Verstappen quickest from Leclerc by less than a tenth in second practice

2022 Bahrain Grand Prix second practice

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World champion Max Verstappen set the quickest time at the end of Friday practice for the opening race of the 2022 season in Bahrain.

Verstappen pipped Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc by less than a tenth of a second after all drivers set their quickest times of the session on the soft tyres. Carlos Sainz Jnr was third fastest in the second Ferrari, with George Russell fourth for Mercedes.

The second practice session of the weekend was also the only one that will take place under the lights, emulating the conditions that Sunday’s race will take place in. All ten teams therefore focused their early runs on the medium tyres, with Leclerc setting the early pace in the Ferrari, exactly half a second quicker than Verstappen, who was in turn two tenths faster than Sainz in the second Ferrari.

Porpoising was continuing to prove a problem for some of the cars down the long straights. Esteban Ocon complained of being “on the limit of bouncing” in the Alpine, while Lewis Hamilton had similar complaints about the W13.

Eventually, drivers began to venture out on the soft tyres. Ocon went second quickest in the Alpine, before he was replaced in the position by Kevin Magnussen in the Haas. Fernando Alonso just the quickest compound to go fastest overall, but was then comfortably usurped by Leclerc who set a new quickest time of the day with a 1’32.263.

Verstappen’s first effort on the soft tyres saw him light the timing screen purple, becoming the first driver of the weekend to break the 1’32 barrier with a 1’31.936. Mercedes then took to the track, with George Russell going third fastest overall, just under six tenths off Verstappen’s ultimate pace, while Hamilton’s first effort on the softs could only manage ninth, behind Mick Schumacher.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2022
Gallery: 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix practice in pictures
No drivers in the top ten improved their times over the final part of the session, meaning Verstappen finished practice quickest of all, just 0.087s faster than the Ferraris. Russell was fourth in the Mercedes, ahead of team mate Hamilton in ninth.

Fernando Alonso was fifth for Alpine, with Valtteri Bottas making up for lost time in the morning by setting the sixth fastest time in the Alfa Romeo, with 30 laps under his belt. Sergio Perez was seventh quickest in the second Red Bull, ahead of Schumacher, Hamilton and Kevin Magnussen in the second haas.

After returning to the McLaren for his first day behind the wheel since the first pre-season test in Barcelona, Daniel Ricciardo had a frustrating second session after a water leak on his MCL36 ended his session early after only 12 laps.

The stewards are investigating an incident at turn eight, where Charles Leclerc caught Yuki Tsunoda and came very close to running into each other on the exit of the corner. Tsunoda also appeared to clip Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin with his front wing in the closing moments of the session, again at turn eight.

2022 Bahrain Grand Prix second practice result

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
11Max VerstappenRed Bull1’31.93620
216Charles LeclercFerrari1’32.0230.08720
355Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari1’32.5200.58422
463George RussellMercedes1’32.5290.59325
514Fernando AlonsoAlpine-Renault1’32.8770.94124
677Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’32.9511.01530
711Sergio PerezRed Bull1’32.9581.02220
847Mick SchumacherHaas-Ferrari1’33.0851.14924
944Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’33.1441.20823
1020Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’33.1831.24723
114Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1’33.2801.34427
1231Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1’33.3601.42425
1310Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Red Bull1’33.6211.68524
1422Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Red Bull1’33.7891.85326
1524Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’33.9532.01727
1618Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1’33.9582.02225
1727Nico HulkenbergAston Martin-Mercedes1’34.0612.12528
183Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-Mercedes1’34.1662.23012
196Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’34.4862.55028
2023Alexander AlbonWilliams-Mercedes1’34.7352.79922

