Day three of pre-season testing in Bahrain as it happened

Text commentary of day three of the second pre-season test in Bahrain where Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton finishes fastest.

21 February 2014 Last updated at 06:21

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As it happened

  1. 14:25: 

    That's all for today, folks. Andrew Benson's report is live on the F1 pages. I'll be back tomorrow at 06:15 GMT to bring you live coverage of the final day of the second test in Bahrain. Until then, it's good afternoon from me.

  2. 14:23: 

    It was a solid day for McLaren and Jenson Button, the Briton clocking up 103 laps and the second fastest time. It was not so good for Ferrari and Red Bull who managed only 44 and 28 laps respectively. Lewis Hamilton had a strong morning, and obviously set the fastest time, but struggled with reliability in the afternoon.

  3. 14:19: 
    Laps completed

    1) Jenson Button (McLaren) 103

    2) Marcus Ericsson (Caterham) 98

    3) Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber) 96

    4) Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 67

    5) Felipe Massa (Williams) 60

    6) Sergio Perez (Force India) 57

    7) Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso) 57

    8) Valtteri Bottas (Williams) 55

    9) Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 44

    10) Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 28

    11) Pastor Maldonado (Lotus) 26

    12) Max Chilton (Marussia) 4

  4. 14:12: 
    How they finished

    1) Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:34.263

    2) Jenson Button (McLaren) 1:34.976

    3) Felipe Massa (Williams) 1:37.066

    4) Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber) 1:37.180

    5) Sergio Perez (Force India) 1:37.367

    6) Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 1:37.476

    7) Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso) 1:38.974

    8) Pastor Maldonado (Lotus) 1:39.642

    9) Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 1:40.781

    10) Marcus Ericsson (Caterham) 1:42.130

    11) Max Chilton (Marussia) 1:46.672

    12) Valtteri Bottas (Williams) no time

  5. 14:05: 

    Lewis Hamilton finished 0.7 seconds quicker than Jenson Button with Felipe Massa a further two seconds off the pace. A full rundown coming up.

  6.  

    Williams: 43 live pitstops completed today before we stopped to get some running in during the final hour.

  7. 14:00: 
    CHEQUERED FLAG
    Lewis Hamilton

    Lewis Hamilton finishes fastest on day three of the second pre-season test in Bahrain.

  8. 13:57: 

    It's been a busy day for Jenson Button who clocks up his 100th lap.

  9. 13:51: 

    Felipe Massa and Williams have stopped pit stop practice with the Brazilian crossing the line to set the third fastest, 2.8 seconds of the pace.

  10. 13:48: 

    Kimi Raikkonen clocks his best time of the day to move up to fifth, 3.2 seconds off the pace set by Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes.

  11. 13:45: 

    F1 journalist Dan Knutson: Despite the long delays for repairs on his Toro Rosso, Daniil Kvyat just turned 49 laps and is still on track. Compare that to the grand total of 9 laps that he turned during the test at Jerez.

  12. 13:41: 

    Red Bull race engineering co-ordinator Andy Damerum said the team came across the mechanical problem, which they haven't encountered before, when making tweaks over lunch.

    "Because of its nature it means we have to take the car apart," he said. "These issues are of course frustrating but this was unrelated to the others so it's just a case of tackling each issue as it appears. A tough night in prospect but we hope to get a good day in tomorrow."

  13. 13:38: 
    Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo

    Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo added: "We'd love a big chunk all at once but obviously that's not the way these things work, so we have to be a bit patient for now. Tomorrow it would be nice to get more laps in and then roll on next week."

  14. 13:34: 

    Daniel Ricciardo managed 28 laps today with a best time of 1:40.781 in his Red Bull. The Australian said: "It was going OK. I did some good laps and those came off the back of the more than 50 laps Seb did yesterday, so we're getting there.

    "Obviously, I would have liked to do more this afternoon but we still have tomorrow ahead of us and it's important to be ready for that. The car is definitely making progress though. It's coming together bit by bit."

  15. 13:31: 

    Red Bull suspend running for the day after discovering a mechanical problem.

  16.   
    BBC Radio 5 live pit-lane reporter Jennie Gow

    "A bit of detail on the state of play with the Renault engines at the moment. They are not being able to run the full mapping and are about 100-150bhp down on the Mercedes and Ferrari. Teams are not being allowed to do any functionality testing - just running round in circles at a lot less power than everyone else. They have improved massively in a short space of time but there is still a long way to go."

