After both sessions of the day, Bottas was the fastest on track. However, there’s still a lot to worry about for Mercedes regarding today’s performance.
A lot of interesting things have been seen on track today and in this article, we will take a closer look at some of the most relevant actions that occurred on the Bahrain International Circuit.
First of all, it seems like Ferrari is still in a great struggle to find its pace. This afternoon, after trying out a few flying laps, even using C5 tires which is the softest available compound, Charles Leclerc did not manage driving faster than Antonio Giovinazzi, which is very encouraging for Alfa Romeo and something to worry about for Ferrari.
Oppositely, after two sessions of practice, Alpha Tauri is looking faster than ever. Indeed, Tsunoda put up decent times this morning for what was one of his first drives in the AT02 while Gasly was flying in the afternoon, excelling in everything he did. The French driver started his session with some race simulation runs in which he looked indecently fast. That’s right, the 2020 Italian Grand Prix winner managed to drive at the pace of Sergio Perez, if not faster. At the end of the session, he even gave Valtteri Bottas a hard time trying to match his 1:30.413 lap.
Charles Leclerc also had several race simulation runs. However, the Monegasque was a few tenths a lap off the pace of both Perez and Gasly.
We can also notice positive results shown by Williams. Nothing too special but it looks like the car is improving and it is pretty much safe to say that it should be faster than the Haas this season. We all know that Nicholas Latifi is normally not the fastest driver of the Williams line up but he still managed to put up very decent lap times on mediums and hard tires. This is however still to be confirmed by tomorrow’s runs in which we should see if the FW43B is really closing the gaps to other teams like Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, and Alpha Tauri or not.
Today was a big day of testing for Fernando Alonso. His first outing looked very promising as the two-times Formula 1 World Champion seemed to find good pace straight away and had a lot of time to try out different things on the A521.
McLaren had a very interesting way of doing things, as the British team sent its drivers for one to two laps at a time before letting them pit. Daniel Ricciardo already looks extremely confident in his MCL35M while Lando Norris managed to put up an impressive lap knowing he used C4 tires that were not the softest available. As a comparison, Valteri Bottas was 3 tenths faster than the Briton, using the softer C5 compound.
Now talking about Mercedes; Lewis Hamilton caused a Red flag this morning by beaching himself in the gravel pit. The 7-time World Champion looked very upset about it and didn’t look too confident after changing his Friday setup, which he called “horrible.”
Nevertheless, the Formula One legend underlined after the testing day that there is “Nothing to worry about.”
His teammate, Bottas, finished on top of the second session. Nonetheless, there is nothing to be really proud of for Mercedes after struggling for almost 30 minutes to beat Gasly’s time, and even having to use the same compound as the French driver to be able to beat him for a tenth.
Finally, Aston Martin had gearbox issues this morning causing Vettel to only complete 8 laps. It remains unclear if it is the same problem Mercedes had yesterday. Stroll had a decent pace but still nothing incredible regarding the high expectations for Aston Martin this season. The Canadian didn’t manage to go faster than Pierre Gasly nor Valtteri Bottas and was just one-tenth ahead of Lando Norris using softer tires, which is not something we would expect from a team deliberately competing for third place in the constructors’ championship this season.