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Formula 1

Zhou Sets Fastest Lap as Mercedes Suffers Breakdown in Second F1 Test Day



Zhou Sets Fastest Lap- hamiton day 2 bahrain

Zhou Guanyu of Alfa Romeo set the pace on the second day of Formula 1’s only pre-season test in Bahrain, surprising many. Meanwhile, George Russell’s Mercedes experienced a breakdown on the track.

In his Sauber-run C43, Zhou Guanyu utilized the softest compound of tyres (C5) to take the lead on the leaderboard during the final hour of the pre-season test in Bahrain. He edged out Max Verstappen, who had set the pace on day one and held the top spot for much of day two, by a narrow margin of just 0.040s.

Max Verstappen set his quickest lap time early on in the second half of the day, using the C3 tyres, and held the top spot on the timesheet until the final hour, when Zhou Guanyu surpassed him. This concluded Verstappen’s running in the 2023 pre-season test, as Sergio Perez was slated to drive the RB19 for the entirety of Saturday’s session.

In the latter stages of the test, Zhou and Alfa Romeo encountered some drama as Zhou’s car came to a stop at the end of the pitlane during the virtual safety car test on track.

Zhou Guanyu had stopped his car and was getting ready to practice a race start but was unable to restart the car, requiring his team’s mechanics to retrieve him. Shortly after, rookie driver Logan Sargeant and Williams appeared to be practicing the evacuation procedure for a car experiencing hybrid failure.

Zhou’s breakdown was not the only stoppage on the second day of testing, as George Russell’s Mercedes suffered from hydraulic failure and came to a stop on the track with an hour and a half remaining in the session. The incident cut short Russell’s day after completing 26 laps and left him in 13th place on the timesheet.

The recovery of George Russell’s car resulted in a 20-minute red flag, which was the only unplanned delay of the second day of pre-season testing in Bahrain.


Fernando Alonso continued his impressive pre-season performance with Aston Martin by posting the third-fastest lap time of the day, using the C3 tyres. His lap was only six tenths of a second slower than Zhou Guanyu’s benchmark.

Fernando Alonso drove for Aston Martin throughout the entirety of Friday’s testing and completed 130 laps. He will share driving duties on Saturday with reserve driver Felipe Drugovich, who may need to fill in for Lance Stroll if Stroll is unable to race next weekend.

Behind Alonso on the timesheet were Nyck de Vries of AlphaTauri in second place using the C5 tyres, Nico Hulkenberg of Haas in third place using the C4 tyres, and Carlos Sainz of Ferrari in fourth place using the C3 tyres. Sainz had been the fastest driver in the first half of the day. Logan Sargeant of Williams finished the day in seventh place with 154 laps completed.

The top 10 was rounded out by Charles Leclerc of Ferrari, Oscar Piastri of McLaren, and Pierre Gasly of the newly rebranded Alpine team.

McLaren’s struggles continued during the pre-season test, with CEO Zak Brown conceding during the lunch break that the team had failed to meet its development targets for the 2023 season.

Here is a table of the top 17 drivers and their lap times from the second day of pre-season testing in Bahrain:

PositionDriverLap TimeTyreLaps
1Zhou (Alfa Romeo)1m31.610sC5133
2Verstappen (Red Bull)1m31.650sC347
3Alonso (Aston Martin)1m32.205sC3130
4De Vries (AlphaTauri)1m32.222sC474
5Hulkenberg (Haas)1m32.466sC568
6Sainz (Ferrari)1m32.486sC370
7Sargeant (Williams)1m32.549sC5154
8Leclerc (Ferrari)1m32.725sC368
9Piastri (McLaren)1m33.175sC374
10Gasly (Alpine)1m33.436sC359
11Magnussen (Haas)1m33.442sC267
12Ocon (Alpine)1m33.490sC349
13Russell (Mercedes)1m33.738sC326
14Perez (Red Bull)1m33.751sTest76
15Hamilton (Mercedes)1m33.954sC372
16Norris (McLaren)1m35.522sC265
17Tsunoda (AlphaTauri)1m37.687sC385

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