Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

Bottas quickest on day two of test as Mercedes make up for lost time

2021 F1 season

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Mercedes bounced back from a poor start to testing by setting the quickest lap time so far on the second day in Bahrain.

Valtteri Bottas, who took over from team mate Lewis Hamilton at lunch time, set a 1’30.289 which put him ahead of AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly by a tenth of a second.

In much better conditions, the track cleaned up quickly as the drivers cleared the dust from yesterday’s sandstorm. The afternoon session was largely incident-free, no cars having to be retrieved and no driver suffering any significant problems, and most teams covered more than 100 laps.

Sergio Perez, running all day today for Red Bull, had had a strange incident when his car shed its left-rear engine cover and sidepod as he emerged from Nicholas Latifi’s slipstream to overtake the Williams. He returned him to the garage with the Honda power unit exposed. He reappeared later in the session but didn’t improve his time.

After a brief red flag to clear the debris from Perez’s sidepod, Gasly, Antonio Giovinazzi and Lando Norris resumed swapping the fastest times. All three lapped 1’31 and Gasly and Norris both yesterday’s best time, set by Max Verstappen.

Mick Schumacher, who had extremely limited running in the morning session yesterday due to a gearbox change, put in an enormous number of laps this afternoon to make up for it.

Mercedes spent most of the afternoon, as yesterday and this morning, well off the pace, with both cars outside the top 10 until over halfway through the second session. However, Bottas put on a set of C5 tyres, the softest available for this test, to go fastest in the last 20 minutes of the session on a 1’30.289, beating Gasly’s time on the same tyres by a tenth and two tenths ahead of Norris on the C4 compound. Lance Stroll also set a late fast time on the medium tyres, beating Norris for third place on the second day.

The session again ended with a red flag, for procedural reasons rather than due to any incidents on track.

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Pos.Car numberDriverTeamModelBest timeGapLaps
177Valtteri BottasMercedesW121’30.28956
210Pierre GaslyAlphaTauriAT021’30.4130.12486
318Lance StrollAston MartinAMR211’30.4600.17170
44Lando NorrisMcLarenMCL35M1’30.5860.29752
599Antonio GiovinazziAlfa RomeoC411’30.7600.471125
616Charles LeclercFerrariSF211’30.8860.59773
76Nicholas LatifiWilliamsFW43B1’31.6721.383132
811Sergio PerezRed BullRB16B1’31.6821.393117
93Daniel RicciardoMcLarenMCL35M1’32.2151.92652
1014Fernando AlonsoAlpineA5211’32.3392.050128
1122Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauriAT021’32.6842.39557
1247Mick SchumacherHaasVF-211’32.8832.59486
1355Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariSF211’33.0722.78356
149Nikita MazepinHaasVF-211’33.1012.81276
1544Lewis HamiltonMercedesW121’33.3993.11058
165Sebastian VettelAston MartinAMR211’38.8498.56010

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Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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6 comments on “Bottas quickest on day two of test as Mercedes make up for lost time”

  1. One tenth ahead of Alpha Tauri on C5…hmmm. Four tenths faster than RB’s yesterday who were on C3 in far worse conditions. Yes, MB are on top today but something looks off.

    1. Gasly’s lap was also on the same C5 compound though.

  2. Cars look too slowwww and heavy, really noticeable through the hairpin and turn 11, as the drivers looked really late on the throttle there. I hope that is just due to the teams running high fuel only, and not due to the loss of downforce these cars received.

    1. I’d estimate that is a combination of not quite having the tyres figured out, the heavy cars, somewhat lower (rear) downforce but also the strong winds @krichelle

  3. GG, Mercedes’ rivals, i wish you better luck next year

  4. I thought after Hamilton’s poor show, that Mercedes might be running a double bluff, but it seems Bottas is doing well enough in the new car. This just leaves the tire choices as the likely differences between them. Eg Hamilton is testing tires with the new config, whilst Bottas is testing the engine under race conditions. Hamilton’s 60 laps, makes more sense, since you wouldnt really need to test the tires any longer than a race is likely to last.

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