First practice visual gaps

Max Verstappen – 1’31.936

+0.087 Charles Leclerc – 1’32.023

+0.584 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’32.520

+0.593 George Russell – 1’32.529

+0.941 Fernando Alonso – 1’32.877

+1.015 Valtteri Bottas – 1’32.951

+1.022 Sergio Perez – 1’32.958

+1.149 Mick Schumacher – 1’33.085

+1.208 Lewis Hamilton – 1’33.144

+1.247 Kevin Magnussen – 1’33.183

+1.344 Lando Norris – 1’33.280

+1.424 Esteban Ocon – 1’33.360

+1.685 Pierre Gasly – 1’33.621

+1.853 Yuki Tsunoda – 1’33.789

+2.017 Zhou Guanyu – 1’33.953

+2.022 Lance Stroll – 1’33.958

+2.125 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’34.061

+2.230 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’34.166

+2.550 Nicholas Latifi – 1’34.486

+2.799 Alexander Albon – 1’34.735

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

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2022 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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75 comments on “Verstappen quickest from Leclerc by less than a tenth in second practice”

  1. Those RB long runs. Woof.

    1. Incredible pace. The fact that Verstappen was 0.7 faster in sector 1 alone tells me everything I need to know about the pace in that car. Hopefully it’ll be closer at other circuits because this could be a bigger margin than 2014 for RedBull. Good to see Russell performing well.

      1. The 0.7s difference in sector 1 alone should indicate that teams are running with different fuel loads, not that RB is 2s faster per lap

    2. Those low to mid 1:37s looked indeed very good from Verstappen.
      Just a shame we didn’t see a comparable long run from Ferrari. Sainz’s run on the Softs didn’t seem representative, as he was losing 0.6 to Max in S1 alone and lapping about the same pace as Magnussen and Bottas. That can’t be real.
      We will have to wait until tomorrow, to see who’s really ahead.

  2. Interesting stuff. Ferrari clearly strongest at the season start (also ref Alfa and Haas). RedBull again underwhelming looking at Perez. Nice to see George doing so well.

    1. Time to begin the 2022 edition of Checo watch. :P

    2. RB looked to be the fastest car by some margin.

      Perez didnt use the full potential, obviously. Maybe he is already in a wingman-testing mode, would fit the thinking of RB.

      1. I hope you are right. I fear RB is just made look good by Max again. Will need to see a Hamilton Bottas situation before I believe they have actually built a strong car

    3. Checo’s job is to hold up Hamilton. But maybe this year Perez can wave when he laps LH ;-)

      1. Seems like his focus will need to shift to the Ferrari’s this year, but too early to make a good assessment

  3. Unideal for Ricciardo. What’s worse is FP2 is the only directly useful session for QLF & race.

    1. Enige failure i hear it’s going to replaced!

      1. @macleod Water leak to my knowledge, although could equally force an engine change.

  4. The end of Lewis as he was behind a Haas? :) probaly not it’s clear the top 3 are very close.

    1. I think we’ve seen this before from him, he likes to build up the weekend and will become stronger. Also his season starts are usually not as strong as his mid-season til the end stretch

  5. I enjoy Russell showing how overrated Hamilton is.
    I Norris indicating the same about Ricciardo?

    1. Calm down there pony. Hamilton had brake issues and it’s only practice 2. Hamilton was often behind Bottas in practice. Let’s wait til mid season to judge things between team mates.

      1. Mid season? 1 race should be enough to see if he has more pace than bottas relative to hamilton.

    2. Lewis is many things, sometimes a ‘cowboy-army-ninja-astronaut’ if his clothes are anything to go by.

      And saying this as someone who isn’t a big Lewis fan. He’s certainly not underrated. He’s actually very good at this, and belongs amongst the greatest. Max taking it to him, I think only does Max favours, they were both incredible last season. If George can push Lewis also, then that’d be amazing.

      Charles, Lando, Max, George, Carlos etc are obviously the future. But in ten years time, I imagine all of them will be please they raced Lewis. It’s nice to have that crossover of generations, when the older one is still competitive, which Lewis is.

      It works both ways, and benefits both.

      1. Finally a balanced comment, I admire Lewis plenty but would prefer Norris or Russell to finish ahead just because changing of the guard is good, Hamilton is certainly not past it in any shape or form, any difficulties the Mercedes has now will be ironed out and he’ll still be winning races and racing well.

