Sergio Perez and Force India maintained their advantage on day two of the final pre-season Formula One test in Bahrain, beating Fernando Alonso and an improved Red Bull and Daniel Ricciardo for the top spot.
Just as on day one, there was a clear advantage maintained by Mercedes powered teams; although McLaren and Mercedes AMG both hit trouble, with Jenson Button sitting out much of the day after a driveshaft failure and Lewis Hamilton being hit by a gearbox failure in the final half hour. A spin early in the day had also caused a dent in his program without causing any physical damage. Williams had another quiet but competitive day with Felipe Massa driving, but it was Force India who took the advantage and Sergio Perez mirrored his Thursday performance with a fast lap early in the morning to set the benchmark before moving on to longer race simulation work in the afternoon, as did the bulk of other runners.
One exception was Red Bull, who along with fellow Renault runners Toro Rosso, Lotus and Caterham struggled to make the distance, though there were flashes of speed from Daniel Ricciardo and the RB10 after lunch when the Australian was running in low fuel qualifying trim. Caterham had another dismal day as Marcus Ericsson ended the session early with a flash fire on the CT05, the cause as yet undetermined. Ricciardo’s 1:35 was enough for 3rd place in the final times, the closest any Renault car has been to the front-running pace so far.
Pastor Maldonado endured a tough day once more in the twin-tusk Lotus E22, interrupted by self-induced off-track excursions and mysterious bursts of flame from the back of the car that caused more red flags.
There was steady progress at Sauber and Ferrari, and Marussia spent much of the day featuring highly on the timesheets courtesy of Jules Bianchi who relished the opportunity to get behind the wheel after Max Chilton handled driving duties on the first day of the test.
DAY TWO – TIMES – Bahrain Testing 28th Feb 2014