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By Thomas Miles

Carlos Sainz put Ferrari on top of the timesheets on day 2 of pre-season Formula 1 testing in Bahrain.

Despite a drain cover drama, both Charles Leclerc and Sainz showed promising pace in the SF-24 throughout the second day.

Sainz was the only driver to go under 1m30s time with a 1:29.921 on the C4 compound, seven tenths ahead of Sergio Perez.

Just over a second behind was Lewis Hamilton in his first full day behind the wheel of the Mercedes W15 in third ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris.

Daniel Ricciardo once again showed strong pace for Racing Bulls, being in the top five for the second day in a way.

This time Ricciardo was fifth with a solid 1:31.361, 1.4s away from Sainz, but less than half a second from Hamilton and Norris.

Oscar Piastri got 35 laps behind the wheel of the #81 McLaren and emerged 10th after recording a top time of 1:32.328.

However, Piastri was extremely impressive in the morning session before handing over to Norris.

Only Charles Leclerc could post a faster time than the Australian in the morning session.

The 1:32.328 was 0.578s off Leclerc at the lunch break and was easily clear of the likes of Logan Sargeant, Perez, Fernando Alonso and Hamilton.

Perez, Hamilton and Logan Sargeant were the three drivers to record more than 100 laps throughout the day.

Although it was a productive and fast day for Ferrari with Sainz and Leclerc recording 84 and 54 laps respectively, it did not go entirely to plan.

The morning running came to an early end due to a red flag to repair a drain cover Leclerc ran over on the approach to turn 11.

Despite this moment, the clear pace shown by Sainz and Leclerc has left Ferrari in a confident frame of mind.

Leclerc said Ferrari has got rid of the “worries” that took place during the 2023 testing.

“We’re making good progress,” he said. 

“Once again the car is doing what it needs to do, which wasn’t the case at the start of last year.

“I remember after the first few days, I was much more worried because it was a very, very complicated car to drive. 

“This year it’s easier, so it’s starting from a better base, but there’s still a lot of work to do.

“For the time being, everything’s going according to plan, in the sense that we haven’t had any unpleasant surprises in terms of the car’s behaviour.”

The third and final day of F1 testing is tonight with coverage on Fox Sports/Kayo from 17.50 AEDT.

There is also lots more loaded into a bumper edition of AUTO ACTION magazine, on sale at newsagents Thursday and available digitally here. For more of the latest motorsport news, subscribe to AUTO ACTION magazine.

Latest Podcast: Gentlemen Start your Engines – It’s Supercar Season on the Auto Action RevLimiter!

This is it folks, there’s no more posturing and no more of the who did what to whom talk, this weekend Supercars gets to fight fair in the opening round of the season at the Bathurst 500. Who can win, who will win, we dissect the season and tell you what we think on the latest podcast.

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