Sainz’s Ferrari heads F1 test despite rivals’ soft-tyre runs

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz ended the penultimate day of Formula 1 pre-season testing for 2022 in Bahrain on top, although his effort was later eclipsed by Kevin Magnussen in the extra hour afforded to Haas at the end of the session.

Sainz took the top spot off midday leader Esteban Ocon (Alpine) with two and a half hours left on the clock, before improving to an eventual 1m33.532s on the red-walled C4 tyre.

Sainz – who engaged in an impromptu ‘mock race’ with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen at Turn 1 later in the day – had also sampled the softest available tyres, the C5s, but didn’t improve his time.

However, it would prove safe out front at the end of the day, with two C4 runs from Verstappen – in both of which he appeared to push quite hard – ultimately coming up 0.479s short of dethroning the Ferrari man.

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Lewis Hamilton likewise looked to be attempting performance runs as his Mercedes team packed its late-day plan with soft-tyre mileage – yet a pair of C5 runs got the seven-time champion no closer than 0.609s off Sainz.

And that was only good enough for fourth-fastest, under a tenth behind Lance Stroll’s best C4 effort – which had kept the Aston Martin driver second for much of the afternoon and ultimately brightened up a day on which the team had suffered a morning stoppage with Sebastian Vettel.

Returning Haas driver Magnussen logged 39 laps in his F1 testing comeback session and initially placed ninth, between morning runner Vettel and Yuki Tsunoda, who did the full day for AlphaTauri.

But in Haas’s additional hour of running on Friday evening, the first step towards repaying the time it missed due to its delay getting its equipment to Bahrain, Magnussen quickly improved to seventh and later went fastest of all.

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Sainz’s Ferrari heads F1 test despite rivals’ soft-tyre runs

His 1m33.207s lap on the softer C4 compound is the best time of the test so far.

Magnussen also added a further 21 laps to the team’s tally, bringing it to 83 for the day.

Williams’s day ended after just 12 laps in the morning after a fire developed at the rear of the FW44, with Nicholas Latifi behind the wheel.

It is the lowest single-day tally for any team so far in Bahrain, albeit Alpine had a 12-lap day due to a fire of its own in the Barcelona test finale, while Haas only ran for nine laps that day.

Morning pacesetter Ocon caused a red flag with a stoppage of his own in the afternoon, and would end the day in fifth, ahead of Charles Leclerc, who handed over the Ferrari F1-75 to Sainz at the midday break.

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McLaren’s Lando Norris, completing a second consecutive full day in the cockpit with team-mate Daniel Ricciardo still unwell, was unable to do much in the way of long-running due to McLaren’s continued brake problems.

He also brought out an afternoon red flag by pulling over at pit exit, with the MCL36 needing to be pushed back down the pitlane – yet was soon back out on track, setting his eventual fastest time on the C3 tyre.

Tsunoda’s 120 laps left AlphaTauri as the most prolific out of F1’s 10 teams in terms of mileage on the day.

Just like the morning session concluded with a practice red flag and a planned standing start trial (that didn’t actually occur), so too was the afternoon session red-flagged with 15 minutes to go for a supposed rolling start simulation that didn’t much resemble the real thing.

1. Magnussen (Haas) 1m33.207s, C4, 60 laps*2. Sainz (Ferrari) 1m33.532s, C4, 60 laps3. Verstappen (Red Bull) 1m34.011s, C4, 86 laps4. Stroll (Aston Martin) 1m34.064s, C4, 70 laps5. Hamilton (Mercedes), 1m34.141s, C5, 47 laps6. Ocon (Alpine) 1m34.276s, C4, 111 laps7. Leclerc (Ferrari) 1m34.366s, C3, 54 laps8. Norris (McLaren) 1m34.609s, C3, 60 laps9. Vettel (Aston Martin) 1m36.020s, C3, 46 laps10. Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) 1m36.802s, C3, 120 laps11. Bottas (Alfa Romeo) 1m36.987s, C2, 25 laps12. Schumacher (Haas) 1m37.846s, C2, 23 laps13. Russell (Mercedes) 1m38.585s, C2, 67 laps14. Latifi (Williams) 1m39.845s, C2, 12 laps15. Zhou (Alfa Romeo) 1m39.984s, C2, 48 laps

*Magnussen’s best time in the regular four-hour session was a 1m36.505s set on C3 tyres