Australian Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) set the fastest time on Saturday on the second test day for the new Formula 1 season during the morning session at the Sakhir circuit in Bahrain.
Ricciardo clocked a top time of 1: 32.215 after 52 laps. With that, the Australian outperformed Fernando Alonso (Alpine), who was 0.124 slower. The 39-year-old Spaniard suffered a broken upper jaw in a cycling accident in Switzerland last month. Alonso, who left Formula 1 at the end of 2018, had to undergo surgery and was hospitalized for several days. On Saturday he made his official return to F1. Mexican Sergio Perez (Red Bull) completed the podium at 0.263.
For the time being, the test days are anything but satisfactory for Mercedes. World champion Lewis Hamilton ended up in the gravel pit with his car on Saturday. This led to a red flag and a temporary stop of the session, so that Hamilton’s car could be safely towed away. The car was first wrapped in black cloth to prevent other racing stables from seeing what the underside of the Mercedes looks like. The Briton eventually finished eighth (+1.184).
The Dutchman Max Verstappen (Red Bull) set the best time on Friday at the Sakhir circuit after the full first day of testing. Ricciardo was the fastest in the morning session. The F1 test days will last until Sunday, with two sessions per day. Each racing stable may only send one car onto the track per session. The F1 season kicks off on Sunday, March 28 in Bahrain. (belga)