BAHRAIN: Bahrain’s Sakhir F1 circuit witnessed impressive performances during the second day of pre-season testing, with several drivers setting early benchmarks.
Carlos Sainz set the morning session’s fastest time on C3 tyres, with 1m 32.486s. However, the reigning F1 world champion, Max Verstappen, soon took over with a flying effort that put him at the top of the leaderboard.
The real excitement came in the evening session under the floodlights when Zhou Guanyu eclipsed Verstappen’s time by 0.040 seconds with a lap time of 1 minute, and 31.610 seconds while driving on soft tyres.
But Zhou’s session had to end early because his car wouldn’t go into first gear at the end of the pit lane with only 10 minutes left in the day.
Earlier in the afternoon session, Mercedes hit trouble when George Russell’s W14 stopped with a hydraulic issue, bringing out the red flag.
Russell finished 13th overall, having tallied 26 laps in the afternoon, while his teammate Lewis Hamilton set 72 laps for P15.
Hamilton’s morning runs were briefly interrupted by floor damage after running over kerbs and the resulting repairs.
Fernando Alonso did a great job for Aston Martin. He completed more than 130 laps and came in third overall, ahead of both Nyck de Vries of AlphaTauri and Nico Hulkenberg of Haas.
Carlos Sainz finished sixth on the leaderboard after a successful morning stint that saw him clock 70 laps in the Ferrari.
Charles Leclerc, his teammate, took over and added over 60 laps to finish eighth overall. Logan Sargeant of Williams finished seventh and led the mileage stakes, having driven over 150 laps.
Sargeant’s session ended earlier than scheduled when he rolled into the pits with 15 minutes remaining due to what seemed to be an electrical issue.
The team later revealed that they were having Sargeant practise exiting the car in the event of a problem, during which an electrical issue sprung up.
Oscar Piastri finished ninth in the afternoon, while Lando Norris was 16th overall after a productive morning session.
Alpine’s Pierre Gasly rounded out the top 10, 1.5 seconds off the top spot, with Kevin Magnussen of Haas in 11th and Esteban Ocon of AlphaTauri in 12th after lapping 49 times in the morning.
Red Bull’s Sergio Perez split the Mercedes after setting 76 laps in the morning session. AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda drove the most laps in the morning, 85, before giving the car to Nyck de Vries.
Overall, it was a successful day of F1 pre-season testing, with several drivers showing impressive performances.
However, it remains to be seen how the teams will perform once the 2023 F1 season officially starts. The last day of testing will be crucial for the teams as they fine-tune their cars ahead of the opening race in Bahrain on March 28.
Also Read: Max Verstappen Tops Opening Day of Bahrain F1 Pre-season Testing