Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2024 pre-season test

Sainz uses softer tyres to lead Perez by 0.7 seconds on day two of test

Formula 1

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Carlos Sainz Jnr posted the quickest time in the second day of pre-season testing in Bahrain, seven tenths of a second ahead of Sergio Perez.

The Ferrari driver took over the SF-24 from team mate Charles Leclerc for the evening session and used the C4 compound tyres to post a 1’29.921, comfortably quicker than Max Verstappen’s best time of the first day of running on Wednesday.

After Thursday’s first session was cut short due to a loose drain cover, an hour was added to the evening’s running, giving drivers five hours of running time. Ferrari gave Leclerc the opportunity to continue in the car for the first hour after the break before Sainz took over.

Lando Norris, Lance Stroll, Esteban Ocon, Valtteri Bottas, Daniel Ricciardo and Kevin Magnussen took over their respective cars for the evening session, with Sergio Perez, Lewis Hamilton and Logan Sargeant each continuing to complete a full day in their cars.

Leclerc’s best time of a 1’31.750 from the early session remained untouched over the opening hour of running, before Hamilton improved on the C3 compound tyres to move into second on the timing screen. That put him just ahead of Oscar Piastri’s time from the early session but still half a second from Leclerc’s best up to that point.

Around 90 minutes into running, Sainz headed out on a fresh set of C3 tyres and posted a 1’31.856, the fastest time of the second session and just a tenth slower than his team mate’s time from the first. Soon after, Bottas put his Sauber third-fastest on the day before Norris jumped ahead of his team mate and Bottas to go third himself, two tenths off Leclerc’s benchmark.

Around 4pm, Sainz posted a new fastest lap of the day with a 1’31.397, two tenths quicker than his team mate’s previous best and almost matching Verstappen’s fastest time of the test from Wednesday. Soon after, he pitted for C4 compound tyres – the second-softest in the range – and headed out to post a new quickest time of the test of 1’30.686, the first driver under 1’31 over the two days.

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Not long after, Sainz used a second set of new C4s to lower his own best time by two tenths to 1’30.424. Meanwhile, Norris took a fresh set of C3s to improve his personal best to a 1’31.256, comfortably second and quicker than Verstappen’s best from Wednesday.

Perez had a scare when his Red Bull slowed to a crawl at turn 13 and appeared to be in ‘limp home’ mode. Fortunately, the downhill run to the pit lane allowed him to roll into the garage and after some checks from the Red Bull mechanics he was soon back on the track.

Another fresh set of C4s produced another new fastest time for Sainz who broke under the 90 second mark for the first time with a 1’29.921. Seemingly satisfied with that achievement, he returned to focus on longer runs.

Heading into the fourth hour, Norris climbed out of the McLaren as his team’s mechanics stripped off the engine cover of the MCL38 and began to work around the power unit of the car. The problem was later reported to be related to the fuel system.

With just under an hour remaining, Hamilton moved up to second place with a time just over a second slower than Sainz’s best on the C3 compound. Also in the final hour, Perez used the C3 tyres to go second fastest with a 1’30.679, seven tenths slower than Sainz’s best time.

When just 15 minutes of running were left on the clock, FIA race director Niels Wittich initiated a planned test of the Virtual Safety Car, Safety Car and red flag procedures. This was followed by a mock Safety Car restart test in which Hamilton led a group consisting of Norris, Bottas, Ocon and Magnussen, who all raced each other through the first two sectors of the lap.

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After another red flag brought an end to proceedings for the day, Sainz’s best time of a 1’29.921 was the fastest, seven tenths faster than Perez with Hamilton a second slower than Sainz in third. Norris was fourth-fastest for McLaren ahead of Ricciardo fifth, Leclerc’s early time good enough for sixth and Stroll seventh.

Perez and Hamilton naturally completed the most laps of the day with 129 and 123, respectively, with Sargeant covering 117 laps on his final day of running. Bottas, Magnussen and Stroll also completed over 90 laps, with Ricciardo and Sainz both getting over 80 unde their belts. Norris had the fewest laps of the second session, with 54.

2024 Formula 1 pre-season Bahrain test – Day two complete times:

Pos.Car numberDriverTeamModelBest timeGapLaps
155Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariSF-241’29.92184
211Sergio PerezRed BullRB201’30.6790.758129
344Lewis HamiltonMercedesW151’31.0661.145123
44Lando NorrisMcLarenMCL381’31.2561.33552
53Daniel RicciardoRBRB011’31.3611.44088
616Charles LeclercFerrariSF-241’31.7501.82954
718Lance StrollAston MartinAMR241’32.0292.10896
831Esteban OconAlpineA5241’32.0612.14078
977Valtteri BottasSauberC441’32.2272.30697
1081Oscar PiastriMcLarenMCL381’32.3282.40735
112Logan SargeantWilliamsFW461’32.5782.657117
1214Fernando AlonsoAston MartinAMR241’33.0533.13231
1324Zhou GuanyuSauberC441’33.7153.79438
1410Pierre GaslyAlpineA5241’33.8043.88333
1520Kevin MagnussenHaasVF-241’36.6116.69093
1627Nico HulkenbergHaasVF-241’37.5097.58831
1722Yuki TsunodaRBRB011’38.0748.15340

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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19 comments on “Sainz uses softer tyres to lead Perez by 0.7 seconds on day two of test”

  1. Ugh, it’s like 2004 all over again. Might as well give Ferrari the championship already

    1. Yeah and Sainz is nearly 2 seconds faster than Leclerc! Looks like Ferrari sacked the wrong driver.

    2. Rumour has it every other team saw Ferrari’s lap times, gave up on this year’s car and are focusing on 2032 instead!

      1. We’ll all be in flying cars by then.

        1. Perhaps sooner, if we get a good launch off one of those drain covers.

        2. @bullfrog
          Mark Webber was one of the first pioneers of the flying car may years ago, he experimented with Merc in 1999 Le Mans and then in F1 at the 2010 European GP, but the concept never really took off, great in a straight line but not much turn in.

          1. Well, it gives the stewards something to do, awarding style points for the triple toe loop

  2. No worry, merc are sand bagging.

    1. and Lewis is already mentally clearing out space in his garage for a couple more Italian supercars

  3. Any chance that you can include the tyre compounds in these tables?

    I realise there’s an article above but it doesn’t mention the compound used by every driver.

    Without that information it’s very difficult to get any meaningful perspective on the times.

    1. Saint c2, the rest c3

      1. On a different site, it said that Sainz and Hamilton were on softs, everyone else on mediums.

    2. agreed. It’s one of the most important bits of info!

    3. It’s like the edit button, we’ve been asking for years, they probably don’t agree with adding the compounds info.

  4. I think we can already say Perez is going to be 3rd or 4th on the championship while Verstappen wins again.

  5. Honestly, it looks the state of play is exactly the same as last year, except RB have vaulted up the midfield and seems like Williams will be struggling early on to understand and develop their new chassis.

  6. While Ferrari seem top be very competitive over one lap (again) they are lacking pace over a full stint.
    Sainz was never faster than mid to low 1.35s in his race simulation while Perez was able to lap in the 1.34s during his long run.
    Their programs weren’t entirely comparable, but it’s impossible that Perez could have started his stint with a lot less fuel than Sainz.

  7. It’s looking like we could have a 9 way battle for 2nd this year, which will be exciting. If RB and McLaren are close I bet Daniel will be keen to beat Lando at any given opportunity.

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