  17. 13:27: 

    Caterham are just preparing to send Marcus Ericsson out for his final run of the day. The Swedish rookie, who has now completed enough laps to get his super licence, is on course to break the 100-lap barrier for the day.

  18. 13:22: 

    Jennie Gow reports that Mercedes are planning to go out again after their hydraulic issue. They've just fired up so Lewis Hamilton should be out shortly.

  19.   
    BBC Radio 5 live pit-lane reporter Jennie Gow

    "I put to Renault engine boss Rob White Pat Symonds's accusations that the company's problems are related to the downsizing it did after the freeze on engine development in 2006. He said: 'It's one of the input things that needed to be taken into account when building the project plan.

    "'Moving the workforce up to where it needed to be was one of the challenges but I don't think that's a fundamental problem. The things we see on the track now have more to do with genuine technical and management challenges that are needed to be overcome to be successful in F1. We are behind where we should be but we absolutely can catch up and it is my clear determination to do so. And not just catch up but overtake.'"

  20. 13:16: 

    Force India's Sergio Perez begins an eight-lap run, joining Jenson Button, Esteban Gutierrez and Daniil Kvyat out on track. Felipe Massa continues to carry out pit stop practice, doing and out-lap followed by an in-lap over and over again.

  21. 13:11: 

    Lewis Hamilton heads Jenson Button by 0.7 seconds, with Esteban Gutierrez just over two seconds further back.

    Sergio Perez is fourth, ahead of Felipe Massa, Pastor Maldonado, Kimi Raikkonen, Daniil Kvyat, Daniel Ricciardo, Marcus Ericsson and Max Chilton.

  22. 13:05: 

    Just Jenson Button's McLaren and Marcus Ericsson in the Caterham who are circulating right now. No sign of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton, the current pacesetters, as they continue to investigate a hydraulics issue.

  23.   
    BBC Radio 5 live pit-lane reporter Jennie Gow

    "By the end of the day here in Bahrain @WilliamsF1Team are looking to have done 50 live pit stops and 20 static pit stops."

  24. 13:00: 
    One hour to go

    Kimi Raikkonen, who only completed around 20 laps, heads out in the Ferrari with Force India's Sergio Perez joining him out on track as we enter the final hour of today's session.

  25. 12:56: 
    GO! GO! GO!

    We're back under way in Bahrain....

  26. 12:54: 
    Red Bull garage

    F1 journalist Dan Knutson: "Red Bull is taking their security measures seriously. The car is under a cover just in case anybody somehow managed to sneak a photo past the screens in front of the garage door."

  27.   
    BBC Radio 5 live pit-lane reporter Jennie Gow

    "The problem for Max Chilton was an anomaly with the engine. Marussia have had to change it over and look for the problem. Still only four laps done."

  28.  

    Lotus: Car back - we're checking over everything.

  29. 12:49: 

    Lewis Hamilton is out of the car as Mercedes investigate what they describe as a "small hydraulic issue". They add: "Still planning to run again today."

  30. 12:42: 

    Meanwhile, Caterham have revealed why the Marcus Ericsson has been so busy today. The team tweet: "75 laps now completed for @Ericsson_Marcus which means he's passed the 300km mark required by the FIA to qualify for his Superlicence." That means he is allowed to take part in F1 grands prix.

  31. 12:37: 
    RED FLAG

    It's Pastor Maldonado. It seems Lotus may not have found the problem after all...

  32. 12:34: 
    RED FLAG

    We've got our third red flag of the day, folks.

  33. 12:30: 

    BBC Radio 5 live pit lane report Jennie Gow has spoken to Jessica Michibata and reports that Jenson Button proposed on Valentine's Day, in case you were wondering.

  34. 12:25: 

    Sergio Perez in the Force India and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen have rejoined the fray.

  35. 12:20: 

    Pastor Maldonado stopped out on track earlier today, bringing out the second of the day's two red flags. According to Lotus, we it won't be long until we see the Venezuelan out on track again. "Problem found and rectified, time to go back out again soon," tweeted the team.

  36. 12:13: 

    Back to the pits goes Kimi Raikkonen, leaving Marcus Ericsson and now Jenson Button out on track.

