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The key takeaways from Day 2 of F1 testing in Bahrain

What have we learned as the track falls silent on Day 2 of testing from the Bahrain International Circuit?

Hamilton Bahrain Test
Article
To news overview © XPBimages

The chequered flag has fallen on the second day of pre-season testing from the Bahrain International Circuit.

Just one more day of on-track running is left for teams to gather data ahead of the first round of the campaign, which will also take place in Bahrain.

But what did we learn throughout the day? RacingNews365 takes a look.

Red Bull not indestructible

Impressive testing mileage with limited days of running has been achieved in Formula 1's modern era through the improvement in reliability, with cars running into far fewer woes compared to previous decades.

However, the cars are not unbreakable and neither, it seems, is Red Bull who enter the year as the heavy favourite to claim both titles once again.

Sergio Perez's morning session was disrupted by a brake issue that kept him in the garage for some time.

Later in the session, the six-time race winner limped back to the pit lane with another problem - however his stay in the garage was much shorter and he emerged back to set the highest lap tally during the day from a single driver.

Such issues are not dramatic in testing but in a race scenario, they may see the curtains drawn. If Red Bull wishes to repeat or better its record-breaking campaign from last year, these small instances will need to be ironed out.

			© RN365/Michael Potts
	© RN365/Michael Potts

Mercedes' step forward

After George Russell gave the W15 its testing debut on Wednesday, Lewis Hamilton took over driving duties for the second day of action.

Mercedes is looking to make strides forward having endured a difficult duo of campaigns, unable to challenge for the title in 2022 and 2023.

The mood in the camp is likely somewhat downcast following Hamilton's decision to depart the team for Ferrari next year, but perhaps the mood will be raised following his comments after driving the car in Bahrain.

Hamilton asserted that Mercedes has “clearly” made a step forward compared to last year, with his comments going hand in hand with Russell's conclusion that it is a “good foundation” for the remainder of the year.

While the expectation is that Red Bull will continue to lead the field, Mercedes may well have the conditions in place to make real leaps toward besting its rivals.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Ferrari comfortable but reserved

Ferrari managed to top the day with Carlos Sainz strapping on a set of C4 tyres to set the best lap of the test to date.

Both Sainz and teammate Charles Leclerc spoke about their comfort behind the wheel as Ferrari has aimed to tackle the unpredictability of the car, which plagued it throughout the 2023 campaign.

While Leclerc was pleased with the way the test has unfolded so far for Ferrari, the Monesgasque driver was keen to assert that it does not mean it will be in the mix come the opening round.

“Let's be careful because saying the two first days went well doesn't mean anything in terms of competitiveness," he said.

“So we need to wait and see for that. My initial feeling is that Red Bull remains the reference and ahead for now.”

			© RN365/Michael Potts
	© RN365/Michael Potts

RB a threat?

It seems that RB has been in the headlines for all of the wrong reasons so far this year, from being scrutinised due to its collaboration with Red Bull to its mouthful of a team name.

Daniel Ricciardo took the car to fifth place in the final classification with the C4 compound - however unconfirmed fuel loads and engine settings leave it difficult to assess its true pace.

However, some of its rivals believe that the squad has made a step forward this year. Speaking to F1 TV, Williams' Alex Albon noted its speed.

“They’ve made a step,” Albon said. “I think they’ve definitely… gathered some parts.

“They look very, very, very quick. So I think they’ve made a big step, which is just the way it is. But we’re there. We’re not far away, I don’t think.”

RB's rapid increase in pace towards the end of last season almost saw it claim seventh in the Constructors' Championship after sitting dead last for much of the campaign.

If the fears of some rival teams are to be believed, it may well be competing for an even higher result than P7 this time around.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

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