Carlos Sainz ends Day 2 on top with eye-catching time

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F1 Test, Sakhir, Bahrain International Circuitbh

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz set the pace on the second day of pre-season testing at the Bahrain International Circuit, as the Spaniard elected to perform several qualifying simulation runs on Pirelli's C3 and C4 compound.

Ferrari shared the driving duties between its two drivers on the second of pre-season testing with Charles Leclerc getting behind the wheel of the SF-24 first before Carlos Sainz took over the new car for the afternoon. The Monegasque posted several encouraging times on low fuel, using Pirelli's C3 compound to lead the morning session.

The opening session came to an early end because of a track inspection, triggered by Leclerc running over a drain cover and sprinkling debris on the approach to Turn 11. With the lunch break having brought forward, the afternoon session was extended by an hour. Leclerc continued to rack up laps in the first hour of the afternoon session before his team-mate Carlos Sainz took over the SF-24 for the rest of the day.

Following a few installation laps, Sainz elected to perform several low-fuel runs, first on Pirelli's C3 compound and then on the C4 tyres that will not even make an appearance at next weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Madrid-born driver quickly took over the lead on the yellow-banded tyres before recording eye-catching lap times on the red-walled C4 compound. His best effort saw him clock in a 1.29.921s that was over seven tenths of a second quicker than what second-fastest Sergio Perez managed on the C3 tyre for Red Bull.

"We managed to go through the whole afternoon programme smoothly, combining various tests with low and high fuel runs, so it was interesting to get a feel for this year’s car in different configurations," Sainz concluded.

Perez endured several issues on his first test day, including a small brake fire, but he racked up a total of 129 laps. Having sat out the opening day, Lewis Hamilton got behind the wheel of the brand-new W15 on Thursday with the seven-time world champion completing 123 lap en route to the third-fastest lap.

McLaren had a strong opening day, and their new car looked quick and stable on Day 2, particularly in the hands of Lando Norris. Daniel Ricciardo posted the fifth-fastest lap for the Visa Cash App RB outfit while his team-mate Yuki Tsunoda finished last, having entirely focused on high-fuel runs.

Lance Stroll finished seventh for Aston Martin with Esteban Ocon, Valtteri Bottas and Oscar Piastri closing out the top-10. Having posted the 11th quickest lap, Fernando Alonso recorded only a total of 31 laps as his day ended early when the session came to an end after just over two hours of running.

Although Logan Sargeant had a few issues out on track, including a half-spin exiting Turn 10, the American managed to clock in a total of 117 laps.

"There are lots of positives despite there being some things for us to fix, but I’m looking forward to getting back into the rhythm as I started to feel more comfortable throughout the day. I’m fighting the car a little more than I’d like but those things will come together soon. It’s still a great day of experience ahead of next weekend. Testing went by quickly and I definitely would’ve liked another day but it will be great to see Alex in the car tomorrow and for us to keep testing the car," Sargeant said.