F1: Mercedes struggle on day two of Bahrain pre-season testing

F1: Mercedes struggle on day two of Bahrain pre-season testing

Mercedes had a difficult day of testing on day two of the Bahrain pre-season running on Friday.

Lewis Hamilton complained of struggling with the balance of the W14 in the morning while George Russell caused a red flag in the afternoon when he stopped on track with hydraulic failure.

Russell managed just 26 laps of the Sakhir circuit but downplayed the severity of his issues in contrast to 12 months ago when he and Hamilton were struggling with all manner of issues, most notably porpoising.

The younger of the British duo downplayed the team’s chances of getting off to a winning start in Bahrain next week but was upbeat about the season ahead despite his limited running.

“Balance is probably easier to solve than what we had last year,” he said. “So, even though there’s still a limitation, let’s say it’s a good problem to have.

“It feels a step in the right direction. Compared to 12 months ago, things are running a lot smoother. When we were here last year, there were a lot of alarm bells ringing with porpoising. We weren’t sure how to solve it, we were a bit lost.

“Things have been running much smoother, reliability has been strong so far. For sure, we’ve got things we need to improve with the car.”

Russell mustered the 13th fastest lap of the second day of qualifying while Hamilton was down in 15th of the 17 runners following his 72 laps in the earlier session.

Defending champion Max Verstappen had dominated the opening day and looked set to top the timesheets on day two only to be eclipsed by Zhou Guanyu in the Alfa Romeo.