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Ferrari top the times as Mercedes hit handling issues

Carlos Sainz put Ferrari at the top of the timesheets ahead of Logan Sargeant on the morning of test day two as Lewis Hamilton appeared to struggle with an ill-handling Mercedes

Carlos Sainz completed a very productive morning for the Ferrari team by topping the morning of the second Bahrain test day ahead of Williams' Logan Sargeant. The lap time benchmark set by Max Verstappen on day one was lowered by almost four tenths of a second within the first few hours of day two at the Bahrain International Circuit. The Ferrari man was conducting a series of shorter, five-lap stints on the C3 tyre when he topped the charts with a 1:32.486. Logan Sargeant came close to stealing top spots in the later stages of the morning session. His time was less than one tenth of a second away from completing a disruptive glory run. Fernando Alonso, who is set to complete the entire day for Aston Martin in place of Lance Stroll, set the third-fastest time in what, on the face of it, appeared to be another strong performance for the AMR23 car. Guanyu Zhou was fourth-fastest for Alfa Romeo, although he completed just 43 laps of the Bahrain venue. According to the team, the comparatively low lap count was due to the lengthy setup changes. Haas' Kevin Magnussen and Alpine's Esteban Ocon completed the top six, with Alpine also putting their lower lap count down to lengthy setup changes and long debriefs.

Red Bull and Mercedes down the order

Sergio Perez made his first appearance of 2023 testing. He completed a hefty 76 laps, mostly on C2 tyres, for Red Bull in a bid to try and match Verstappen's high mileage from yesterday,. Lewis Hamilton finished the morning down in eighth place, and appeared to be battling with a oversteering Mercedes W14. The Briton did not set a competitive lap time, but completed 72 laps in Bahrain with the Mercedes running reliably, albeit erratically. The incorrect setup direction was confirmed by Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff to media during the morning session. Lando Norris finished the morning session towards the rear of the timesheets, with the Briton mostly completing longer runs on the C2 tyre. However, the McLaren driver appeared to be handling a temperamental MCL60, which had several oversteer and off-track moments. Yuki Tsunoda finished the morning with the highest lap count in a very productive morning for AlphaTauri, completing 85 laps but not setting a competitive lap time.

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