Esteban Ocon, Alpine, Bahrain International Circuit, 2022

Ocon quickest on Friday morning as brake fire halts Williams

2022 F1 season

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Esteban Ocon topped the times for Alpine in the morning session for the second day of running at the pre-season test in Bahrain.

In a car which had been re-stickered overnight and is now carrying the special pink livery it will use at the first two races, the Alpine driver set a best time of a 1’34.276 on the C4 tyres. That was just under a tenth quicker than Charles Leclerc after covering 59 laps over the course of the four hour session.

Max Verstappen was third fastest in the Red Bull RB18 having set his best time of the session on the C2 tyres, with Sebastian Vettel fourth fastest in the Aston Martin AMR22.

With more blustery conditions out on the Bahrain International Circuit than on Thursday’s opening day, many drivers battled with understeer especially through the downhill left hander of turn ten.

After McLaren admitted to brake problems on their MCL36 after the first day of running, Lando Norris – who is running a second full day in place of the unwell Daniel Ricciardo – was delayed further by the issue and only able to complete 29 laps.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2022
Latifi had a scare when his brakes caught fire
But there were more severe braking concerns for Williams when Nicholas Latifi’s rear brakes began smoking before catching aflame. As Latifi tried to recover to the pits, he was sent spinning at turn 13 before coming to a halt. The Red Flag was immediately shown as marshals and Latifi himself attempted to put out the fire, which then caused one of the rear tyres to explode. Once the fire was out, the car was recovered to the garage where the team begin assessing the damage to the FW44.

There were problems too for Aston Martin when Sebastian Vettel left the pits and instantly felt a problem on his AMR22. Vettel cruised around turn four before pulling off the circuit and stopping on the Outer Circuit, allowing the session to continue without interruption. The car was brought back to the garage but Vettel was able to take to the circuit once again in the final minutes.

Mick Schumacher got his first run in the test in the Haas, but was only able to cover 23 laps in the VF-22 – the fewest of any driver bar Latifi. The team later confirmed he had been sidelined with an exhaust problem.

The final minutes of the session saw the FIA attempt to run a test of a race standing restart procedure, where drivers were instructed to join the track and complete a formation lap before running a dummy race restart from the grid. The FIA delayed the start attempt to allow Max Verstappen and George Russell to join the circuit, but the procedure was abandoned when Valtteri Bottas came to a stop at turn eight.

2022 F1 pre-season testing day five morning times:

Pos.Car numberDriverTeamModelBest timeGapLaps
131Esteban OconAlpineA5221’34.27659
216Charles LeclercFerrariF1-751’34.3660.09054
31Max VerstappenRed BullRB181’35.8741.59845
477Valtteri BottasAlfa RomeoC421’36.9872.71125
522Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauriAT031’36.8022.52644
64Lando NorrisMcLarenMCL361’36.3542.07829
763George RussellMercedesW131’38.5854.30967
85Sebastian VettelAston MartinAMR221’36.0201.74446
947Mick SchumacherHaasVF-221’37.8463.57023
106Nicholas LatifiWilliamsFW441’39.8455.56912

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2022 F1 season

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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14 comments on “Ocon quickest on Friday morning as brake fire halts Williams”

  1. Latifi would’ve been better off stopping beside the nearest orange-marked hole rather than keep on driving until eventually spinning out.

    1. Doubt it ultimately would have mattered. The second you stop driving, that fire is going to rage either way.

      1. The difference is that it would have taken less foam to control the blaze and thus easier for the team to repair the damage. Having said that, drivers often struggle to know when their car has a small fire.

  2. The ordering of the times is incorrect.

  3. Good to see Ocon back in a Force India :)
    Seriously tho, how similar can a livery be before there is some sort of copyright infringement? Unless the sponsor own the rights rather than the team?

  4. Regarding Latifi’s tyre exploding, how often does that happen in a fire and is that any more of a concern with the new larger tyres?

  5. You know that Alpine time was a bit of a glory run. Whenever things are going terrible for them.. they put in a glory run to keep the critics at bay. My guess is Alpine is the slowest team on the grid after Haas.

    1. @todfod Their C2 long-run was not bad, to be honest. Probably puts them between 5th-8th best overall, as I assume other cars haven’t shown their hand. Which for the team’s resources and expectations is pretty disgraceful.

      1. @mashiat

        Honestly, if you’re a betting man… Put money on Alpine failing to deliver every year. It’s a guaranteed result.

        Can’t even believe they’re one of the manufacturer teams in the sport. If it wasnt for Haas, they’d clearly be the least competent team on the grid.

        1. @todfod I think you could probably add Williams to that list, but I agree completely. They showed some solid progress from 2016 to 2018, and then just never really progressed. Ferrari’s poor 2020 season flattered them quite a lot, and they haven’t moved forwards at all from where they were around 2017/2018. This engine formula has been around for 8 years, and these power units have been in development for over a decade. How they haven’t even managed to build a competent power unit yet is beyond belief. Their senior management was already an issue, but their engineers need scrutiny as well. I mean, when was the last time Pat Fry designed a car capable of the title? 2008? And this is despite being with McLaren (twice) and Ferrari. And this is the guy who is supposed to take them to the top?

          1. Other than Alonso.. There’s nothing even decent about their team. Not the engineering, design, power unit, leadership team.. Absolutely nothing

          2. @todfod Alonso and Piastri are the only two good things going for Alpine. I really hope Alpine can get it together for Piastri in the future because it sure doesn’t look like they’ll be delivering anytime soon.

  6. I wonder why all the brake issues? Perhaps because of more rotating mass with the larger wheels, combined with wheel covers that limit cooling?

  7. Lewisham Milton
    11th March 2022, 14:59

    I hope Alpine have changed more than just the colour of the car since yesterday…
    If not, all the cars including Ferrari will be pink at the first race!

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