      2. Agreed, expected this from Vettel as well but he seems to have been benefitting from a dominant RB. Have unfortunately seen little of him since he left RB.

    3. Did anyone else notice that Lewis wasn’t using DRS today? Russell might still be faster, but that was odd.

  6. These cars look so slow on long runs.

    On low fuel they aren’t that bad but on race runs they just look horrid. Real slow, cumbersome, heavy & just not like F1 cars at all. And it’s even worse in slow corners where they look like trucks.

    The F2/F3 cars look faster, more nimble & to an extent more alive & exciting which really shouldn’t be the case.

    F1 cars as the pinnacle of the sport, The fastest single seaters around should look fast, nimble, dynamic & alive & sadly they just don’t. They have lost that which is a tragic shame as that was a decent chunk of what helped F1 stand out above everything else.

    It’s a shame as the actual look of the cars isn’t bad & they thankfully don’t look as similar as I feared they would with how restrictive the regulations are. But when driving around the circuit they just don’t look like F1 cars anymore because of how slow & cumbersome they are again especially in slower speed corners and when on race runs. They just look horrifically bad in that scenario.

    1. They accommodate new technologies which make them really heavy and then they have to produce even more power to accommodate. But they never get the nimbleness back. If the new technology requires more energy to achieve the same level of propulsion, but at the expense of everything else, what is the point of that new technology?

      1. Slow? These cars on long runs are still considerably faster than f2 and not that different from last year.

  7. Williams seem to really be on the back foot. I thought they might have come out with a decent car this time around – let’s hope they have not taken a step back.

    1. Merc customers crowding out the Q1 elimination zone would certainly be something new.

      1. Certainly, that is something that stood out from the time sheet for me as well. I imagine there is a bit of sandbagging from the power unit engineers, it can’t possibly be that the top power unit is suddenly the bottom… or could it?

        1. People have been overrating Mercedes’ PU (and underrating their chassis) for at least five years. Further, Mercedes did express concern about the move to E10 fuel and the negative impact that was going to have on their internal combustion engine. I wouldn’t be surprised if the both Ferrari and Red Bull PUs are superior to Mercedes now.

    2. Impossible to tell if they were going for times on soft tyres at the end like other teams, or are they suffering from tortoising?

  8. Looks pretty close between the top 3 teams. Can’t wait to find out their real pace tomorow.

  9. Looking at the way merc are bouncing they are definitely out of the running this year. Bring on ferrari vs redbull like the early 2010s.

    1. @f1fan-2000 The season is long, so starting on the back foot doesn’t mean they couldn’t win the championships.
      See RBR in 2012, for example.

  10. It’s the expected nail biting fight at the top between Max and Charles. Ironically both Carlos and Checo had a horrible FP2, lapping considerably slower than their team mates, already from the beginning of the session. I hope they were just using a less powerful engine mode and bounce back tomorrow.
    Once again the RB topped the speed trap charts, always a couple of kph quicker than the Ferrari. Either the Ferrari was holding something back or the Honda is just a little bit better. Considering the Alpha Tauri was struggling in FP2 and lapping slower than Haas and Alfa Romeo, I don’t think their PU is any better than the Ferrari.
    The Mercedes powered cars on the other hand (except Russell, who put in a great lap), were struggling in terms of laptime and straightline speed. It’s very odd seeing the five slowest cars being powered by a Mercedes PU. They were either advised to turn the power down a lot more than others or Mercedes have screwed up the adaptation to E10 fuel. There was some paddock gossip in Barcelona that Mercedes haven’t fully recovered the power deficit caused by the new fuel. Anyway, we’ll see the true picture tomorrow.
    Very strong short and long runs from both Haas drivers and Bottas in the Alfa. They were lapping about 0.8 slower than Verstappen on their long runs on same tyres (soft). That’s not too shabby!

    I don’t know what to expect from tomorrow. Either the battle remains as close as it is between Ferrari and RB or Ferrari will make a big step forward. Something tells me that Ferrari were holding back a little in terms of engine power and that they will unleash their ‘beast’ in qualy.
    I also expect a massive step forward from Mercedes. Surely their PU can’t be as weak as it looks atm. Haas could really put both cars into Q3, that’s far from utopical.