  37. 12:07: 

    Kimi Raikkonen is back out on track, the Ferrari driver finally getting behind the wheel after spending much of the day in the garage as the team battled to solve telemetry issues.

  38.   
    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "5 live pit-lane reporter Jennie Gow has been talking to Renault engine boss Rob White about the firm's problems with their 2014 power-unit. White says Renault, which had a disastrous first test in Jerez last month, are now in the position they would like to have been when that test started.

    "He admits they are behind their rivals, but insists: 'We can absolutely catch up.' It's worth pointing out, though, that in performance terms they have only a week to do so. The engine specifications for the year are frozen on 28 February, after which changes can only be made on reliability, cost-saving or safety grounds.

    "These changes have to be approved by the FIA - and part of the approval process is that the correspondence is circulated to the other manufacturers for peer review. Although the FIA does not have to take notice of their views."

  39. 12:02: 

    As there's a bit of a lull in the action, I thought I'd point you in the direction of sport editor David Bond's blog following Bernie Ecclestone's victory in the High Court. "The all-powerful boss of Formula 1 is more vulnerable than ever before," says Bond.

  40. 11:55: 

    True to their word, Caterham get Marcus Ericsson back in the car just 20 minutes after giving him a break for his lunch.

  41. 11:53: 
    Jenson Button

    F1 journalist Dan Knutson: "Jenson Button did a lap and came back in to the pits. The McLaren crew had him keep the car running for over 45 seconds in the pit lane before he peeled out again. Obviously they were doing checks on heat buildup similar to when the car is on the grid just before the start of the race."

  42. 11:46: 

    Lewis Hamilton still leads the way, having completed 45 laps, with Jenson Button second and Esteban Gutierrez third. The latter has completed the most laps today at 65.

  43.  

    McLaren driver Kevin Magnussen: Wow! Well done to @JensonButton & @jessybondgirl on your engagement!

  44. 11:40: 
    Jessica Michibata

    Here's a pic of the rock. Jenson Button has been dating Jessica Michibata for more than five years, with the model ever present in the McLaren garage during race weekends.

  45.  

    McLaren: Huge congrats to @JensonButton and @jessybondgirl on their engagement! #attaboy

  46. 11:35: 

    Caterham are working rookie Marcus Ericsson hard. "Quick break (20 minutes and NOT A SECOND MORE) for @Ericsson_Marcus to have some lunch then it's straight back to work," tweet the team.

  47. 11:28: 

    Williams will continue with pit stop practice this afternoon as Felipe Massa takes on driving duties.

  48. 11:22: 

    Lewis Hamilton peels into the pits and he's soon joined by Sergio Perez who only does a short run in the Force India. Esteban Gutierrez is briefly the only car out on track before Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo joins the fray.

  49.   
    BBC Radio 5 live pit-lane reporter Jennie Gow

    "There might be some good news for Ferrari fans coming up. I've just seen Kimi Raikkonen running from the hospitality back to the garage. Could he be going out again soon?"

  50. 11:15: 
    Bahrain main grandstand

    F1 journalist Dan Knutson: "Unlike Wednesday and Thursday, the track is open to spectators today. There are about 200 fans scattered around the main grandstand. At tests at Jerez, if Fernando Alonso is driving and it's a sunny day, about 5,000 fans show up at the track."

  51. 11:10: 

    Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton has the track to himself at the moment, with just over three hours remaining.

  52.  
    Get involved- #bbcf1

    Tim in London: If Mercedes and Mclaren are looking so good then we've got a year of Hamilton v Button to look forward to - should be some great racing! Add in a bit of fast Ferraris and this season could be a cracker. Vettel to turn up eventually in the second half from the mid-field to keep them on their toes to the finale.

  53. 11:03: 

    Felipe Massa goes fifth fastest with a 1:39.5, 5.2 seconds off the pace. The Williams is joined out on track by pacesetter Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes and Caterham's Marcus Ericsson.

  54.  

    Williams driver Valtteri Bottas: Plenty of pitstops and race starts practiced this morning. Car ran again without problems and all went well.

  55. 10:59: 

    Williams driver Felipe Massa tells BBC Radio 5 live pit lane reporter Jennie Gow that he spent time at former Ferrari team-mate Michael Schumacher's bedside in hospital. The seven-time world champion remains in intensive care following a ski accident in December.

    "I was there, I spent a lot of time by his side, talking to him," said Massa, who recovered from serious injuries in a crash in qualifying for the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix.

