Charles Leclerc set the fastest time on the second day of pre-season testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, while Red Bull suffered its first mechanical problems.
Following on from a strong start for Ferrari on Wednesday, Leclerc took over from teammate Carlos Sainz for the second afternoon and continued another encouraging day for the Scuderia. A lap of 1m19.689s on the C3 compound tire put Leclerc on top with a little over an hour remaining. Lando Norris’s lap from yesterday still stands as the quickest of the week, but the McLaren driver’s effort was delivered on the softer C4s.
Pierre Gasly got his first running of the test on Thursday and was extremely productive, completing nearly 150 laps and being the only other driver to break the 1m20s barrier with a best time of 1m19.918s.
While the AlphaTauri looked good, it was the McLaren that appeared to be particularly planted during its running on day two as a number of teams struggled with porpoising. The aerodynamic phenomenon is caused by the downforce levels sucking the floor so close to the track that the floor stops working, causing the car to pop back up. The downforce then returns as the car rises and it drops again, creating a cycle akin to bouncing.
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McLaren had been fastest on Wednesday with Norris and had another encouraging day with Daniel Ricciardo, who was top at lunchtime but ended up third on a 1m20.288s after 126 laps.
George Russell was fourth on a disjointed day for Mercedes, as Lewis Hamilton ended up slowest after managing just 40 laps in the morning session. Russell added 64 to that tally and edged out Sainz by 0.009s, but Ferrari will be the happier team as it registered both the quickest time and highest lap count.
Sebastian Vettel was sixth for Aston Martin – a little over a second off Leclerc – but it was Sergio Perez in seventh who caused the first red flag of testing and had a frustrating day. The Red Bull driver stopped at Turn 13 due to a gearbox issue in the hour before lunch and didn’t return for four hours.
Perez did at least recover to complete 77 laps, but that total was matched by Leclerc despite the pace-setter only starting his running at lunchtime.
Nikita Mazepin promoted himself to eighth place with his final lap to at least end on a positive note after a day when the main Haas focus surrounded its Uralkali sponsorship and livery amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Mazepin was within 0.1s of Perez, and just edged out Alex Albon as Williams showed a step forward in terms of pace compared to the opening day
Behind Albon, Guanyu Zhou pipped Nicholas Latifi to round out the top 10, making his debut for Alfa Romeo. The Chinese rookie’s new team had struggled in the first day and a half – Valtteri Bottas managing just 21 laps in the morning – but Zhou completed 71 laps and had a trouble-free run.
Aside from Gasly and Ricciardo, the only other driver to exceed 100 laps alone was Esteban Ocon, although the Alpine was another car notably struggling with porpoising along the pit straight.