Carlos Sainz tops day two of F1 pre-season testing after loose drain cover causes delay

Carlos Sainz tops day two of F1 pre-season testing after loose drain cover causes delay

Carlos Sainz topped the times for Ferrari on the second day of testing in Bahrain on Thursday after the morning session was brought to a premature close after a drain cover came loose.

A day after Max Verstappen dominated testing, Sergio Perez could not follow suit, instead finishing the day in second with Lewis Hamilton in third as the pair completed 129 and 123 laps respectively.

The afternoon/evening session was largely without drama but the morning’s running was scrapped with more than an hour remaining after a drain cover came loose on the edge of the track.

In echoes of last season’s Las Vegas Grand Prix, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc loosened the drain cover while Hamilton also drove over it, leaving debris scattered over the track.

The session was immediately red flagged in order to carry out repairs. But it was then cancelled when it became clear it was not a quick fix. Instead, the afternoon session started an hour early at 2pm local time (11am GMT).

Leclerc had been the quickest of the drivers on the track during the opening session of the second of three days of F1 winter testing prior to the issue at Turn 11.

It is difficult to read too much into timings but Hamilton proved sixth fastest of the morning runners after his 39 laps before climbing well up the order.

Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate George Russell sounded a confident not for an improved season for the team after a successful opening day.

The Briton said: "It does feel step in the right direction but there is no hiding the fact that our competitors have done a really great job. We knew we had a mountain to climb with the performance Red Bull showed last year.

"The car is feeling nice to drive. Red Bull seem to have done a really great job. They are favourite sand definitely a step ahead of everyone else here in Bahrain.”