Williams driver George Russell set the pace driving a Mercedes on the second day of the third test at the Bahrain International Circuit. The Englishman was almost three seconds faster than he managed in qualifying on Saturday.
Russell set a 29.0 in the final hour to move ahead of the Racing Point of Sergio Perez by six-hundredths of a second after beating Sebastian Vettel’s benchmark. The Englishman outing for the Silver Arrows means that they have fulfilled the requirement to use a young driver in one of two days set for a young driver.
Vettel was unable to improve on his time which was set during the morning, his time stood until late improvements by Russell and Perez.
Ferrari continued the post-mortem into the disastrous race weekend as Vettel went third fastest completing over a hundred laps going three tenths faster than the McLaren of Carlos Sainz. However, the Spaniards running was limited to twenty-three laps.
The Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat was fifth fastest, carrying out development work for Pirelli he managed a 29.9, outpacing fellow Pirelli tester Fernando Alonso by over a second.
After an impressive debut on Tuesday, Mick Schumacher had a quieter day driving the Alfa Romeo. As expected, he was a hundredth slower than he managed in the Ferrari, but it’s a decent time given the performance gap between the two cars.
Schumacher’s rival from last year’s F3 championship, Dan Ticktum, made his F1 test debut in the Red Bull. The British driver, who will race in Super Formula in Japan this year, was nine-tenths slower in the Toro Rosso going ninth fastest.
Fernando Alonso made his return testing for Pirelli in the McLaren. The two times champion focused on tyre development managing solid mileage and went eleventh fastest. Speaking to the media he says that the team had made a sizable improvement
“Well obviously it’s a step forward in every aspect of the car. I think the car has more grip, the car is less draggy on the straights. The engine is a bigger step and better as well.”
Teammates Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz could only manage thirteenth and sixteenth respectively. Alonso split the two Haas’s with race driver Romain Grosjean and test driver Pietro Fittipaldi.
Grosjean was tenth over a second faster than the Brazilian. Also in action was Renault reserve Jack Aitken, the English-Korean managed a hundred and three laps going fourteenth. Williams’ Nicholas Latifi propped up the timesheets with the team facing a three-second deficit to the leaders – similar to their early F1 2019 form.
Testing resumes with the third Barcelona test following the Spanish Grand Prix next month.