F1 Bahrain Testing Day 2: Zhou nips Verstappen using super soft Pirellis
By Mark Cipolloni
Zhou Guanyu slapped on a set of super soft C5 Pirelli tires meant for street circuits and turned a ‘glory’ lap of 1m31.10s to just nip defending World Champion Max Verstappen by 0.040s as Day 2 of preseason F1 testing came to an end in Bahrain.
However, Verstappen never made a low fuel soft tire qualifying simulation run, and it was clear he was easily fastest comparing apples to apples.
Verstappen went out early in the PM session of the 2nd day of preseason testing in Bahrain and within a few laps he blew everyone of out of the water on medium tires with a lap of 1m31.650s in his #1 Red Bull Honda.
Verstappen time was 0.8s faster than everyone else at the time.
He then sat out most of the session, but went out late to put some long runs in with heavy fuel, and once again his long run pace was far better than anyone else.
Zhou said while the team was aware it was just testing and “everyone is trying different settings” seeing his name and that of the team “up there in the timing sheets” was a good feeling.
“It’s been a positive day overall, we got more mileage in and went through all the targets and tasks we had set for ourselves, so I can say I am happy,” the 23-year-old said.
“The car felt reasonably good, both in daytime and night-time conditions, and I felt more confident pushing as the day progressed.”
“Today was the final day of preseason testing for me, and I am very much looking forward to the start of the season next week. I feel ready and excited about the new campaign and I can’t wait to be racing again,” Zhou said.
Fernando Alonso was 3rd quick in the much improved Aston Martin, 0.555s seconds behind Verstappen on the same C3 tires and 0.595s behind the Alfa Romeo.
Nick De Vries was 0.612s behind Zhou Guanyu, and he was also on the softest C5 Pirellis, so rather ominous.
Nico Hilkenberg rounded out the top-5 for Haas running the C4 tire, which will not be used next weekend.
George Russell brought out the only red-flag when his Mercedes ground to a halt out on the track with a hydraulic problem.
Bahrain Final Preseason Times Day 2
|1||Zhou Guanyu||CHN||Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake||1m31.610s||133||C5 Super Soft|
|2||Max Verstappen||NED||Oracle Red Bull Racing||1m31.650s||47||C3 Medium|
|3||Fernando Alonso||ESP||Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team||1m32.205s||130||C3 Medium|
|4||Nyck de Vries||NED||Scuderia AlphaTauri||1m32.222s||74||C4 Soft|
|5||Nico Hulkenberg||GER||MoneyGram Haas F1 Team||1m32.466s||68||C4 Soft|
|6||Carlos Sainz||ESP||Scuderia Ferrari||1m32.486s||70||C3 Medium|
|7||Logan Sargeant||USA||Williams Racing||1m32.549s||154||C5 Super Soft|
|8||Charles Leclerc||MON||Scuderia Ferrari||1m32.725s||68||C3 Medium|
|9||Oscar Piastri||AUS||McLaren F1 Team||1m33.175s||74||C3 Medium|
|10||Pierre Gasly||FRA||BWT Alpine F1 Team||1m33.186s||59||C3 Medium|
|11||Kevin Magnussen||DEN||MoneyGram Haas F1 Team||1m33.442s||67||C3 Medium|
|12||Esteban Ocon||FRA||BWT Alpine F1 Team||1m33.490s||49||C3 Medium|
|13||George Russell||GBR||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team||1m33.654s||26||C3 Medium|
|14||Sergio Perez||MEX||Oracle Red Bull Racing||1m33.751s||76||Prototype|
|15||Lewis Hamilton||GBR||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team||1m33.954s||72||C3 Medium|
|16||Lando Norris||GBR||McLaren F1 Team||1m35.522s||65||C2 Medium|
|17||Yuki Tsunoda||JPN||Scuderia AlphaTauri||1m35.708s||85||C2 Medium|