February 28, 2014 (F1plus) – It happened again. Mexican driver Sergio Pérez in a Force India car, powered by the almighty Mercedes engine, clocked the best time for second straight days at Bahrain.
Perez had an overall very good two days on board of his now promising VJM-07; not only in performance, but in reliability since the lap tally was 203 laps, 108 of them done today.
The Mexican registered a time of 1:35.570 good to beat –although narrowly- Fernando Alonso in his Ferrari F14-T who was just less than a tenth slower (0.064s), while doing a massive 122 laps in the process.
"It feels very good to have another full day and to do so many laps. It’s my last time in the car until we arrive in Melbourne and I’m feeling positive about how things are going.” A confident Perez said afterwards.
Ferrari seems to be right there in battle with Mercedes. The Spaniard morning was more about set-up and aerodynamic testing while the afternoon was dominated by long runs.
“Six hundred kilometers are always welcome, but it’s still too early to say we are a hundred percent ready for Melbourne,” Said the Spaniard.
The other relevant highlight of the day came from Red Bull, who managed to get a decent amount of laps, which is in an achievement in itself after so much struggle, but the real concern –for the other teams that is- was the Ricciardo was able to mark third best time.
The Australian put the RB10 just within two tenths from the Mexican best time. A performance display that says a lot about Red Bull’s aerodynamic prowess. It was by far the best day so far for the team in the entire pre-season testing.
“It went a lot better today,” said Ricciardo.
“A big improvement everywhere over yesterday and a much more optimistic outlook now.” He added.
Today the team added 66 more laps to their testing total number and considering the catch-up in which they are submerged in, it was definitely good day.
Williams keeps bringing steady performances with no big issues as Massa once again past the 100 lap mark (103) and registered fourth best time of the day, still a second behind from Perez.
Both Button and Hamilton with McLaren and Mercedes respectively, had a more challenging day with both loosing time with small problems that limited lap run (specially with Button) and somewhat performance.
The McLaren man was able to finish 5th, while the Mercedes driver 7th.
Pastor Maldonado and Lotus hurdles are not passed them as the Venezuelan had to stop his session with a small fire in the back.
The Venezuelan only accumulated 147 in those two days, and he won’t be on board of the E22 until Australia. Probably not good, since he was 6 seconds behind pace.
Marussia had an overall good day coming from Jules Bianchi who got sixth best time and racked 75 laps.
Contrastingly, Marcus Ericsson of Caterham had to stop his car, also with smoke coming out of it and was only able to run for 55 laps. The dangerous part come from being almost 7 seconds behind the time sheet leaders.
Provisional Friday test times from Bahrain
1. Sergio Perez, Force India, 1m 35.570s, 108 laps
2. Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 1m 35.634s, 122 laps
3. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 1m 35.743s, 66 laps
4. Felipe Massa, Williams, 1m 36.507s, 103 laps
5. Jenson Button, McLaren, 1m 36.901s, 52 laps
6. Jules Bianchi, Marussia, 1m 38.092s, 75 laps
7. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1m39.041s, 89 laps
8. Jean-Eric Vergne, Toro Rosso, 1m 39.636s, 61 laps
9. Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber, 1m 39.976s, 106 laps
10. Pastor Maldonado, Lotus, 1m 41.613s, 31 laps
11. Marcus Ericsson, Caterham, 1m 42.516s, 55 laps