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Perez sets second fastest time on the morning of final test day Bahrain

Published on 23 February 2024 by Misha van der Kroon

Sergio Perez set the second fastest time on the morning of the third and final test day in Bahrain. After driving in both sessions yesterday, the Mexican driver again took place in the Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 on the final morning of the three-day test. In the early stages, the session today was interrupted for a long time, just like yesterday. Again, a loose manhole cover caused a red flag. This time it was Perez who drove over the cover when it came loose. Fortunately, the RB20 did not suffer much damage, allowing Perez to complete 53 laps and set the second fastest time with a 1:31.483, two tenths behind Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari.

The third and final day of the 2024 pre-season test days starts at 10am local time, on the 5,412-meter Bahrain International Circuit. In the first half hour, Carlos Sainz dictates the pace by setting a time of 1:31.247 with the medium C3 tyres. The Spaniard however is still far from the 1:29.921 he clocked yesterday, which is the fastest time set so far during these test days. After only twenty minutes the red flag is waved. It seems like an exact repeat of yesterday's morning session, because again there is a loose manhole cover on the track, this time after Sergio Perez drove over it. Once back in the pits, all mechanics of Red Bull, as well as car designer Adrian Newey, immediately get to work checking and repairing the floor of the car.

After a delay of almost an hour and a half, the track is repaired and the green flag is waved again. FIA announces that the session will continue until 7pm local time, with no lunch break. It looks like the RB20 did not suffer much damage, and Perez returns to the track. On the medium C3 tyres he sets a 1:31.483, getting within two tenths of Sainz’s fastest time. Perez drivers a few stints with a low fuel load, but is unable to improve his time.

After a long visit to the pits, Perez heads out again for a run at race speed on the hard C2 compound. Flow-vis is applied on the rear-wing of the RB20 to map the airflows, and with the paint on the car, Perez does another few runs on the medium C3 tyres.

Around 2:30pm local time, almost all cars are back in their garages, with teams adjusting some settings for the driver change. Williams is the only team that will not switch drivers, and have Alexander Albon drive the car all day. Sergio Perez is the last of the drivers to return to the pits for the driver change. After 53 laps in the morning, the Mexican driver hands over the wheel to teammate Max Verstappen, who will drive the remaining hours of the day. At the moment of the driver switch, Sainz is still at the top of the timing sheets, with Perez in P2 and Hamilton in P3. Kevin Magnussen drives the most laps in the morning. The Dane drives more than 80 laps in the Haas, while McLaren has problems with the clutch, meaning Lando Norris only manages to complete 20 laps.