Bahrain test Day Two lunch report: When busy and boring meet in the middle

Carlos Sainz drives the Ferrari SF-23 during testing. Bahrain, February 2023. Credit: Alamy
Carlos Sainz drives the Ferrari SF-23 during testing. Bahrain, February 2023. Credit: Alamy

With over 600 laps covered it seems inconceivable to dub Friday’s morning session at the Bahrain pre-season test as boring, but aside from a small piece of flying bodywork and a minor off at Turn 10 that’s exactly what it was.

But the lack of drama was great news for the teams who have just three days to cover their entire pre-season programme.

Unlike on Thursday when all the teams barring Red Bull split their driving duties, for Day Two the likes of Aston Martin, Alfa Romeo and Williams opted for just one driver in the car, the other seven teams splitting things up.

That meant Sergio Perez had his first run in the RB19, the Mexican driver one of the first out on track.

He laid down a 1:33.751 in the opening hour but that wasn’t quite enough to put him P1 as that honour went to Kevin Magnussen, the Haas driver 0.41s faster.

Esteban Ocon sat in third place while Lando Norris found himself back in the pits as plenty of work went on in the McLaren garage around the MCL60’s engine cover.

Carlos Sainz found some pace in the Ferrari during the second hour as he went from a 1:35.547 to P1 with a 1:32.486.

He was followed up the timesheet by one of the Ferrari-powered customers, Zhou Guanyu on the prowl in the Alfa Romeo – though his best was some seven-tenths slower than Sainz’s P1 time.

As for Lewis Hamilton, the Mercedes driver was down in seventh and back in the pit as a piece of bodywork flew off his W14.

He had to pit while the team assessed the damage, and there was also a lot of attention being paid to the cooling louvers.

Sainz held onto P1 through the third hour of play where Fernando Alonso, second quickest in Thursday’s running, became his nearest rival.

The Spaniard laid down a 1:32.969 but that was also still some way off the Ferrari’s best, Sainz sitting pretty.

But while Alonso’s AMR23 was showing pace, for the second day running the Spaniard found himself back in the garage as the team worked on his car’s floor that had once again been damaged.

Norris was also having a tricky time, the McLaren driver down in ninth place with a snap of oversteer through Turn 12 sending him onto the run-off area.

He wasn’t the only one to have a moment, Logan Sargeant getting bit squirrely through Turn 10 as he continued his preparations ahead of his first season in F1. recommends

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Sargeant bounced back before the lunch break, up to fourth before improving to second, just 0.063s off the pace.

On a day where a large part of all the teams’ focus was on testing different ride heights and configurations to establish a baseline for the new floors, there was a brief moment of drama when the red flags were waved late in the session.

That, though, was for yet another FIA system test with all the cars safely heading back to the pits.

Sainz finished the morning P1 ahead of Sargeant, Alonso, Zhou, Magnussen and Ocon but almost blotted his copybook when a late spate of standing starts saw him almost rear-end his former team-mate Norris.

Perez, who focused on a race simulation, was down in seventh place with Hamilton, Norris and Yuki Tsunoda completing the top ten.

The afternoon session will see a few driver changes with Verstappen back in the car. Charles Leclerc, George Russell, Oscar Piastri, Pierre Gasly, Nico Hulkenberg and Nick de Vries will also all be in action.


1 Carlos SAINZ Ferrari 1:32.486 70 laps
2 Logan SARGEANT Williams +0.063 74 laps
3 Fernando ALONSO Aston Martin +0.483 64 laps
4 Guanyu ZHOU Alfa Romeo +0.684 43 laps
5 Kevin MAGNUSSEN Haas F1 Team +0.956 67 laps
6 Esteban OCON Alpine +1.004 49 laps
7 Sergio PEREZ Red Bull Racing +1.265 76 laps
8 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes +1.468 72 laps
9 Lando NORRIS McLaren +3.036 65 laps
10 Yuki TSUNODA AlphaTauri +3.222 85 laps

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