F1 Bahrain Testing 2024: Leclerc leads shortened AM session from Piastri and Sargeant due to loose drain cover

Photo credits: Scuderia Ferrari
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It’s time for the second day of testing of 2024. Will Max Verstappen shine again like he did yesterday, with the fastest lap time and over 140 laps without any kind of issue, and will Williams be able to recover from their previous technical issues and sufferings?

In the morning session the following drivers will be on track: Perez, Hamilton, Piastri, Gasly, Sargeant, Alonso, Leclerc, Tsunoda, Zhou, and Hulkenberg. It’ll be the seven times World Champion’s first official session with Mercedes as a future Ferrari driver.

A safety car test run will take place after the four hours of allowed track time.

The session started out with a small issue for Perez’s RB20, as his front-right brake briefly caught on fire, but it was quickly solved in the pits shortly after. After a first set of laps in the first ten minutes, Sargeant leads with a 1:33.561s.

Charles Leclerc is the first driver to complete a lap in the 1:31s in the first half hour session. His 1:31.822s is the second fastest time signed this year.

Photo credits: Scuderia Ferrari

At the first hour mark, Leclerc and Sargeant have been joined on the provisional podium by Oscar Piastri, who has slotted in P2 with a gap of half a second to the Monegasque in the lead. The McLaren driver has started his session a bit later than the others due to setup trimming.

It was a quiet beginning apart from Red Bull’s troubles, with every other driver focusing on completing their simulations, with Ferrari and Leclerc testing their qualifying pace whereas Hamilton busied himself with longer race runs. Aston Martin with Alonso is also sporting a new rear wing for this session.

At the halfway point of the morning, the top three remains the same, with Perez jumping up to P4 but able to complete only 19 laps.

Williams’s troubles appear to have stricken again, as Sargeant is forced to pit and has been shown without his fireproofs on, a sign that he won’t be allowed to return on track shortly.

The first red flag of the day is issued ten minutes in the third hour, in order to remove debris from the track. Moments earlier, Leclerc has shaved off a couple tenths from his lap, signing a very impressive 1:38.750s.

During the break, track marshals also took the time to fix a loose drain cover which had been moved and hit by Leclerc and Hamilton at Turn 11.

The floor of the SF-24 was damaged in the collision, with the Italian team taking advantage of the long pause to switch it out with the objective of allowing Leclerc to return on track.

Ultimately however the session was never resumed, as the procedures to fix the track will need another hour. The afternoon session has been moved up and extended in order to make up for the track time lost this morning, starting at 14 local time.

Provisional standings and laps completed:

  1. Charles Leclerc 1:31.750s 36 laps
  2. Oscar Piastri +0.578s 35 laps
  3. Logan Sargeant +0.828s 30 laps
  4. Sergio Perez +1.129s 20 laps
  5. Fernando Alonso +1.303s 31 laps
  6. Lewis Hamilton +1.475s 39 laps
  7. Zhou Guanyu +1.965s 38 laps
  8. Pierre Gasly +2.054s 33 laps
  9. Nico Hulkenberg +5.759s 31 laps
  10. Yuki Tsunoda +6.324s 40 laps