finishing a low sixth in the constructors’ championship last season


World news – AU – Ricciardo fastest at the start of F1 tests