F1: Verstappen nips Leclerc in 2nd Bahrain GP practice

Defending World Champion Max Verstappen turned a lap of 1m31.936s in his #1 Red Bull to lead the 2nd practice under the lights for the Bahrain GP while still looking like he was holding something in reserve.

Verstappen barely nipped the #16 Ferrari of Charles Leclerc by 0.087s.

“The car felt good today, testing here last week means we’ve all started in a good place,” said Verstappen.

“We had quite a straightforward and smooth day so I’m pretty happy, we also tried a few things on the car in each session and they seemed to work well. You can see that Ferrari are pushing hard and are very close so that’s exciting.

“Looking ahead, we’ll have to wait and see with different teams’ engine modes, no one is in quali spec yet so I think everyone still has a lot more to give. It’s good to see the teams are all closer together, in general that’s what everyone wants and I think over time teams will get even closer together.”

Carlos Sainz Jr. was third fastest, 0.584s behind.

3rd best for Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari F1 Team Photo

George Russel was 4th for Mercedes 0.593s back, while Fernando Alonso rounded out the top-5 for Alpine 0.941s off the pace.

Although all the drivers made qualifying sim runs, we do not know whose engine was turned up, and who was still sandbagging. Lewis Hamilton was still sandbagging down in 9th, 1.2s off the pace because he was not using DRS.  Mercedes is doing their best to cover up their true pace. Just wait for qualifying Saturday.

Valtteri Bottas was making up for that time lost in FP1. The Finn has settled in down at his new team Alfa Romeo, and is relishing his role as team leader too, with the sixth-fastest time.

Daniel Ricciardo missed part of the session with a water leak.

After drivers put up their qualifying sim run, the drivers settled down into doing long race setup runs.

It appears that the Aston Martin have gone backward this year and will join the Haas and Williams teams at the back of the grid.

Fuel loads are an unknown, but it certainly looks like a two-team fight up front so far. Sainz Jr. wasn’t happy with his first run, and there is certainly time to find for the Spaniard. Could it be two Ferraris versus one Red Bull for pole?

Or will the sandbagging Mercedes all of a sudden come alive?

Practice 2 Results

1 Max Verstappen NED Oracle Red Bull Racing 1m31.936s +0.000s Soft
2 Charles Leclerc MON Scuderia Ferrari 1m32.023s +0.087s Soft
3 Carlos Sainz ESP Scuderia Ferrari 1m32.520s +0.584s Soft
4 George Russell GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas 1m32.529s +0.593s Soft
5 Fernando Alonso ESP BWT Alpine F1 Team 1m32.877s +0.941s Soft
6 Valtteri Bottas FIN Alfa Romeo F1 Team Orlen 1m32.951s +1.015s Soft
7 Sergio Perez MEX Oracle Bull Racing 1m32.958s +1.022s Soft
8 Mick Schumacher GER Uralkali Haas F1 Team 1m33.085s +1.149s Soft
9 Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas 1m33.144s +1.208s Soft
10 Kevin Magnussen DEN Uralkali Haas F1 Team 1m33.183s +1.247s Soft
11 Lando Norris GBR McLaren F1 Team 1m33.280s +1.344s Soft
12 Esteban Ocon FRA BWT Alpine F1 Team 1m33.360s +1.424s Soft
13 Pierre Gasly FRA Scuderia AlphaTauri 1m33.621s +1.685s Soft
14 Yuki Tsunoda JPN Scuderia AlphaTauri 1m33.789s +1.853s Soft
15 Guanyu Zhou CHN Alfa Romeo F1 Team Orlen 1m33.953s +2.017s Soft
16 Lance Stroll CAN Aston Martin 1m33.958s +2.022s Soft
17 Nico Hulkenberg GER Aston Martin 1m34.061s +2.125s Soft
18 Daniel Ricciardo AUS McLaren F1 Team 1m34.166s +2.230s Soft
19 Nicholas Latifi CAN Williams Racing 1m34.486s +2.550s Soft
20 Alexander Albon THA Williams Racing 1m34.735s +2.799s Soft


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