  11. So many were saying Mercedes is sandbagging during the preseason testing. Mercedes will be lucky to be within 7 tenths of Redbull or Ferrari tomorrow. Redbull and Ferrari are top 2 as it became very clear to the intelligent fans during the preseason testing but the dumb ones kept repeating the same old ‘Mercedes is Sandbagging’ line.

    1. @amg44 I still wait until QLF to be absolutely sure.

      1. Mercedes will be guaranteed behind. At least by half a second from pole. Don’t know whether people are blind or ignorant that they can’t see the obvious struggles of Mercedes compare to that planted and stable Redbull and Ferrari.

        1. Let’s come back to this comment after qualifying shall we.

        2. You cant blame people from not believing the lie factory that is Merc, I do believe they have some issues for now but it will be fixed in due time and unlock the true speed of the car.

        3. Considering you’re a massive mercedes fan, it seems natural that you also adopted their sandbagging nature, but as an anti-mercedes, the first thing of f1 I learnt is: never underestimate mercedes. These lap times, as well as testing, are worth nothing, q1 times are worth nothing except for those at elimination risk, same goes for p2, we’ll only see the real mercedes the first lap of q3.

    2. @amg44
      Judging by Russell’s straightline speed, Mercedes was still a little bit sandbagging. Not nearly as much as some fans think, but still by a small amount. Russell was down on speed at the end of the start/finish straight (6 kph compared to Verstappen and 3 kph to Leclerc), then pretty evenly matched with RB and Ferrari before T4 and T11, before being comfortably slower on the straight before T14 (12 kph down on Verstappen and 8 kph on Leclerc).
      We still don’t know how much fuel was in the cars, but I doubt Russell was running any lighter than Verstappen and Leclerc. Mercedes might not be on a level with the other two top teams, but I can’t imagine them being more than 0.4 or 0.5 off pole.

      1. Why do you assume the Mercedes engine is still the best after the E10 change?

        1. I actually don’t assume their engine is still the best. In another comment above I mentioned the paddock gossip at Barcelona being that Mercedes haven’t fully recovered the power deficit yet. Plus it’s very suspicious that the five slowest cars were all powered by a Mercedes PU.
          But even if they are lacking a bit in terms of power, it can’t go as far as them losing more than 10 kph at the back straight before the final corner.
          They could recover maybe 0.2 sec tomorrow in qualifying, but certainly not 0.6 sec.

    3. Coventry Climax
      18th March 2022, 18:39

      Well, suppose someone was lying about something for about 20 times, and -rightfully so- was called a liar.
      Would you be surprised if he/she was called a liar on the 21st occasion again?
      You reap what you sow.

      1. What you’re calling lies is nothing but misinterpretations of Mercedes/Ham/Toto cautious statements by their haters. So Lewis says something like “the Red Bull looks strong” and those people hear something like “the Red Bull will lap us”.

      2. Absolutely true, you put it better than I could!

  12. + Ferrari and Haas improvement
    – stupid jumping of some cars on straigths
    – new Merc livery (black is beautiful)
    – arrogant crash-kid on top of timetables
    – Williams and McLaren performance

    1. Hah, verstappen arrogant, more like honest, says things like they are, a rare figure in f1.

      1. How did you make the connection between crash-kid and Verstappen? ;-)

        1. Because most of your comments are anti verstappen, because the title says verstappen quickest and because some people call him crash kid even though he barely had any after the disaster 2018 start.

  13. I am pretty sure RB did not extend Max’s contract for millions to have Checo coming in first. Besides Checo cannot put together a perfect qualifying lap to save himself. He should stop talking about being champion and looking silly. Marko is always in Max side of the garage that tells you everything.

    1. Well he probably knows he doesn’t have a hope of being champion even if the Red Bull is quickest, but he’s obviously got fans and sponsors etc. so I’m sure they don’t want him saying “yeah I’m just gonna trundle behind Max for the whole season and not challenge him under any circumstances”.

