Pérez stays quickest on second test day
28 February 2014 – Sergio Pérez kept Force India at the top of the timesheets on the second day of the final pre-season test at the Bahrain International Circuit. The Mexican clocked a best effort of 1:35.570, just under three tenths shy of the benchmark he set 24 hours ago, to lead Ferrari's Fernando Alonso by six hundredths of a second.
As had been the case on Thursday, the majority of teams delivered their fastest times in the morning session, before returning from the 30-minute lunch break with the intention of carrying out race simulations.
Pérez continued from where he left off in the VJM07 yesterday afternoon, posting his quickest flying lap around three hours in before going on to rack up more than 100 laps, taking his total for the gathering over 200.
Alonso was a close second in the Ferrari, making a late morning improvement to end the day just 0.064 seconds adrift of Pérez. Unlike team-mate Kimi Räikkönen's opening day, the Spaniard experienced little drama behind the wheel of the F14 T, supported by the fact that he completed the most mileage of all 11 drivers in action.
Daniel Ricciardo and Red Bull enjoyed a more constructive day, even if the RB10 was restricted to just one longer run of 19 laps in the closing stages. The Australian posted the team's fastest time of the six days in Bahrain by a sizeable margin and took the chequered flag with more than a Grand Prix distance to his name.
Felipe Massa made a couple of late improvements in the Williams to end the day fourth fastest, placing just ahead of McLaren's Jenson Button, who suffered lengthy garage delays after stopping in the morning.
Jules Bianchi arguably experienced Marussia's most successful day of the pre-season testing period so far, putting 67 laps on the MR03 compared to the worrying eight that he managed over two troublesome days last week. This followed on from team-mate Max Chilton's encouraging opening day behind the wheel.
Mercedes's Lewis Hamilton, who focused on longer runs from the offset, wound up seventh after encountering further problems with the W05. Having taken a trip through the gravel and signalled the first red flag period of the day, the former World Champion lost the final hour of track time due to a suspected gearbox issue.
Toro Rosso's Jean-Éric Vergne and Sauber's Esteban Gutiérrez were the last drivers to break into the 1m39s bracket over the eight hours of running, while Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado and Caterham rookie Marcus Ericsson, who both caused stoppages when their cars hit further trouble, brought up the rear.
Pre-season testing in Bahrain is scheduled to continue at 9am local time (GMT +3) on Saturday