Red Bull's Perez fastest on the final morning of Bahrain pre-season testing
Red Bull's Sergio Perez posted the benchmark on the final morning of the 2022 Official Pre-Season Test in Bahrain.
Fast runs were the order of the day on Saturday morning, Sergio Perez emerging in an updated RB18 just before the hour mark to top the timesheets, trading places at the top with Alfa Romeo's Zhou Guanyu. Eventually it was Perez who emphatically clinched P1 with a time of 1m 33.105s.
The Chinese rookie, however, notched up a solid lap count in another show of Alfa Romeo's improved reliability.
Pierre Gasly also enjoyed a productive four hours for AlphaTauri, third overall, and ahead of Ferrari's Carlos Sainz (P4). Gasly and Lewis Hamilton (ninth for Mercedes) duelled wheel-to-wheel with just over an hour remaining in another salivating hint at what's to come in 2022.
That left Fernando Alonso rounding out the top five for Alpine, a half-century of laps under his belt by lunchtime.
McLaren's Lando Norris took P6, Daniel Ricciardo absent from the test having tested positive for Covid-19. The Woking squad brought new parts to rectify their brake overheating issue and seem to have been successful as Norris clocked up nearly 40 laps across the morning having managed 60 on the whole of Friday.
Williams' Nicholas Latifi emerged after his Thursday was cut short by a fire in the rear of the FW44, but the team seemed to have put what they called a "minor" issue well in their wing mirrors as the Canadian finished seventh with more than 60 laps completed.
Eighth-placed Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll ticked off a half-century of tours and finished marginally ahead of Hamilton.
As for Kevin Magnussen – who topped the timesheets during Haas's extra hour on Friday night – he started his Saturday running for Haas an hour before the other teams to make up for Thursday's freight issues. A water leak, then a fuel leak, restricted him to under 40 laps before lunch but the team will also receive two more hours later into the evening, with Mick Schumacher at the wheel.
The morning session ended with an FIA red flag and standing start test, teams lining up on the grid to practice race protocol.
The action continues with the final afternoon of pre-season testing, four hours left for teams to learn and understand their 2022 cars before the Bahrain Grand Prix.
F1 TV Pro subscribers can watch Bahrain pre-season testing live and on demand, access exclusive live timing, as well as Tech Talk debriefs. Subscribe now and save 20% on your Annual F1 TV Pro subscription. Offer Valid in selected territories on web and apps until March 13. T&Cs apply
Coverage of the Official Pre-Season Test is also available live in selected territories via your F1 broadcaster.