Confusion Reigns As Mercedes Tops Bahrain GP Practice 2
Formula One

Formula One has made its official return for the inaugural race of the 2024 season with the Bahrain Grand Prix, marking the commencement of a 24-race calendar. Despite last week’s testing, the genuine pecking order remained elusive for a variety of reasons. A contributing factor is the strict limitation of engines, teams are limited to three engines per driver throughout the entire season. Consequently, many teams refrain from pushing their engine performance to the limit during testing, Practice 1, and Practice 2 sessions. This cautious approach involves detuning the engines to ensure extended lifespan and durability, preserving optimal performance for the crucial race duration.

So, what we can use as a representative lap time is the qualifying time from 2023, which currently stands at 1:29.708 seconds. We can also use last year’s practice sessions as a rudimentary benchmark, and the times for Practice 1 and 2 are following similar trends to last season. In other words, Red Bull will not reveal their true performance until the qualifying session.

In the Second Practice, Lewis Hamilton claimed the top spot on the timesheets, with his teammate and Fernando Alonso following closely behind. Verstappen found himself in eighth place; while he encountered a few minor issues. Overall, it was a typical second practice session in so far as we did not get a clear indication of true performance.

What’s intriguing is that Hamilton closely matched his qualifying time from 2023, indicating that he likely set his time on low fuel. During practice sessions, engine modes are typically reduced, making it challenging to ascertain the true speed of the Mercedes W15.

Clearly, the Mercedes W15 exhibits a significant amount of pace over last year’s W14, but the question remains: how much more does it possess compared to the Red Bull RB20? We’ll have our answer once qualifying concludes.

2024 Bahrain Grand Prix: Practice 2

1 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes 1:30.374

2 George RUSSELL Mercedes +0.206

3 Fernando ALONSO Aston Martin +0.286

4 Carlos SAINZ Ferrari +0.395

5 Oscar PIASTRI McLaren +0.410

6 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing +0.477

7 Nico HULKENBERG Haas F1 Team +0.510

8 Lance STROLL Aston Martin +0.517

9 Charles LECLERC Ferrari +0.739

10 Sergio PEREZ Red Bull Racing +0.741

11 Alexander ALBON Williams +0.959

12 Daniel RICCIARDO RB +1.142

13 Logan SARGEANT Williams +1.341

14 Kevin MAGNUSSEN Haas F1 Team +1.390

15 Yuki TSUNODA RB +1.507

16 Pierre GASLY Alpine +1.577

17 Valtteri BOTTAS Kick Sauber +1.627

18 Esteban OCON Alpine +1.653

19 Guanyu ZHOU Kick Sauber +1.674

20 Lando NORRIS McLaren +2.234

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