Alpine’s Esteban Ocon set the benchmark time, but Nicholas Latifi had to retire after his Williams caught fire, bringing the Friday morning test session to a halt.
On the second morning of Formula One’s penultimate pre-season test in Bahrain, Esteban Ocon beat Charles Leclerc to the quickest time in his pink Alpine, while Nicholas Latifi’s Williams caught fire.
Ocon who was on a fresh pair of Pirelli’s C4 soft tyres to sprint to the top of the timesheets with a 1m34.276s, revealing Alpine’s stunning pink livery that will be feature for the first two races of the season.
Max Verstappen, the reigning world champion, finished third on C2s, 1.5 seconds behind Sebastian Vettel, who completed 46 laps for Aston Martin before pulling off into the outside loop with an unidentified technical issue during the final hour of the morning session.
Lando Norris of McLaren rounded out the top five as he continued to fill in for teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who has not participated in any of this week’s tests owing to illness.
Yuki Tsunoda’s AlphaTauri took sixth place, while seventh-placed Valtteri Bottas’ car broke down in the last minutes of the session, raising red flags as the FIA tried to trial its standing restart method.
After Mick Schumacher was limited to only 23 laps in the morning, Haas is looking into an exhaust problem.
Mercedes had no trouble building up the miles, as George Russell completed the most, 67, on his way to ninth place in the morning order, four seconds behind the leader.
Later,a red flag was raised during the morning practice when Latifi’s rear brakes caught fire, sending the Canadian to spin off at Turn 12.
As a fire marshal attempted to extinguish the flames before the rear of the FW44 was engulfed, the brakes exploded, and Latifi was on site to assist in the extinguishment. The Williams driver was 10th in the standings and had completed the fewest laps, with only 12 before his session was cut short due to an issue.