Pre-season Day 2 Report: Zhou tops the afternoon

Pre-season Day 2 Report: Zhou tops the afternoon

The second day of pre-season at the Bahrain International Circuit has concluded and there's only one day of testing left before the official start of the Formula 1  season with the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The drivers

These are the drivers that participated in the afternoon session.

Team Driver
Alfa Romeo F1 Team Guanyu Zhou
Aston Martin F1 Team Fernando Alonso
BWT Alpine F1 Team Pierre Gasly
McLaren F1 Team Oscar Piastri
Mercedes F1 Team George Russell
Moneygram Haas F1 Team Nico Hulkenberg
Oracle Red Bull Racing Max Verstappen
Scuderia AlphaTauri Nyck de Vries
Scuderia Ferrari Charles Leclerc
Williams Racing Logan Sargeant

The recap

Guanyu Zhou topped the afternoon session. His lap time: 1:31.610s, fastest through sectors 1 and 2.

Behind him was Max Verstappen with a laptime of 1:31.650s, medium compound tire, by a gap of 0.040s. Alonso was third, medium compound, laptime of 1:32.205s, gap of 0.595s to leader.

The red flags were out for George Russell, who stopped his Mercedes car following a hydraulics issue. Replays showed Russell stuck in fourth gear before going into anti-stall. The session resumed with an hour and a quarter left.

Logan Sargeant completed the most laps today with 154, followed by Verstappen behind with 133.

The least laps were completed by Russell, with 26.

What they're saying

  • George Russell, Mercedes: "In terms of feeling [the car], it feels like a step in the right direction, but as we know in this sport, it's not all about feel, it's ultimately about lap time. I think compared to this time last year, things are running a lot smoother. Obviously, when we were here last year there were a lot of alarm bells ringing, with the porpoising, unsure of how to solve it, was a bit lost, the car characteristics were not good. So, I think things have been running much smoother. Reliability has been strong so far to allow us to do the test program. For sure we've got things we need to improve with the car, but I would say generally speaking we are where we expected to be at this time of the year."
  • Toto Wolff, following the morning session: "The car is out of balance, you can see that from the black marks we are leaving with acceleration. It is quite hot and we just haven't found the right setup. It's not the driver that is over-driving, the car is not giving enough grip on the rear."
  • Mick Schumacher, on his role at Mercedes: "It's been great. I've been part of every meeting, very long meetings compared to what I'm used to. It's great. A lot I can use and learn [from].  We are comparing one of the smallest teams [Haas] to one of the biggest, but it's very nice to be here."
  • Alexander Albon, Williams: "The car feels like we are addressing some of the weaknesses from last year. It is hard to get rid of certain issues over just one year but it feels like our extremes are less this year."
  • James Vowles, Williams Team Principal: "[Williams has] obviously had a difficult, probably, last 15 years or so due to just circumstance, lack of investment and otherwise. But you can still tell that the same level of passion that is shared irrespective of the grid position you're in is there and available to you. And they'll work whatever it takes really to move forward."
  • Carlos Sainz, Ferrari: "Quite happy with how we've been able to run, and the quantity of tests we've been able to do over these first few days. Exploring the limit of the setup, trying to put the car in different places, and learning a lot from it, which is a target I had last year, and so far I am managing to do it. Feels like an evolution of last year, feels very similar to drive, [there] hasn't been any major changes in the car or in the concept."
  • Pat Symonds Formula 1 CTO: "I think what we are seeing here is what we are seeing a lot of in the new cars, we are not seeing the revolution, we saw that last year, what we are seeing now is the evolution. If you look at that car [Red Bull] now you will not see many changes... the aerodynamicists have had to optimize and with the rule change on the ride height they lost performance and I think talking to people up and down the pit lane Red Bull have found that performance back again. A lot of work will have been going on to get the weight off and I think those are the things we are looking at this year."

That's it for the second day of pre-season at Bahrain. See you soon.

Written by Luciano Calamante.