- First Bahrain Test - Day Two
Magnussen fastest as Red Bull shows signs of improvement
Kevin Magnussen comfortably set the fastest time on the second day of testing in Bahrain, while Red Bull recorded their best test session of the year so far.
Overall the day was encouraging for Red Bull as Sebastian Vettel managed to complete 53 laps, more than the team's combined total from the previous five days of pre-season testing. After enduring such a troubled start to this year's pre-season, the Red Bull team are playing catch-up with their traditional rivals and though Vettel finished over five seconds off the pace set by Magnussen, the mileage count will be of far more importance to the world champions at this stage.
Magnussen's blistering lap stole the headlines otherwise, coming on the super-soft tyre in the final hour of the day to finish 1.5 seconds faster than Force India's Nico Hulkenberg, who finished the day with 59 laps to his name. Magnussen had managed only eight laps in the morning session but pushed on after lunch, getting within 2.5 seconds of the pole time set by Nico Rosberg last year.
Rosberg's brought the morning session to a halt after just five minutes due to a faulty sensor on his Mercedes and stopped ahead of lunch to prematurely end a race simulation. The Mercedes spent nearly two hours and 20 minutes in the garage, before heading out again in the afternoon, ending the day with 84 laps. Fernando Alonso set the fastest time in the morning and finished the day third overall, completing 97 laps as he split the Mercedes-powered cars in the top five.
Williams got themselves well and truly back on track as Valtteri Bottas recorded 116 laps, 19 more than Alonso and more than anyone has managed in either day in Bahrain. It is a huge boost to the team after Felipe Massa was limited to just five laps on Wednesday with a fuel system problem. Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez stopped on track midway through the afternoon after completing 55 laps, bringing about the fourth red flag of the day, and failed to re-emerge.
Following a troublesome oil leak on Wednesday, Toro Rosso made an improvement in the morning with 53 laps, but added just five more in the afternoon after Jean-Eric Vergne stopped on track. Fellow Renault-powered team Lotus continued to make baby steps forward as it completed 18 laps with its new car, still over six seconds down on Magnussen.
Another boost for Renault came in the form of Caterham, which completed 66 laps after also surpassing a race distance on Wednesday. Kamui Kobayashi leapfrogged Red Bull to sixth in the final half hour with a time of 1:42.070 on the soft tyre.
Day two times
1. Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:34.910 46 laps 2. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:36.445 59 laps 3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:36.516 97 laps 4. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:36.965 85 laps 5. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:37.328 116 laps 6. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1:39.855 66 laps 7. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:40.340 59 laps 8. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:40.609 58 laps 9. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:40.717 55 laps 10. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:41.670 18 laps 11. Max Chilton Marussia 1:42.511 17 laps