The Day 2 of Bahrain F1 Test had further issues for Mercedes and this time Aston Martin too, as Fernando Alonso made his return, while Mick Schumacher spoke on why ‘MSC’.
Even though Mercedes had an early issue with Lewis Hamilton when he spun in the morning session, the Day 2 of F1 Bahrain Test was eventually topped by Valtteri Bottas after a late quick lap, as the team went through a qualifying programme.
While Bottas felt much better on Day 2, he was still not over the top with the results. There is work to do for Mercedes, as they search for a perfect balance. Hamilton, on the other hand, was optimistic despite the sandstorm on Friday and spin on Saturday.
“The wind I think did a 180, so the track is a lot different and some places you can push where you couldn’t on Day 1,” said Hamilton to Sky Sports. “And it’s very gusty, as I found out into Turn 13. So the rear doesn’t feel particularly great with this new regulation change, but we’re trying to find the sweet spot.
“It’s Day 2 of F1 testing. We’re just focused on doing our job, so nowhere near at the moment. I think we’re just focusing on trying to understand the car. There’s no point in getting worried just yet. I think everyone is focusing on their programmes, and that is what we’re doing,” summed up Hamilton.
While the seven-time F1 champion had his issues on the track, the four-time winner did so, off it, as Aston Martin found a gearbox issue – reportedly not the same as for Mercedes on Day 1 – very early in the session, which limited his running to just the 10 laps.
His teammate Lance Stroll had it much better run in the afternoon, with the third-best time. “It was not such a busy day for me,” said Vettel. “We experienced a gearbox issue quite early on and that kept the car in the garage. The guys did a great job to quickly fit a new gearbox and we got back out just before the end of the morning session.
“Doing so few laps wasn’t ideal because there is just one more day of testing before we come back here for the race and I am still learning about this new car. Fortunately, things went a bit better this afternoon for Lance giving us some important information.”
In descending order, it was also a return of two-time F1 champion, Alonso, who had his first run in the Alpine car. Much like Esteban Ocon on Day 1, the Spaniard ran smoothly all-through the day without any mishaps or technical issues.
“We completed a lot of laps today and followed the programme that was planned so that is good, but we need to sit down now and analyse everything,” said Alonso. “The car did feel good, but I think we still need to understand the characteristics of the new aero package a bit better.”
Joining Alpine in having a smooth run were the McLaren duo along with AlphaTauri and Alfa Romeo Racing. All three F1 teams did not face much trouble, neither did they ran into anyone. On the British outfit’s side, it was Daniel Ricciardo again topping the AM session.
Post-session, Ricciardo only wished for a go in the evening time, which he is to do on Day 3. After the troubles on Day 1, Norris got a much cleaner track on Day 2, which helped him to end up fourth in the standings – he was pushed down after multiple improvements.
Overall, both were happy, much like AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda. The performance run from the former earned him second spot in the standings as he felt much happier with the car from last year, even though, there are bits to improve still.
After a fuel system issue on Day 1, Tsunoda had a cleaner run on Day 2. The Japanese F1 racer tried different compounds to know how the car behaves on them, while also going through race runs to proper understand the strategic advantages.
Doing even better than the factory team was Alfa Romeo, with Antonio Giovinazzi ending up sixth in the standings. The Italian, much like Day 1, had a clean run, with no troubles. He eventually ended up ahead of both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.
While Leclerc seemingly had a clean time on track, teammate Sainz did have an off in the first session. Timing wise, both the Ferrari drivers haven’t lit the standings, but they remain optimistic about their chances, stating that the car does show ‘promise’.
The engine side remains unknown but both Alfa Romeo and Haas, have been positive about improvements. For the American F1 outfit, it was another day of learning for its rookie drivers Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin – both having a full programme this time.
There was no trouble for Haas on Day 2 barring the mishap in the pits for Schumacher, when he nearly ran over a mechanic. Team principal Guenther Steiner joked of preparing their driver for pit issues – given their history – but noted of cross-threading and light issue.
Schumacher immediately stopped which averted a bigger disaster. The German remained upbeat with his run after missing out on Day 1. Post-session, he revealed of using ‘MSC’ initials against his name, which he said, was his choice to do so.
“I wanted that, MSC,” said Schumacher to media including FormulaRapida.net. “I think, it is an emotional bond I have to it. And also, it is quite nice for everybody watching the timing screens and seeing MSC back on the screens, as well. I think, there’s some positive [notion] to it.”
Teammate Mazepin too managed to finish well, but had a run-in with Giovinazzi. The Russian explained that he was trying to measure the downforce behind a F1 car but did not expect such a situation, where he nearly crashed into the Italian.
“It’s a known topic that F1 cars have a lot of downforce and do lose a lot of downforce following other cars,” said Mazepin to media including FormulaRapida.net. “With such limited running and obviously a lot of cars being most likely in front of me at the start of the race in Bahrain. I wanted to experience the amount of downforce that I will lose.
“I did get to experience that, I almost crashed, to be honest, because the wind snap was huge. It was a bit of a worrying moment, but good to try. I was just following. Obviously, Antonio was on a lower fuel run, and was doing, you know, not consecutive laps, when I was going through the whole race distance, and my pace was slower. So he overtook me. And I wanted to stay behind and, yeah, learned my way through.”
Moving on to Red Bull, after a good Day 1, the team faced some troubles on Day 2 with the debut of Sergio Perez. It was not the Mexican’s fault per se, when his engine cover flew off, but the team noted that and few other niggles to be only minor in nature.
Perez, though, did not have a qualifying simulation as he ended up at the fag end of the Top 10. but his time looked promising still on the C2 compound. “It was great to do a full day of testing in the RB16B and even though conditions are very tricky out there we got through plenty of work and there is plenty of development to come,” he said.
“It’s great to be working with the Team and I’m getting more and more used to things – I can already feel the potential,” he summed up, sounding pretty threatening for his F1 rivals. And finally, Williams had another solid time with only minor off for Nicholas Latifi.
Here’s how Day 2 of Bahrain F1 Test panned out