Ferrari Hits Another Drain Snafu, Tops Time Sheets in F1 Pre-Season Test Day 2

There’s a lot going on in Formula 1 right now, and the 24-race calendar hasn’t even kicked off yet.

byJerry Perez|
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The inaugural day of Formula 1 pre-season testing turned up what most of us already knew: Red Bull Racing is still the team to beat and will very likely get back to winning once the season gets underway. Max Verstappen drove the equivalent of two races around the Bahrain International Circuit on Wednesday, lapping more than a second faster than the rest. Thursday offered a little more variety, with Ferrari and Mercedes logging plenty of laps and a quicker pace than the day before.

But first, a bit of deja vu.

Ferrari Meets a Drain Cover Again


It wasn't long ago that a Vegas manhole cover wreaked havoc on the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz, and now it was Charles Leclerc's turn to endure a similar freak accident. A drain cover that came loose damaged Leclerc's floor, bringing the session to a premature end for a track inspection. Ferrari ultimately had to replace the entire floor of its SF-24 and run a shortened development program for the remainder of the day.

Hamilton Is Back


Also, it was Lewis Hamilton's turn to sample the W15 for the first time after sitting out Wednesday and listening to what his teammate George Russell had to say. The seven-time champ spent most of his day doing procedural runs, though he was able to set some faster lap times toward the end of the test. He drove 123 laps with a best time of 1:31.066—still 1.1 seconds off the fastest time set by the Ferrari, though that's hardly anything to go by at this point.

“It was a productive day out there,” Hamilton told “We gathered lots of learnings about the W15, both in our long running and single lap work. We’ve clearly made an improvement with this year’s car and it’s much nicer to drive."

Hamilton will get back behind the wheel Friday morning for a quick rundown before passing things over to Russell in the afternoon.

Perez Enters the Chat

Sergio Perez picked up where Max Verstappen left off yesterday, showing prominent pace and clocking 129 laps—six more than Hamilton. The Mexican focused on understanding the new car and also practiced setup readings ahead of next week's race.


“Generally speaking, it’s definitely a step forward in the right direction with the car,” Perez told “It’s obviously a very tricky track, with the morning to the afternoon, dialing in some set-up, and getting to understand some set-up compound. It’s very tricky because the track is changing pretty much every outing, so you have to base everything pretty much on your feeling.”

Perez's best lap of 1:30.679 was considerably faster than Verstappen's the day before, though he was still eclipsed by Sainz, who managed to dip into the 29s with a lap time of 1:29.921.

It'll be interesting to see how the lap times tumble once again as the teams head into the third day of testing. With limited running time ahead of this season's maiden race, it's still too early to tell who is better suited to fight the Red Bulls once the green flag flies.

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