    "I told him everything about my first test with Williams. I was trying to give him good energy. I was not in a similar situation, mine was not so serious, but I passed through difficult times and I know good energy from people will help.

    "I'm praying every day. I'm positive. I hope he will be strong and he will wake up and enjoy his life again."

  56. 10:52: 

    Lotus say it "looks like something's not quite right with the gearbox so time to investigate" following Pastor Maldonado's stoppage out on track.

  57. 10:47: 

    Lunch time is over at Williams as they send Felipe Massa out in the car for the first time today. The Brazilian takes over from team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who spent the morning focusing on pit stop practice.

  58. 10:43: 
    Who is Marcus Ericsson?

    Marcus Ericsson is Caterham's new recruit, making his debut in Formula 1 this year with Japan's Kamui Kobayashi his team-mate.

    Ericsson was a surprise choice for the race seat, the 23-year-old finishing down in sixth in the GP2 drivers' standings last year.

    The Swede, who is a big ice hockey fan, won the Formula BMW UK title in 2007 and followed that up with victory in the Japanese F3 series.

  59. 10:37: 

    Caterham's Marcus Ericsson joins Jenson Button out on track, the Swedish rookie no doubt keen to clock up the laps as he prepares for his F1 debut in Australia next month.

  60. 10:30: 

    Jenson Button has the track to himself and he makes the most of it, the McLaren driver improving to a 1m34.9, 0.7 seconds adrift of Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton.

  61.   
    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson

    "Ferrari have been quietly impressive in testing, performing reliably and regularly close to the top of the time sheets. Fernando Alonso was third fastest on Thursday, beaten only by the super-soft-shod McLaren and Force India.

    "The Spaniard said he was 'happy' with Ferrari's progress so far, and that he was not worried by the obviously strong performance of the Mercedes-engined cars. 'They are strong, no doubt,' Alonso said. 'After Jerez and these two days in Bahrain, Mercedes-engined cars look to be performing in a strong position, but it is just a test.

    "'We don't know how much fuel they have, how is the usage of the tyres etc. It is not a concern or worry at the moment. As is not the Red Bull or Renault performance. Everyone will be more or less on top of the problems in one way or another before Australia. I expect Mercedes engines strong in Australia, and Red Bull also, and Ferrari, too. It will be a great competition, I think.'"

    It's not going too well today, though, with Kimi Raikkonen's running limited because of telemetry issues.

  62. 10:21: 
    Bernie Ecclestone update

    The BBC's Dan Roan reports that F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone is awaiting the response of F1 owners CVC Capital Partners after a High Court judge rejected an £85m damages claim against Ecclestone. But the judge added the F1 chief did pay a bribe over a sale of F1 shares and had not been "reliable or truthful" during the case.

  63.   
    BBC Radio 5 live pit-lane reporter Jennie Gow
    Pat Symonds and Jennie Gow

    "I've been chatting to Williams technical boss Pat Symonds and he has some illuminating views on why Renault are in trouble at the moment. 'After the engine freeze on the V8s a few years ago they did downsize Renault Sport in Viry,' Symonds said. 'I think they are paying the price for that now because when the new engine requirement came along, they didn't have the people, they didn't have the infrastructure to really exploit it. And I suspect they probably didn't have the budget as well. But there are some good people there. I know them very well and I have the utmost respect for them, so there is no complacency on our side.' We'll put Symonds's views to Renault engine chief Rob White when we speak to him later on."

  64. 10:13: 

    Jenson Button doesn't mess about, the McLaren driver clocking a 1:35.6 to move back into second, just 1.4 seconds off the pace set by Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes.

  65. 10:10: 
    GO! GO! GO!

    The green light has flickered on at the end of the pit lane which means we're back in business. McLaren's Jenson Button and Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez waste little time in getting out.

  66.   
    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "A quick correction on Lewis Hamilton. We earlier reported the Mercedes driver was on medium tyres when he set his quick times. It now seems it was softs. So now you know. Still good times, though."

  67.  

    Caterham: Halfway through day three and @Ericsson_Marcus waits patiently in the car while we wait for the track to be green lit again. 33 laps so far.

  68.   
    BBC Radio 5 live pit-lane reporter Jennie Gow

    "Kimi Raikkonen has only managed 12 laps so far in the Ferrari. He is out of the car at the moment. The team have had telemetry problems this morning. Raikkonen had a new seat fitting last week having been uncomfortable in the car at the first test in Jerez and apparently he seems happier now."

