Ferrari on top in Sakhir

Sakhir, 22 February – The spotlight fell on Ferrari on the day that has just come to a close at the Sakhir circuit in Bahrain. Its two drivers topped the time sheet both in the morning and afternoon sessions, firstly with Charles Leclerc who posted a 1:31.750 and then with Carlos who got down to a 1:29.921 in the afternoon, only two tenths slower than the pole position time for the 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix. The Spaniard was the only driver to get under the 90 second mark, over seven tenths quicker than the next driver, Sergio Perez with a 1:30.679 and over a second faster than third placed Lewis Hamilton (1:31.066).

However, it’s worth noting that, apart from the usual unknowns about fuel loads on fastest laps, Sainz set his time on a set of C4 tyres, while Perez and Hamilton were on the C3: the time difference over a lap between these two compounds is reckoned to be around six tenths.

Today, all five compounds were used by the 17 drivers on track, but as was the case yesterday, the C3 was the most popular choice. Of the 1219 laps completed, 70% (862) of them were driven on this tyre that will be the Soft for next week’s Bahrain Grand Prix. Today, several teams carried out complete race distance simulations using the three compounds that will be available to them for the opening round of the season next weekend. That meant higher mileages, especially for the C1 (232 laps, 19%), so that a picture is beginning to emerge of what the choices might be for next week. In total, the drivers completed 6,579 kilometres today.

“From an analysis of the data so far, there have been no particular surprises in terms of the loads exerted on the tyres,” commented Mario Isola, Pirelli Motorsport Director. “This morning, the wind caused a few problems for the drivers, but in the afternoon, its strength diminished, so that the working conditions were more stable for everyone and the cars were better balanced. There were a lot of long runs, but we also saw some teams beginning to look for outright performance, trying to find the limits of their cars.”