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Bottas tops day 2 afternoon session as Mercedes finds pace

Valtteri Bottas. Credits: Daimler.

This afternoon, Valtteri Bottas was the fastest behind the wheel of his W12, managing to lap the Bahrain international circuit in 1:30.289, which is also the fastest overall time of the testings until now.

For today’s second session, a few teams had a driver change, namely Haas switching for Mick Schumacher, Ferrari for Charles Leclerc, Aston Martin for Lance Stroll, Alpha Tauri for Pierre Gasly, McLaren for Lando Norris, and finally, Mercedes for Valtteri Bottas.

Red Bull, Alpha Tauri, and Ferrari went for a few race simulation runs right of the start. In these runs, Gasly looked very fast and confident, whereas the Ferrari looked surprisingly slower than the Alpha Tauri.

The Spanish Alpine driver Fernando Alonso also had a few semi-long to long runs in which he showed a very decent pace.

In the middle of the session, a very weird moment occurred on track, in which we saw Gasly stuck behind the FW43B for a few laps, Nicholas Latifi not even using his DRS. However, as soon as Gasly overtook the Williams, the French driver was driving four tenths a lap faster than Latifi. This is probably due to an enormous amount of dirty air. Mazepin already mentioned how drivers are suffering when following a car closely, earlier today.

It looked like Lando Norris adopted the same strategy as Daniel Ricciardo this morning, only driving one or two laps at a time before pitting. The McLaren driver was on track for more than 10 laps in a row. Nevertheless, the Britton definitely was one of the fastest on track today, putting up a time of 1:30.586 using the C4 tire compound while Bottas, Gasly, and Stroll were using the softer C5 compound.

The last hour had the look of a qualification session. Indeed, a few drivers went for the soft compounds and tried being the fastest of the session. Bottas was the quickest on track today. He was however followed very closely followed by Pierre Gasly in his AlphaTauri.

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