  69. 10:00: 
    RED FLAG

    Lotus asked Pastor Maldonado what happened after he'd stopped out on track. "It just stopped," came the reply.

  70. 09:58: 

    Work continues for Mercedes, too, with the team now working hard to prepare the car ready for the afternoon run. There are just over four hours left in today's session.

  71. 09:56: 

    It's lunchtime at Williams, although the mechanics will use the time to prepare the car for a driver change. Valtteri Bottas vacates the cockpit with former Ferrari driver Felipe Massa taking over the wheel.

  72.  
    Get involved- #bbcf1

    Tom Leeson: Everyone slating Red Bull early on, exactly like last year, then look what happened, don't write them off so early.

    Kelly Bolt: Red Bull will get there in the end maybe in the second half of the season and do what they did last year - nine straight wins.

    Leigh Pontypridd: Double points for last 3 races may give Red Bull chance to catch up and win both Championships. This is F1, not whacky races.

  73.   
    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson

    "There has been a concern in some quarters that the new rules would make F1 cars slow and boring - and the lap times in the first test did nothing to persuade people the scaremongers were wrong. But suddenly in Bahrain the laps times are comparable to those from last year's race, and McLaren's Kevin Magnussen says the cars are anything but boring. 'I am enjoying it so much,' he said. 'I think it's awesome and it really is a drivers' car, more than the old one.'

    "Magnussen added that the rule changes had actually made the drivers' input more important: 'With the blown diffusers (of the last three years), it became a little bit easy and on new tyres it was very much relying on the car and set-up and balance, but this year is more of a drivers' car and I think that's great.'"

  74.  

    Lotus: E22 red flag test simulation complete.

  75. 09:50: 
    RED FLAG

    Lotus newbie Pastor Maldonado brings out the second red flag of the day...

  76. 09:45: 

    Lewis Hamilton continues to lead the way on day three of the second pre-season test in Bahrain, with Esteban Gutierrez and Jenson Button.

    Pastor Maldonado is fourth, ahead of Sergio Perez, Daniel Ricciardo, Daniil Kvyat and Kimi Raikkonen.

    Marcus Ercisson and Max Chilton complete the timesheets with Valtteri Bottas not having set a time as he focuses on pit stop practice.

  77. 09:40: 

    It's all gone quiet out on track. Perhaps the drivers and teams are having a spot of lunch...

  78. 09:34: 
    Who is Daniil Kvyat?
    Daniil Kvyat

    Daniil Kvyat is a 19-year-old Russian driver who has been drafted in at Toro Rosso to replace Daniel Ricciardo. Kvyat partners Jean-Eric Vergne, now in his third season in Formula 1, after winning last year's GP3 title.

    At 19 years and 320 days by the time of the 2014 Australian Grand, Kvyat will not be the youngest driver to debut in F1. That honour goes to Jaime Alguersuari, who took part in the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix aged 19 years and 125 days.

    Kvyat is fluent in four languages - Russian, English, Spanish and Italian - and currently lives in Rome with his family.

  79. 09:27: 

    Rookie Daniil Kvyat is out in the Toro Rosso, along with McLaren's Jenson Button, Force India's Sergio Perez and Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez.

  80. 09:22: 

    Marussia have not been seen Max Chilton ground to a halt on track about two hours ago. However, there is better news for Force India, who had a battery issue, as Sergio Perez heads out on track.

  81. 09:18: 

    Esteban Gutierrez has upped his pace and moved into second on the timesheets in the Sauber. He's still 2.9 seconds adrift of leader Lewis Hamilton, mind.

  82.   
    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson

    "On Thursday, both Mercedes and Ferrari did race-distance simulation runs with Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso. In theory, these should give a better comparison of relative performance than one-off lap times. There are still endless variables - the spec of the engine and chassis, different tyre compounds, whether they met fuel-usage requirements, etc, and the distances were not exactly the same - Alonso did 11 more laps. And there is of course room for user (me) error. But the average lap times are fascinating. Alonso's was 1:42.84; Rosberg's 1:42.65. Less than 0.2secs difference. Alonso said on Thursday that he expected the first race to be "a great competition". On that basis, he's not far wrong. There's a proviso, though. Rosberg's fastest time of the day - a 1:36.965 - came during this period. Alonso didn't get anywhere near that until later."

