Feature image: @pirellisport on Twitter
Day two of pre-season testing in Bahrain has come to a close under the floodlights in the desert with Valtteri Bottas in his W12 setting the fastest time of the day.
Daniel Ricciardo topped the morning session for the second day in a row in the McLaren, with both him and his team-mate looking very comfortable in the MCL35M. Lando Norris took over the car for the afternoon session and was putting the car through a series of aero simulations before some qualifying sims as the floodlights came on.
The second day also blessed us with the return of Fernando Alonso in an official F1 session, his first since the 2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix when he was driving for McLaren. The Spaniard impressed, setting the second fastest time in the morning and clocking up 128 laps of valuable data for Alpine. It also marked the first appearance of Alonso since his bike accident at the start of February which left him with a fractured upper jaw.
We also got a first look of Sergio Perez driving for Red Bull following his replacement of Alex Albon at the end of the 2020 season. He had a few shakes in the morning, going wide a few times at turn 11 and off the track but the Mexican got more to grips with the RB16B as the day went on.
After struggling for track time yesterday, Mercedes didn’t have a great start to today’s session either with Lewis Hamilton accidentally beaching himself in a gravel trap on the exit of turn 13. “I think the track feels a little bit better so the balance was perhaps slightly better, but we’re still working through certain things,” the reigning World Champion told journalists, before adding, “It’s Day Two of testing so we’re just focused on doing our job. We’re focused on trying to understand the car, there’s no point being worried just yet. I think everyone’s focusing on their programmes and that’s what we’re doing.”
Sebastian Vettel’s morning session was interrupted by a gearbox issue with their new/old 2020 Mercedes gearbox that they got through a loophole in the regulations. It meant the German missed most of the session and could only complete 10 laps in the AMR21. Lance Stroll had a more favourable afternoon, doing 70 laps and taking the third fastest time of the day.
Nicholas Latifi tallied up 132 laps in his only testing session of the weekend. The Canadian had a solid session, highlighted by a little on track battle with Pierre Gasly for a few laps which gave us a taster of some racing action. George Russell finally hits the track in the FW43B tomorrow on the final day of testing.
Tomorrow’s Testing Schedule – Day 3
|Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team 🇩🇪||Valtteri Bottas 🇫🇮||Lewis Hamilton 🇬🇧|
|Red Bull Racing Honda 🇦🇹||Sergio Perez 🇲🇽||Max Verstappen 🇳🇱|
|McLaren F1 Team 🇬🇧||Lando Norris 🇬🇧||Daniel Ricciardo 🇦🇺|
|Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team 🇬🇧||Lance Stroll 🇨🇦||Sebastian Vettel 🇩🇪|
|Alpine F1 Team 🇫🇷||Esteban Ocon 🇫🇷||Fernando Alonso 🇪🇸|
|Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow 🇮🇹||TBC||TBC|
|Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda 🇮🇹||Pierre Gasly 🇫🇷||Yuki Tsunoda 🇯🇵|
|Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen 🇨🇭||Kimi Räikkönen 🇫🇮||Kimi Räikkönen 🇫🇮|
|Uralkali Haas F1 Team 🇺🇸||Michael Schumacher 🇩🇪||Nikita Mazepin 🇷🇺|
|Williams Racing 🇬🇧||George Russell 🇬🇧||George Russell 🇬🇧|