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Formula 1

Ferrari leads as 2023 F1 testing hits halfway point

by Jack Cozens
3 min read

Ferrari hit the front at the midway point in 2023 Formula 1 testing as Carlos Sainz pipped the soft tyre-shod Williams of Logan Sargeant to the fastest time in the day two morning session in Bahrain.

Sainz was a near-permanent feature at the head of the leaderboard and just past the end of the first hour had already eclipsed his best time from a day earlier, setting a 1m32.653s.

He went better still on his next new set of mid-range C3 tyres, with the 1m32.486s he achieved on that run standing unbeaten come the end of the session.

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The Ferrari driver conducted the equivalent of Friday practice race simulations thereafter, with two stints of 14 laps and another of 12 laps on the mid-range tyres.

Sargeant’s starring run to second came on the softest C5 compound – a strategy Williams employed in the equivalent session with Alex Albon a day earlier – available to teams during the test.

The 2023 F1 rookie did consecutive C5-C4-C5 runs in the final hour and made improvements on each, setting the fastest middle sector of all on his final attempt but ending up 0.063 seconds slower than Sainz.

Motor Racing Formula One Testing Day Two Sakhir, Bahrain

Fernando Alonso was again in the top three in the times as Aston Martin racked up its best lap total from any session so far in testing.

Still, it wasn’t trouble-free, as Alonso spent the best part of an hour in the pits during which time Aston Martin worked on the AMR23’s brakes.

Zhou Guanyu completed the fewest laps of anyone – 43 – on the second morning in his Alfa Romeo, but was fourth with his run on the prototype test tyre from Pirelli’s back-up factory used to benchmark against the regular C3 compound.

Haas’s Kevin Magnussen was the final driver within a second of Sainz’s benchmark but appeared to set his time on the slightly harder C2 compound, with Esteban Ocon in sixth for Alpine.

Motor Racing Formula One Testing Day Two Sakhir, Bahrain

Sergio Perez got his first taste in testing of the new RB19 as Red Bull appeared to put greater emphasis on running long.

Like Zhou, Perez set his best time on the prototype test tyre – a 1m33.751s set early in the session – before switching focus to race simulations, with an 18-lap stint on the C3 tyre followed by a 24-lap one on the hard C1 compound.

At one comparable stage when both were on the C3, Perez on tyres with more laps on them was around 0.4s a lap faster than Sainz.

Lewis Hamilton was eighth in a Mercedes W14 that for a second day in a row appeared to suffer no visible effects of porpoising – Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff declaring to F1TV “The porpoising is gone, essentially”.

Lando Norris had a low-key session for McLaren but put 65 laps on the MCL60, while Yuki Tsunoda propped up the times for AlphaTauri, 3.222s off Sainz.

But Tsunoda led the way in the mileage stakes, putting 85 laps on the new AT04 that he will hand over to Nyck de Vries in the afternoon.

Day two am times

1. Sainz (Ferrari) 1m32.486s, C3, 68 laps
2. Sargeant (Williams) 1m32.549s, C5, 72 laps
3. Alonso (Aston Martin) 1m32.969s, C3, 64 laps
4. Zhou (Alfa Romeo) 1m33.170s, test, 42 laps
5. Magnussen (Haas) 1m33.442s, C2, 66 laps
6. Ocon (Alpine) 1m33.490s, C3, 48 laps
7. Perez (Red Bull) 1m33.751s, test, 76 laps
8. Hamilton (Mercedes) 1m33.954s, C3, 71 laps
9. Norris (McLaren) 1m35.522s, C2, 64 laps
10. Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) 1m37.687s, C3, 85 laps

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