  83. 09:10: 

    A few of you have asked about race simulation runs. Well our man Andrew Benson has been crunching the numbers. Obviously, it won't feature Red Bull as they haven't managed one yet...

  84. 09:05: 
    Valtteri Bottas

    F1 journalist Dan Knutson: "Valtteri Bottas has turned 39 laps without setting a lap time. He has done no flying laps because the Williams crew has been practicing pit stops all morning. Williams chief test engineer Rod Nelson told us at the Jerez test that they planned to bring the race team to one test to practice 'hot' pit stops compared to the 'cold' ones they do back at the factory."

  85.   
    BBC Radio 5 live pit-lane reporter Jennie Gow

    "Battery issue for Force India led to the delays. Seems sorted now but it's like a different team gets an issue each day."

  86. 08:55: 

    McLaren are back in action at Bahrain, with Jenson Button heading out on track and immediately getting down to business. The 2009 world champion improves to a 1m37.5, but he's still 3.3 seconds off the pace.

  87.  
    Get involved- #bbcf1

    Alex Harper: First races this year are going to be all about finishing, and I don't think Red Bull will be in the top 5, or even finish 1st race.

  88. 08:48: 

    At last, we have some track action as Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo heads out on track along with Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez and Force India's Sergio Perez. Valtteri Bottas is also out and about, but he's still focusing on pit stop practice. In and out. In and out. In and out.

  89.   
    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson
    Jennie Gow and Felipe Massa

    "Felipe Massa takes the Williams over from Valtteri Bottas on Friday afternoon, hoping for some decent mileage after a fuel-system problem kept him in the pits on Wednesday. The Brazilian said one of the many changes brought about by the new turbo engines is a different sensation in the cockpit - the drivers can barely hear the engines.

    "He said: 'We wear earplugs and the engine noise is very low. Maybe we need to get a little bit more noise from the ear plugs and understand the engine noise a bit more. That is negative for F1 because the noise is part of F1. What people want to hear and feel and the noise is part of the adrenalin, not so much for the drivers, but for the show.'"

  90. 08:42: 

    Valtteri Bottas has clocked up the most laps of the day at 33, with Esteban Gutierrez just behind on 30.

    Lewis Hamilton has managed 24, Jenson Button 14 and fellow Briton Max Chilton just four after he stopped out on track in his Marussia earlier in the session.

  91. 08:35: 

    Starting this year, drivers will pick up penalty points on their super licence for rule infringements or race incidents. If a driver picks up 12 penalty points over a 12-month period, he will be suspended from the next grand prix. The points will then be reset.

  92. 08:30: 

    We've got an empty track in Bahrain after two-and-a-half hours of running. Just the five-and-a-half hours to go....

  93.  
    Get involved

    Stuart Burton in Chester: With all this talk of Magnussen putting in great times is it looking like button will rise to the challenge or be put in the shadows?

  94.   
    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson

    "On the face of it, these are some impressive times from Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes. His fastest so far of one minute 34.813 seconds just pips Kevin Magnussen's fastest time on Thursday in the McLaren. Yet Magnussen was on super-soft tyres - two grades softer than Hamilton's mediums (and therefore at least a second, if not a lot more, faster). Of course, there are the usual provisos that we don't know fuel loads etc."

  95. 08:24: 

    Mercedes report that they are trying out different set up changes this morning, with the car back in the garage for more tweaks. Caterham are parked up, too, with Marcus Ericsson having completed 19 laps.

  96. 08:20: 

    Pastor Maldonado heads into the pits in his Lotus to leave Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull out on track, with Williams continuing to do pit stop practice with Valtteri Bottas and their full race crew.

  97. 08:14: 

    Lewis Hamilton leads the way from Jenson Button, Esteban Gutierrez, Pastor Maldonado, Sergio Perez, Kimi Raikkonen, Daniil Kvyat, Daniel Ricciardo, Marcus Ericsson and Max Chilton.

  98. 08:10: 
    Red Bull

    Red Bull have got the flo-viz spray cans out and splattered the green stuff around the rear of the car. It's that part of the car which has contributed to the tams overheating issues. The team have brought two different bodywork packages to Bahrain as they battle to overcome the problems.

