Ferrari fastest in Sakhir test

Sakhir, 23 February – Ferrari topped the testing time sheet on two days out of the three. Yesterday, Carlos Sainz was the quickest man on track, while today it fell to Charles Leclerc to go to the top of the classification. Behind the wheel for the second part of the day, the Monegasque stopped the clocks in 1:30.322 on a set of new C4s. And it’s a Ferrari driver who was quickest overall at this test, with Carlos Sainz heading the field with the 1:29.921 he set yesterday.

However, in the closing stages today, George Russell in the Mercedes got pretty close to Leclerc’s time, claiming second place just 46 thousandths slower. The Englishman was running the same tyre compound and made the most of the faster track as the surface temperature dropped. A last minute surprise came in the form of Zhou Guanyu who was third quickest in the Stake F1 in 1:30.647 on the C4. Three-time world champion Max Verstappen was fourth (1:30.755, C3) with Yuki Tsunoda (Racing Bulls) fifth in 1:30.775 (C4).

As always, one cannot read too much into testing times as there are many unknown factors which have a significant impact on performance, starting with what fuel loads were used when the quick times were set, as well as the fact the teams are not all working to the same programme. 

19 drivers were out on track today, with only Sargeant (Williams) spectating. The morning session was stopped for around 80 minutes after a drain cover came adrift when Sergio Perez drove over it in the Red Bull. As a result, the lunch break was cancelled and from then on the session ran all the way to 19h00 with no interruptions.

The teams were able to do several long runs, providing them with a lot of data to analyse over the next few days, not just in preparation for next week’s Grand Prix, but also to guide car development over the coming season. As for Pirelli, the information gathered from the test is very important, especially to confirm if the aerodynamic load simulations provided by the teams over the winter break have been correlated in reality on track.

I’d say that on this front there have been no major surprises,” underlined Mario Isola, Director of Pirelli Motorsport.Once again today, we saw the teams working hard on adapting the new cars to the tyres, especially when it comes to reducing overheating as much as possible, a phenomenon that progressively came to light last year and on which we are focusing our attention, looking ahead to 2025”.

Again today, there were a lot of laps completed – 1232 in total, equivalent to 6,667.584 kilometres. The C3 was again out in front as the most popular compound (744 laps), followed by the C1 (312) and the C2 (115). The C4 was used twice as much as yesterday with 55 laps, which shows how several drivers were looking for outright performance, even if that particular compound is not being used here for the race weekend. Over the whole three days, the total distance covered was 19,954.044 kilometres.