    2. That RB car still is not on top. Havent been since the Vettel era. Either Checo is overrated or the car again is underwhelming. RB must be glad they found Max, whom seems to extract more out of the car, making them look competitive.

      1. same as HAM for large parts of the recent years ;-)

    3. Actually marko often makes accurate predictions, doesn’t sandbag etc., so I actually have a high opinion of him, compared to for example wolff.

  14. Don’t understand how Haas are going from last to 8th. Wind issues?

    Mick doing admirably well compared to Kevin. Happy for him. A couple more tenths on Kevin and Sainz’s contract renewal talks may get pushed out :)

    Gap between Gasly and Tsunoda seems lesser. Good on Yuki.

    Latifi quicker than Albon and Russell quicker than Hamilton in both sessions. Russell wasn’t wrong when he said many people underestimate Latifi. Seeing this, I feel Mercedes waited a season too long to bring George in.

    Can’t wait for qualifying. Max vs Charles, 2 proper 1 lap specialists for the shootout :)

  15. Wow 0.6 difference between George and Lewis. And Lewis as usual fighting with his setup, especially the brakes. Let’s hope he can copy Georges setup as he is used to do for years.
    Interesting Practice session. Haas is a surprise and only 0.1 between stroll and the hired hand.
    Two teams that seems to understand the new cars best. No big surprises there for now. Ferrari took a lot of time and a lost season and Rbr used Newy to the fullest.
    Alonso and Alpine nice surprise if the car does not fall apart.

    1. Are you saying Lewis has copied George Russell’s setup for years?

      1. rgd HAM and VER his thinking is a bit special, to say it in a friendly way. ;-)

        1. Says the one calling verstappen crash kid for stuff that happened 4 years ago by now.

          1. I call him crash-kid for numerous happenings throughout the last season also.

  16. mclaren seems incredibly off the pace

  17. The anti-Hamilton brigade is out in full force and frothing on mouth!
    Calm down, it’s just race 1 out of 23 so let’s hold our horses for now, shall we?

    1. It’s not even race 1, it is FP2 after only a few days of testing and people are locking in their oppinions. Stupid internet

  18. Glad if this reflects the season to come (it doesnt… way too early to tell, but one can dream). It is time for the Max vs Charles vs Lando vs George era. Bring in the new!

  19. We all know Hamilton is a great driver.

  20. 2021 best laps
    Qualy: 1.29 (1’28.997)
    Race: 1.32 (1’32.090)

    2022 best lap so far
    P2: 1.32 (1’31.936)

    For all the changes they have clawed back almost everything, at least at Bahrain. Will have to see during the race and then at other tracks. Impressive.

    1. Better can spare fp2 to fp2 times

    2. We’ll see what the race times look like but they are within 2% of last year’s pole time. For the first race of a new formula, that’s pretty good imo.

      2021
      Q: 1’28.997

      2022
      Q: 1’30.681

  21. It all looks extremely close this year. I expect things will change as we go to different tracks too. Hope Leclerc and Sainz can have some good battles for race wins. Hamilton is also a fantastic driver who you can amber write off. Such a genius, especially when it comes to car setup

  22. I still believe Mercedes.

    The start of the season will be a RB v Ferrari fight.

    Well have to wait and see what changes/ upgrades teams bring (McLaren included) after the first few races.

  23. RB seems to have the fastest car at the begin of the season. Maybe our paper champ can achieve a legit WDC this year.

    But hopefully 3 or more drivers are competing for it throughout the majority of this year. Then the overaggressive yield-or-crash style will fail miserably and we will get a champ with professionell driving standards.

    1. Paper champion verstappen for 2021 and not hamilton for 2015, 2019 and 2020 as examples of uncontested championships? Interesting.

      1. Best driver/car-combo by some margin doesnt make it a paper championship. Result manipulation by the RD does.

        Rgd. fastest car – F1 is a team sports. And car development is also partly the result of the drivers work.

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