  99. 08:06: 

    Lewis Hamilton gets down into the 1m34s to extend his lead in the Mercedes to 3.5 seconds at the top of the charts, while Sergio Perez gets on the board in the Force India. The Mexican slots into sixth as he focuses on aero work to collect data.

  100.   
    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson

    "Mercedes have been the team who looked in best shape so far in testing, but on Thursday they had their first hiccup since Lewis Hamilton's front wing fell off on the first day in Jerez. Nico Rosberg's attempt to do a race-simulation run was hampered by two sensor problems, although the German still managed 85 laps and set a decent pace. 'I'm happy with how the team is doing,' said Rosberg, who is back in the car on Saturday after handing over to Hamilton for Friday. 'We are better than expected with reliability,' Rosberg said. 'So from that point of view we are pleased. We can do a lot laps and start to see little problems and also start to work on performance. We don't really know where we are yet on performance, so that we will wait and see.'"

  101.  
    Get involved- Text 81111

    Phil123 from Kent: On Red Bull - of course, there are days I wonder why the kettle doesn't work and I suddenly realise I've not flicked the plug on. Then it's teas all round. I somehow get the feeling Red Bull have only just found the kettle.

    Jim: As good a outfit as Red Bull are, I do believe the damage has been done at Jerez. They will no doubt pick up their programme but not in time for Melbourne...perhaps even Sepang. But Newey's vision will come good.

  102. 07:59: 

    The Red Bull is on the board, Daniel Ricciardo clocking a 1:43.3 which is good enough for seventh, 7.8 seconds off the pace. Only the Marussia and Caterham have been slower. Williams and Force India have yet to set a time.

  103. 07:55: 
    Kimi Raikkonen

    The Ferrari has broken cover in Bahrain, with Kimi Raikkonen heading out and about and setting the fifth fastest lap, five seconds off the pace.

  104. 07:50: 

    Lewis Hamilton improves to a 1:35.5 as he begins his second run of the day. That's around 2.8 seconds quicker than McLaren's Jenson Button. Esteban Gutierrez improves in the Sauber, breaking the 1m40 barrier with a 1:39.325.

  105. 07:46: 

    Charles Pic didn't do enough last season to convince Caterham - or any other team for that matter - to employ him as a race driver for this season.

    But he'll still be in F1 after signing up as the third driver at Lotus. The Frenchman will be at race weekends as back up and do work in the simulator, too.

    And with the new regulations allowing for more than one driver per car during Friday practice sessions, he might even get a chance to get behind the wheel of the black and gold machine.

  106. 07:42: 

    There are lots of new sporting regulations for 2014 aside from the well-documented double points at the final race of the season. The chap who makes the trophies has been given an extra bit of business as the driver who sets the most pole positions during the season will be awarded a shiny piece of silverware for his efforts.

  107.   
    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson

    "Renault finally had some good news as they reached the halfway point of pre-season testing, with most of their cars doing sensible amounts of mileage. The exception was Lotus, who lost another day they could ill afford - this is after all their first test, having missed Jerez.

    "But Renault engineering chief Remi Taffin said he was '99% sure' he could have the team running on Friday, when Pastor Maldonado is due to make his first appearance for this new team.

    "As for the rest of the Renault programme, after the well-publicised problems, Taffin admitted the company were still running some way off the limit of the engine, and 'now we have to upgrade things step by step' so teams could learn about the cars. 'Everything is on plan,' he said. 'Whether our plan is the best one, I don't know. We discover later."

  108. 07:35: 

    Williams and Valtteri Bottas have yet to set a lap time today, but they say that's all part of the plan: "We are just doing in and out laps while we continue pit stop practice.

  109.   
    BBC Radio 5 live pit-lane reporter Jennie Gow

    Delay for Force India. They're still getting the car ready from the overnight programme. The car should be out on track soon as it was fired up a moment ago.

  110.  
    Get involved- #bbcf1

    Craig from Edinburgh: I do agree with Andrew's views on this year's pre season testing. I myself have been wondering just what the cars would look and sound like. With the sad departure of the glorious v8 engines I was quite curious of what new innovation the team's would try and invent such as the "F-duct" they could make. I think the season opener will be between Mercedes, Ferrari and McLaren.

  111. 07:31: 
    Red Bull screens

    Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo is back in the pits. As soon as they roll the Australian back into the garage, a few mechanics swoop in with their big blue screens to shied from prying eyes.

