Magnussen tops penultimate testing day at Bahrain

By Steven De Groote on

While Carlos Sainz topped the times on the scheduled end of today’s test session, Kevin Magnussen went a solid 3 tenths faster during the extra hour that Haas was allowed to continue to make up for lost time on Thursday.

Sainz stood on top of the timesheet when the official test finished at 19:00 local time but it was Kevin Magnussen whose lap of 1:33.207 topped the overall leaderboard of the day. Haas were allowed to go on for an extra hour due to Thursday morning’s freight delays. The team will also be allowed to do 2 additional testing hours on Saturday.

After poor performances throughout testing thus far, Haas took the spotlight, most likely with a very low fuel run in an attempt to attract some interest, and perhaps a new sponsor deal to replace the ousted Uralkali labels.

Magnussen was however unable to hide Ferrari’s strong showing in testing so far. Carlos Sainz topped Ocon’s best from the morning session with little more than 90 minutes left in the session. Having first completed a run on the yellow medium tyres, Sainz went on to go another 4 tenths faster on C4 Pirelli tyres.

Verstappen, Stroll and Hamilton also improved on Ocon’s morning benchmark in the final hour. Red Bull’s and Aston Martin’s driver did so on the C4 tyre as Hamilton used the C5 compound, the softest available.

Ocon therefore ended the day 6th and with a solid 111 laps completed. It came with a scare though as the Frenchman parked his Alpine A522 aside the track after the team noted an anomaly in the data. A swift investigation in the pit appeared to reveal no big problem, allowing Ocon to get back out not much after the 20-minute session stoppage.

The session was soon stopped again though as Norris ground to a halt leaving the pitlane. For Norris, who again ran the entire day as Daniel Ricciardo continued to feel unwell, it also proved to be a minor hiccup with little delay for McLaren’s testing programme.

Vettel followed up in 9th with his time from the morning, topping Tsunoda who ran a full day for AlphaTauri.

Behind them, Bottas was the fastest man for Alfa Romeo as the team continued to struggle to keep their car out on track. Along with team mate Guanyu Zhou, the Finn added only 73 for Alfa.

Williams was obviously even worse off, as Latifi already ended his team’s day in the morning. On his 12th lap, the rear brakes caught fire early on on the lap, resulting in a spin and a stoppage by Turn 10 as the heat caused the suspension to lose strength. To make matters worse, the left rear brake exploded when a marshall was busy extinguishing the fire, but fortunately, without personal harm.

Testing continues tomorrow for the final day of pre-season testing ahead of next weekend’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.