Pre-season testing 2 – Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari was setting the pace in Bahrain as Formula 1 starts its final week of testing ahead of the 2022 season.
The second week of testing got underway with Pierre Gasly leading the way onto track in the AlphaTauri when the session went green for the morning session. There were a few lock ups, more instances of porpoising, and lots of aero-rigs and flow-vis paint on show but the talk of the morning was the redesign of the Mercedes sidepods.
The W13 arrived with a dramatic new look for its sidepods, where they’ve seemingly decided that sidepods are surplus to requirement and only have the bare minimum next to the cockpit before disappearing almost immediately afterwards.
McLaren were the last car to appear on track, almost 50 minutes after the session went live. Daniel Ricciardo was scheduled to be in the car but as the Australian wasn’t feeling well so instead Lando Norris was first out on track in the MCL36. The British driver didn’t get to spend all that much time on track however as the car spent most of the last couple of hours in the garage while the team investigated an issue.
An hour in and Alex Albon returned his Williams to the garage complaining that he was having to deal with an uncomfortably hot seat which was slightly baking his backside. The Thai driver was back out on track a little later after the team looked into, and hopefully rectified, the problem with Albon’s seat’s heat protection.
After the GDPA organised a No War photoshoot last night, Sebastian Vettel has continued that theme with a special new helmet design. Instead of his usual German flag stripe, the Aston Martin driver has the Ukrainian flag proudly displayed, there’s a dove with an olive branch on one side of the helmet, while the other has the GDPA’s No War logo on the other. There’s a peace symbol on the back, flags of the world encircling the trim, while the lyrics to John Lennon’s Image printed on the top with all instances of “imagine” and “nothing to kill or die for” in bold.
Just over halfway through the session there were some issues for the Alfa Romeo team as Zhou Guanyu stopped for some reason in the pit lane, the Chinese driver got out of the car and it was pushed the rest of the way to the garage. Zhou did get back out later, but the reason for the stoppage wasn’t revealed.
After having their freight arrive 48 hours later than planned after delays with their plane, Haas didn’t go on track in the morning session, instead spent the time preparing their car and getting everything sorted for Kevin Magnussen in his last-minute return to the team. The team did however reveal their updated livery for the season and hope to be on track this afternoon.
Leclerc had Ferrari on the top of the time sheets for the vast majority session and ended with a best of 1:34.531, just over half a second ahead of Albon in the Williams.
Sergio Perez did the most running in the morning, having the RB18 out for 70 laps, while issues for McLaren saw them with the least time on track, with only 21 laps. While Gasly was first on track, he ended the session with the slowest time, a 1:37.888, over three seconds off the Ferrari.