Max sets second fastest time in final Bahrain test: 'Positive'
Published on 24 February 2023 by Kees-Jan Koster
Oracle Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen sets the second fastest time during the afternoon of the second day of testing in Bahrain. The Dutchman stayed in the pit box for a while and drove 47 laps. The Chinese driver Zhou Guanyu was four hundredths of a second faster than Verstappen, but set his time on tyres two compounds softer.
“Testing was very good. Especially on Thursday we did a lot of laps and we could try a lot of things”, says Max to Verstappen.com. “Today we focussed a bit more on little details, and little steps. The car is responding really well to everything we did. We learned again a lot for next weekend, but for future races as well. I am very pleased.”
Max continues: “It is amazing to see how the car came along so quickly. As soon as we put it on the track it was running smooth. Big credit goes to everyone back at the factory of Oracle Red Bull Racing, working throughout the winter, all the way from last year.”
“Every time I jumped into the car, it felt comfortable, and immediately we could push. That is also very important in testing. So far for me we had a very positive test. We have to wait and see how quick we are going to be next week, but I am positive”, concludes Max.
In the afternoon Max immediately comes out on track and on his first timed lap goes faster than on Thursday. The RB19 is equipped with flow-viz, while Verstappen continues to go faster and keeps improving his time. After nine laps he is six tenths quicker than Carlos Sainz in the morning. That margin is extended with another two tenths not much later (1:31.650) on a new set of C3-tyres.
During the afternoon it is mainly long runs that are done, as the temperature is not right to improve lap times. When the sun gets less bright, it is Nico Hulkenberg who makes the first big step forwards. He goes to P2 (1:32.466) on C4-tyres. Max is doing an aerodynamical test, with flow-viz on the sidepods of his RB19.
With more than half an hour to go, the Mercedes W14 of George Russell comes to a halt with a hydraulic fault and the test is red flagged. After 26 laps it is finished for the Brit. Twenty minutes later the track is cleared and Max comes out back on track after being in the garage for quite a while as the engineers were working on his Red Bull. The two-time world champion is not improving his lap times as he is doing a long run. Fernando Alonso improves his time and sets his Aston Martin on C3-tyres in P2. Not much later goes Nyck de Vries even faster on red C4-tyres. Alonso can improve his time on C3-tyres and is seventeen thousandths quicker than De Vries.
In the final half hour sets Zhou Guanyu on the softest compound (C5) the fastest time. The Chinese driver of Alfa Romeo is four hundredths (1:31.610) faster than Verstappen, who set his time earlier that afternoon on C3-tyres. Verstappen continues to set consistent lap times in his long run and finishes the day with 47 laps. On Saturday his teammate Sergio Perez will be behind the wheel of the RB19 for the whole day, so Max will not driver again before practice for the Grand Prix in Sakhir will start on Friday.