Formula 1

George Russell leads the way for Mercedes on final day of Bahrain testing

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George Russell leads the way in Day 2 of Bahrain Testing
Credit - Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Media Archive

After languishing at the back of the grid for Williams Racing for the first two races of the 2019 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, rookie racer George Russell snatched the chance to get behind the wheel of the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport and went fastest in the second day of testing in Bahrain.

Russell set a time of 1:29:029 whilst testing for the silver arrows and jumped straight to the front of the pack – unfamiliar territory for the young Brit so far this year.

Alongside him at the top was Racing Point F1 Team driver Sergio Perez who also surprised the paddock with a time of 1:29:095.

After a mixed start to the season, the Mexican’s time at the Sakhir International Circuit will have injected some optimism into the Racing Point team.

Lance Stroll also gave the pink crew a reason to smile as he went within one second of Russell’s leading lap time.

The competitiveness of both Stroll and Perez might have been the results of a significant upgrade package the team introduced in Melbourne.

This comes after Team Principal Otmar Sznafnauer said they’d only extracted half of the packages’ potential after the Bahrain race weekend, while this is only testing, the closure of the gap to the top drivers will have no doubt pleased the team and given them plenty to take into China.

Scuderia Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel seemed to struggle during the Bahrain GP but he quickly put that to rest and got back to business around Sakhir with a time of 1:29:319 on the C3 compound tyre.

Elsewhere in the paddock, Dan Ticktum made his debut for Red Bull Racing as both Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly were given a rest.

He certainly made the most of his experience as he put in an impressive 135 laps and finished ninth.

Ticktum finished second in Formula 3 last season but, having been part of the Red Bull Junior Team since 2017, he was finally given the chance to show his worth in the RB15.

Setting a time of 1:30:856, Ticktum went faster than both experienced Haas F1 Team driver Romain Grosjean as well as double World Champion Fernando Alonso, who was back driving for McLaren F1 Team.

Although Alonso and Grosjean were on the C4 tyre, Ticktum showed his talent and he wasn’t the only debutant who gave fans a glimpse into the next crop of potential champions on Tuesday.

Brazilian Pietro Fittipaldi had more track time for Haas during the morning session and Mick Schumacher swapped the red of Ferrari for the burgundy of Alfa Romeo Racing and ended the day in sixth after setting a time of 1:29:998.

Formula 2 star Jack Aitken got the chance to drive for Renault F1 Team whilst Racing Point development driver Nicholas Latifi also got to grips with a Formula 1 car as he put in 60 laps for Williams.

And quietly going about their business were Scuderia Toro Rosso pair Daniil Kyvat and Alex Albon.

Kyvat ended the final day of Bahrain testing in fifth with a 1:29:911 and teammate Albon finished just behind him in seventh setting a time of 1:30:037 ending what looks like a productive testing session for the team.

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