F1 Preseason Testing in Bahrain: Max Verstappen Edges Out Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu for Fastest Lap Time

As Formula 1 prepares for the 2023 season, teams are taking part in the sole preseason testing session in Bahrain. Day 2 of the testing session saw an intense battle for the fastest lap times, with Max Verstappen of Red Bull edging out Alfa Romeo's Zhou Guanyu in the final minutes of the day. Verstappen posted a 1:31.863, the first lap of the test under a 1:32, while Guanyu finished with a 1:31.610 after going out on the softest tyres late in the day.

Fernando Alonso was third fastest for Aston Martin, ahead of Alpha Tauri's Nyck de Vries, another to do a qualifying-style run on the softest tyres.[0] Alonso managed more than 130 laps and finished third overall, while Verstappen was the only driver to complete the full day’s running, with Red Bull not needing to prepare the car for another driver.[1] Verstappen completed 157 laps and posted the most laps of the day, storming past the 150-lap mark.[2]

Meanwhile, Mercedes’ running ended early due to hydraulic failure late in the day, with George Russell and Lewis Hamilton together driving 152 laps.[3] Williams, meanwhile, came to a total of 149 laps with Alex Albon completing the day in seventh position with a 1:33.671.

With just one weekend of preseason testing taking place this season, teams have just three days of on-track action to get up to speed before the first round.[4] Russell has conceded that Mercedes are unlikely to be able to challenge Red Bull and Ferrari for a win at the inaugural 2023 Formula 1 race in Bahrain next weekend.[5] The teams must also stay aware of various other rules around the new regulations, which have been tightened up, while an ongoing focus will be Red Bull's F1 cost cap breach penalty and how it manages with its $7 million fine and 10% cut in aerodynamic testing time.[6]

0. “Ferrari leads as 2023 F1 testing hits halfway point” The Race, 24 Feb. 2023, https://the-race.com/formula-1/ferrari-leads-as-2023-f1-testing-hits-halfway-point/

1. “F1 2023 Bahrain pre-season testing – Day 2 Lap Times” Crash, 24 Feb. 2023, https://www.crash.net/f1/results/1020800/1/f1-2023-bahrain-preseason-testing-day-2-lap-times

2. “Verstappen enjoys ‘smooth’ start to testing as Red Bull tick ‘most important’ box with RB19” Formula 1, 23 Feb. 2023, https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/article.verstappen-enjoys-smooth-start-to-testing-as-red-bull-tick-most-important.363uEVlH7cdYtX5dK63pSo.html

3. “Zhou uses soft tyres to pip Verstappen as Mercedes hit trouble · RaceFans” RaceFans, 24 Feb. 2023, https://www.racefans.net/2023/02/24/zhou-uses-soft-tyres-to-pip-verstappen-as-mercedes-hit-trouble/

4. “F1 testing 2023 guide: What is it, when is it and can I watch it” Motorsport.com, 22 Feb. 2023, https://www.motorsport.com/f1/news/f1-pre-season-testing-2023-what-is-it-when-is-it-and-can-i-watch-it/10434259

5. “F1 testing: Mercedes hit trouble with breakdown on Day Two as Max Verstappen stamps authority despite Zhou Guanyu's fastest time” Sky Sports, 24 Feb. 2023, https://www.skysports.com/f1/news/12433/12818849/f1-testing-mercedes-hit-trouble-with-breakdown-on-day-two-as-max-verstappen-stamps-authority-despite-zhou-guanyus-fastest-time

6. “F1 pre-season testing 2023: What is it, when is it and can I watch it” Autosport, 20 Feb. 2023, https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/f1-pre-season-testing-2023-what-is-it-when-is-it-and-can-i-watch-it-/10434219

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