Formula 1 is back! Day Two Highlights in Bahrain

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN – FEBRUARY 22: The Oracle Red Bull Racing team practice pitstops during day two of F1 Testing at Bahrain International Circuit on February 22, 2024 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202402220366 // Usage for editorial use only //

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Thursday running in Bahrain  came to a close with a new team on top of the time sheets as Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz laid down a personal best 1’29”921 on the softest compound with low fuel in a simulated qualifying setup. However, even with the increased speed of the Maranello team, Red Bull still held the top spot for strongest pace and durability as Sergio Perez took over for Verstappen and logged over 100 laps despite having a brake fire and power issued that temporarily sidelined his RB20.

Ferrari fastest, but not without issues

Pre-season testing times, much like livery reveals, tell little about pecking order as we don’t know the true nature of the car configurations being tested. Based on early indications the Ferrari team is understood to be happy with current progress as the car is delivering similar performance on track as it did in the wind tunnel and CFD simulations during the winter off-season. In 2023, the SF23 excelled in single-lap qualifying pace, but ultimately overused its tires during the race which lead to significant degradation during the race. A significant portion of the 2024 testing has been spent working to remedy those issues and based on team feedback, the data being generated seems to be supporting the improvements that they have been seeking, a welcome sign for the hungry Tifosi.

Thursday’s running wasn’t without its issues. In the morning session at the hands of Charles LeClerc, the SF24 impacted a loose drain cover – similar to Carlos Sainz’s issue in Las Vegas in 2023, forcing Formula 1 officials to stop the morning session 90-minutes ahead of schedule to conduct track repairs and verify that no other drain covers were unsecured. LeClerc, having his morning cut short, was given a short time in the afternoon session to finish his testing cycle before handing the car back to Sainz.

Hamilton encouraged by W15 changes

Taking over for George Russell on Day 2 in what will be his last pre-season test for Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton was encouraged by the progress of the Mercedes squad with the W15, echoing much of Russell’s feedback to the media on Day 1. Having spent the morning doing aero runs, Hamilton soon moved to race-pace and single lap testing in his afternoon session.

Compared to 12 months ago, there is an air of optimism with the team – a stark contrast to 2023 when the team seemed to be on the edge of failure and doom, but Hamilton is cautious about the teams chances.

Williams still facing challenges

It’s been a rough few days for the Williams team as Logan Sargeant faced another session of disruptions – including a partial spin and mechanical issues – but the American was able to finish 117 laps of running on Thursday before handing the car over to teammate Alex Albon for the final day of testing.

While the issues linger, Sargeant’s pace is optimistic for the team as he posted the 11th fasted time, however his over lap was still several seconds back from the rest of the field.

Check the below link for highlights and follow us for more Formula 1 content as testing continues through Friday, February 23rd.

VIDEO: Highlights from Day 2 in Bahrain