F1 testing: Carlos Sainz fastest for Ferrari on Day Two in Bahrain as Lewis Hamilton shows promise for Mercedes | F1 News

Carlos Sainz set the fastest time on day two of Formula 1 pre-season testing as Ferrari offered an impressive response to Red Bull’s strong start in Bahrain.

After reigning world champion Max Verstappen had topped the timesheet by more than a second on the first of three days of testing in Sakhir, Sainz was 0.7s clear of the Dutchman’s Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez on Thursday.

While Sainz’s leading effort came on the softer – and theoretically faster – C4 tyre than the medium C3 compound used by Perez, the performance suggested Red Bull may not be quite as far ahead as they had seemed 24 hours earlier.

Lewis Hamilton, who like Perez drove in both of Thursday’s sessions having not driven on Wednesday, was third for Mercedes as he finished the best part of 0.4s back from the Red Bull.

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Anthony Davidson analyses the Mercedes W15 under Lewis Hamilton’s control during the second day of testing

Lando Norris was fourth for McLaren despite a fuel system issue costing the Brit valuable track time during an afternoon session that was extended after the opening period had to be suspended because of a loose drain cover on track.

Daniel Ricciardo rounded out a top five filled exclusively with times set in the cooler and faster conditions of the evening session, but like Sainz used the softer C4 tyre.

Bahrain pre-season test: Day Two timesheet

Driver Team Time Laps Tyre
1) Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:29.921 84 C4
2) Sergio Perez Red Bull +0.758 129 C3
3) Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +1.145 123 C3
4) Lando Norris McLaren +1.335 52 C3
5) Daniel Ricciardo RB +1.440 88 C4
6) Charles Leclerc Ferrari +1.829 54 C3
7) Lance Stroll Aston Martin +2.108 96 C3
8) Esteban Ocon Alpine +2.140 78 C3
9) Valtteri Bottas Sauber +2.306 97 C3
10) Oscar Piastri McLaren +2.407 35 C3
11) Logan Sargeant Williams +2.657 117 C4
12) Fernando Alonso Aston Martin +3.132 31 C3
13) Zhou Guanyu Sauber +3.794 38 C3
14) Pierre Gasly Alpine +3.883 33 C3
15) Kevin Magnussen Haas +6.690 93 C3
16) Nico Hulkenberg Haas +7.588 31 C3
17) Yuki Tsunoda RB +8.153 40 C2

* the C5 tyre is the softest – and theoretically fastest – compound, while C1 is the hardest – and theoretically slowest – compound

Loose drain cover interrupts morning session

The opening session of the day was stopped and suspended just beyond its halfway phase when a drain cover came loose at Turn 11, damaging Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari to the extent that its floor needed changing.

Once repairs had been carried out, the afternoon session was brought forward and extended by an hour to make back some of the time that had been lost.

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The first red flag of 2024 pre-season testing was thrown as a drain cover came loose at Turn 11 of the Bahrain International Circuit

Before the unexpected drama, Red Bull had endured some early-morning challenges having looked imperious on Wednesday as Verstappen picked up where he left off in his historically dominant 2023 campaign.

There was a small brake fire on the RB20 when Perez returned to the garage in the opening minutes of the day, which caused a brief delay to the Mexican’s run programme.

A further concern followed in the second session when Perez dramatically reduced his pace during a lap before limping back to the pits, but he would swiftly be sent back out with no further issue.

Ultimately, Red Bull would get through an impressive haul of 129 laps, topped only by Sauber (135) and Ferrari, who between Leclerc and Sainz completed the most tours on day two with 138.

More to follow…

Sky Sports F1’s pre-season testing schedule

Friday February 23 – Day Three

  • 6.50am-11.05am: Morning Session
  • 11.55am-4.05pm: Afternoon Session
  • 8pm: Testing Wrap
  • 8.30pm: Ted’s Testing Notebook
  • 9pm: Development Corner

When is the first F1 race?

Just one week after testing, the opening race of the 2024 season will begin with the Bahrain Grand Prix from February 29 to March 2.

Due to the Muslim holy period of Ramadan, the Bahrain and, seven days later, the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, will be held on a Saturday.

This means practice one and two will take place on Thursdays, with final practice and qualifying on Fridays.

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