Bahrain GP 2024

FEBRUARY 29, 2024

Thursday Report - Hamilton leads Mercedes 1-2, Verstappen sixth

Lewis Hamilton
© Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Lewis Hamilton led a Mercedes one-two finish in the second practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix setting a 1m30.374, a strong start for the team.

Hamilton's teammate, George Russell, secured the second spot despite initial challenges, including a lack of traction in the first sector. Russell set a lap time of 1m30.580s on soft tyres.

The session witnessed a fierce battle among the drivers, with Fernando Alonso making a significant leap to displace Sainz and take third, thanks to a stellar lap.

Oscar Piastri's exceptional performance in the middle sector earned him the fifth-fastest time, relegating reigning champion Max Verstappen to sixth, 0.477s behind Hamilton.

The timing of the session, identical to the race's scheduled start on Sundau, offered a realistic preview of the race conditions, though cooler temperatures and crosswinds added an extra layer of complexity.

The practice kicked off with drivers split between medium and soft tyre compounds, with the frontrunners opting for the latter.

Early laps saw Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc briefly topping the timesheets before Hamilton set a formidable pace with a 1m30.751s lap.

Verstappen, struggling to match Hamilton's time, ultimately placed sixth, underscoring the competitive intensity of the field.

As the session progressed, focus shifted to race simulations, crucial for fine-tuning strategies for the upcoming race. This phase saw no further improvements in lap times, but Nico Hulkenberg's performance stood out as he placed seventh, narrowly missing Verstappen's time.

The session concluded with the top drivers closely packed, indicating a highly competitive race ahead.

Leclerc and Perez rounded out the top ten, highlighting the depth of talent across the teams. Meanwhile, Lando Norris faced setbacks, including a requested steering wheel switch, placing him at the bottom of the timing boards.

This practice session set the stage for an exciting Bahrain Grand Prix, with Mercedes asserting their strength early on. The close timings among the drivers promise a competitive and unpredictable race, emphasizing the critical role of strategy and adaptability.