Max Verstappen got the Formula One season underway Friday with the fastest time in the first practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The Red Bull driver was .298 seconds ahead of Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas and .503 clear of McLaren's Lando Norris.
World champion Lewis Hamilton led early on for Mercedes but dropped back to finish with the fourth-quickest time. The British driver was .527 seconds behind Verstappen.
There is a second practice on Friday afternoon.
Hamilton is looking to win a record eighth F1 title to move one ahead of Michael Schumacher, whose 22-year-old son Mick Schumacher is making his F1 debut with Haas.
He finished the first session in 19th place.