• Second Bahrain Test - Day Two

Perez fastest as Red Bull shows improvement

ESPN Staff
February 28, 2014 « Double points for Abu Dhabi only | Hamilton: Gap not as big as people think »
Friday marked Red Bull's most encouraging day so far © Sutton Images

Force India's Sergio Perez set the fastest time for the second consecutive day at this week's Bahrain test, while Red Bull showed the first signs of a recovery from their disappointing pre-season so far.

It was another promising day for Force India, with a total of 108 laps on Perez's last day in the car and a time that was fastest by 0.064s from Fernando Alonso's Ferrari. But it was Red Bull's inclusion in the top three that was of most interest, after Daniel Ricciardo was let loose on his final afternoon in the car and set a 1:35.743, 0.173s off Perez.

Fuel loads are unknown, but it is the first time Red Bull has shown itself to be up among the fastest Mercedes- and Ferrari-powered cars. It was another sluggish start to the day for the world champions, but by the chequered flag Ricciardo had completed 66 laps and appeared to be running reliably in the final couple of hours. Sebastian Vettel will take over for the remaining two days of the test, which should help to either confirm or deny the apparent progress made on Friday.

McLaren had a more difficult day after missing out on roughly four hours of running due to a problem in the morning. After 20 laps Jenson Button's car came to a halt on the straight between Turns 10 and 11 and did not emerge again until the final hour of the test. Lewis Hamilton also had some problems with his Mercedes, after the team had to call its day short for the second day in a row. He had a brief break in his programme in the morning when he stopped on track and then ended the day early with a gearbox problem. The quickest he could manage was a 1:39.041, leaving him seventh.

Pastor Maldonado also had his running curtailed for the second day in a running after his Lotus stopped on track with a small lick of flame from the rear. Roughly an hour later the team tweeted "Sufficient char-grilling to render us out for the rest of today" and his day was over. Maldonado's next chance to drive the Lotus will come in Australia at the first race but he has only completed 147 laps during testing.

Caterham was another team to end its day in smoke as Marcus Ericsson came to a halt on the exit of Turn Four. He completed 55 laps over the course of the day but was still 6.946s off the front running pace and at the bottom of the timesheets. Rivals Marussia, meanwhile, had a better day with 73 laps for Jules Bianchi and the sixth fastest time.

Williams and Sauber were another two teams that continued to make steady as both completed over 100 laps by the end of the day.

Day Two final times:

1. Sergio Perez         Force India    1:35.570     108 laps
2. Fernando Alonso      Ferrari        1:35.634     122 laps
3. Daniel Ricciardo     Red Bull       1:35.743      66 laps
4. Felipe Massa         Williams       1:36.507     103 laps
5. Jenson Button        McLaren        1:36.901      52 laps
6. Jules Bianchi        Marussia       1:38.092      75 laps
7. Lewis Hamilton       Mercedes       1:39.041      89 laps
8. Jean-Eric Vergne     Toro Rosso     1:39.636      61 laps
9. Esteban Gutierrez    Sauber         1:39.976     106 laps
10. Pastor Maldonado    Lotus          1:41.613      31 laps
11. Marcus Ericsson     Caterham       1:42.516      55 laps   

Marcus Ericsson's overheating car needed attention from track marshalls © Sutton Images
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