And welcome once again to our coverage for the final pre-season test in Bahrain. It’s a little over a week until the season gets going for real and this is the all-important final day of running before the teams return to this very track next week to do it all again in competitive circumstances.
What have we learned so far? Well, of course the true order remains a little mysterious though we now have a clearer picture of who has had the smoother and bumpier of the pre-season programmes. Yesterday was fairly smooth for Ferrari, who have had untroubled running throughout most of the five days so far in Barcelona and Bahrain.
Most teams managed significant mileage yesterday despite a handful of stoppages, but they also suffered with poor grip and lack of stability throughout the day. Although the car was likely heavy on fuel, the Red Bull seemed particularly difficult to drive, especially in the afternoon session.
Other teams struggled with similar issues, including the ‘porpoising’ or high-speed bouncing on the suspension on the straights, an issue which has not been fixed since the first test in Barcelona.
McLaren endured a problematic day. Daniel Ricciardo – who has now tested positive for Covid – missed the second day, as he did the first day but the bigger issues were with their front brakes. Norris managed a relatively small amount of laps across the day, only being able to short runs of two or so laps before returning to the pit lane.
“This one and a half days so far didn’t go to plan yet. We have an unexpected issue on the front axle with the brakes. It’s a race against time to get upgraded parts here,” team principal Andreas Seidl said after the morning session.
“I’m optimistic that going into the race next week we’ll be back on track.”
There were also problems for Williams as Nicholas Latifi’s day ended with the rear of his brakes on fire, causing significant damage to his car. This brought out the first red flag of the day and a stoppage of 30 minutes. The damage was too severe for him to run again in the day.
The session begins in the upcoming moments and we will be here for every moment of it.