Max Verstappen ended the first Friday on moral high ground as he set the fastest time of the day in second practice at Bahrain. Once again, the Ferrari duo of Leclerc and Sainz ended up second and third fastest, underlining the emerging scarlet challenge for Saturday and Sunday.
George Russell followed up in 4th while his Mercedes team mate, Lewis Hamilton ended up only 9th, struggling with the continuing porpoising on the W13 while also complaining of a front brake problem.
Those front brake issues weren't necessarily limited to Hamilton however as many drivers were seen to lock up front wheels when turning into a corner. It is quite likely that the porpoising is actually detrimental for this as well as the bumping effect creates a varying load on the front wheels as the driver starts braking.
Fernando Alonso once again put Alpine firmly in the top 10 by going 5th fastest, albeit nearly a full second off of Verstappen's pace. Behind him is Valtteri Bottas who enjoyed a productive 30-lap session after being sidelined for most of the first practice session earlier today.
Sergio Perez ended up 7th and only 0.007s off of Bottas, followed by the Haas duo sandwiching Lewis Hamilton. The performance left Haas Team Principal Steiner somewhat surprised, saying "there were no issues with the car, no gremlins, nothing. That means the team did a fantastic job over the last week from testing to now – it was relentless work".
Lando Norris as 11th, ending an anonymous session for McLaren. The team stated afterwards it was struggling to understand its lacklustre pace today at Bahrain. Racing Director Andrea Stella also confirmed that Daniel Ricciardo's session had ended early due to a water leak on his car which was "nothing too serious and will be fixed for the remainder of the weekend".
Esteban Ocon was 12th as he, just like Perez, evaluated different setup options for the car compared to his team mate. The AlphaTauri duo followed up, ahead of Chinese rooke Zhou Guanyu.
The Aston Martins struggled somewhat with the cooler temperatures while Williams closed the pack in 19th and 20th. Williams struggled for pace in both sessions but were adamant they got through their programme, despite a radio issue for Alex Albon that cost some time.
|1||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Rbpt||1:31.936||20|
|5||14||Fernando Alonso||Alpine Renault||1:32.877||+0.941s||24|
|6||77||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:32.951||+1.015s||30|
|7||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing Rbpt||1:32.958||+1.022s||20|
|8||47||Mick Schumacher||Haas Ferrari||1:33.085||+1.149s||24|
|10||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||1:33.183||+1.247s||23|
|11||4||Lando Norris||Mclaren Mercedes||1:33.280||+1.344s||27|
|12||31||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault||1:33.360||+1.424s||25|
|13||10||Pierre Gasly||Alphatauri Rbpt||1:33.621||+1.685s||24|
|14||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Alphatauri Rbpt||1:33.789||+1.853s||26|
|15||24||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:33.953||+2.017s||27|
|16||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:33.958||+2.022s||25|
|17||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:34.061||+2.125s||28|
|18||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Mclaren Mercedes||1:34.166||+2.230s||12|
|19||6||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes||1:34.486||+2.550s||28|
|20||23||Alexander Albon||Williams Mercedes||1:34.735||+2.799s||22|