Ricciardo quickest in first session of Sakhir's second day of testing, Perez 3rd
Published on 13 March 2021 by Mike Motilall
Daniel Ricciardo topped the board in the first session of the second day of pre-season testing in Bahrain. The McLaren-driver came to 52 laps and clocked a 1:32.215, the fastest time. Fernando Alonso, Sergio Pérez, Nicholas Latifi, Yuki Tsunoda and Carlos Sainz rounded out the top six. Pérez, behind the wheel of the RB16B for the first time today in an official session, lapped the Bahrain International Circuit 39 times. Compared to the other teams, this amount was relatively small. Antonio Giovinazzi was, on behalf of Alfa Romeo, the most productive having done 73 laps.
It is 10:00 hrs. locally when the lights turn green at the end of the pit lane for the second day of pre-season testing in Bahrain. Despite the fact that there is a lot of sand off the ideal race line, the wind died down Saturday night and the conditions are much better on the whole compared to Friday.
Daniel Ricciardo, driving for McLaren, is the first driver to head on out, followed by Nicholas Latifi in his Williams. Not much later, Lewis Hamilton also gets out on track. The seven-time world champion has had the so called ‘areo rakes’ mounted on his Mercedes; rakes of sensors to measure the car’s airflow.
After about fifteen minutes, we witness Sergio Pérez exit the pit lane. The Mexican, having left Racing Point, the now re-branded Aston Martin, is at the helm of the RB16B for the first time round today. He hopes to successfully prolong the productive start Red Bull Racing has had so far. Back again is Fernando Alonso; after having been absent for two years, he is once again partaking in a Formula 1-season. The Spaniard, still recovering from a bicycle accident, drove his last race in 2018, but is returning this year at Alpine. Alonso will have the blue coloured A521 at his disposal the entire Saturday.
After the first hour, Ferrari running Carlos Sainz is at the top of the board. First timer Nikita Mazepin, Fernando Alonso, Nicholas Latifi, Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Pérez round out the top six behind of him. Latifi and AlphaTauri-driver Yuki Tsunoda are the most productive, having done sixteen laps each.
In the period that follows, the drivers are gradually doing their laps and running through their program almost without any hitches. However, not yet for Sebastian Vettel. His Aston Martin is suffering from a gearbox problem. This puts the number of laps by the German to just six, halfway the morning session. By then, Fernando Alonso has topped the leaderboard having done a 1:32.339. Daniel Ricciardo, Carlos Sainz, Nikita Mazepin, Sergio Pérez and Lewis Hamilton form the top six behind of him.
The wind, that has picked up, seems to now start playing a part in hindering the drivers. Both Carlos Sainz (exiting Turn six) and Nicholas Latifi (Turn seven) spin out, but are able to head back to the pits, albeit with severe flat spots on their tyres. Lewis Hamilton loses the rear of his Mercedes at Turn 13, but gets stuck in the gravel trap. Despite that there is no damage, Race Control decides to halt the session so the black-coloured car can be retrieved and brought back to the pits. After a brief delay the teams continue their work on the Bahrain International Circuit.
The remainder of the morning session goes by without any issues, apart from some off track excursions. Daniel Ricciardo is at the top of the timesheet when the session finishes, Fernando Alonso and Sergio Pérez round out the top three. Max’ new team mate does 39 laps running for Red Bull Racing with a 1:32.478 as his fastest time.