  112. 07:26: 

    Jenson Button improves to a 1:38.3, but he's still 2.5 seconds adrift of Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes. Pastor Maldonado has set his first lap time of the day in the Lotus. He's 5.3 seconds off the pace.

  113. 07:22: 

    It's a British 1-2 as Lewis Hamilton goes quickest in the Mercedes with a 1:35.8, three seconds quicker than Jenson Button in the McLaren.

  114.   
    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson

    "It's well known that Renault are some way behind their rivals on performance at the moment - its problems have, after all, been the story of the pre-season so far. But most teams and drivers have publicly danced around the subject a little, restricting themselves to remarks such as 'there is a lot of work to do' (S. Vettel). But on Thursday Caterham's Kamui Kobayashi came right out and said it. 'We meet some other cars and clearly we can see the Mercedes cars are much quicker in the straights, 20-30km/h more and it would mean different braking points, everything, if we had proper power.' Stating the obvious it might be, but full marks to Kobayashi for telling it like it is."

  115. 07:18: 
    GO! GO! GO!
    Marussia

    The Marussia has been returned to its owners which means the session can restart at last. Red Bull waste no time and send Daniel Ricciardo out for an installation lap.

  116. 07:12: 
    RED FLAG

    We're still under red flag conditions as marshals remove the stricken Marussia from the track.

  117. 07:11: 
    Felipe Massa

    F1 journalist Dan Knutson: Felipe Massa is monitoring things from the pit wall this morning along with the Williams' engineers and Pat Symonds, second from left.

  118. 07:06: 

    To answer Muffin's question, an installation lap is the first lap - or laps - done at a circuit, testing functions such as throttle, brakes and steering and gather data before heading back to the pits without crossing the finish line. Once teams are happy with the settings, they will begin their programme.

  119.  
    Get involved- #bbcf1

    Muffin in Kent: Testing so far has been more exciting than half of last season since we don't know the results before they happen anymore, good changes in my opinion! Can someone explain the point of the 'installation lap' please?

  120.  

    Marussia: Max stopped out on track at turn 4. More news once the car is back

  121. 07:01: 

    Before Max Chilton's Marussia ground to a halt on track, three other drivers had joined Esteban Gutierrez on the timesheets.

    The Sauber still leads the way, with a time of 1:40.261, with Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat 1.7 seconds adrift. Caterham's Marcus Ericsson and Chilton are around six seconds off the pace.

  122. 06:56: 
    RED FLAG

    F1 journalist Dan Knutson: Daniel Ricciardo was just getting ready to go out in the Red Bull for the first time this morning when the red flags stopped the session because Max Chilton's Marussia stopped on track.

  123.   
    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson
    Kevin Magnussen

    "Were it not for the ongoing dramas afflicting Red Bull, it's arguable that the biggest story of pre-season testing would have been the impact McLaren's new driver Kevin Magnussen is making. The Dane was fastest of all on Thursday - just as he had been on one of the days in Jerez - and while the time was done on super-soft tyres there was no doubting that promoting Magnussen is looking like a seriously good call by McLaren. He looks born to it, and he is revelling in the new F1, as well. 'We are in a good place,' he said, before handing over to Jenson Button for the final two days. 'We need to work very hard but we are not looking too bad.'"

  124. 06:51: 
    Get involved- #bbcf1

    These testing live texts are always more fun if you get involved. After all, you don't want to listen to me wittering on all day. So why not tweet us using the #bbcf1 hashtag or text 81111 (UK only) with your F1-related chat.

    Do you agree with Andrew's earlier thoughts that this has been one of the most fascinating pre-testing periods in a long time? Will Red Bull catch up in time before the season opener? Who do you think will be at the front in Melbourne? And are these 'unique' looking noses starting to grow on you?

  125. 06:47: 

    This is the second of three test sessions which take place before the 2014 season starts in Melbourne, Australia on 16 March. Each tests last four days with eight hours of running per day. The third and final test is also in Bahrain and starts next Thursday.

    This season also marks the return of in-season testing, with teams staying on after the Bahrain, Spanish, British and Abu Dhabi Grands Prix to test on Tuesday and Wednesday.

  126.   
    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson
    Bahrain paddock

    "Formula 1 has ever been a bubble, focused largely on itself, and Bahrain provides a physical manifestation of that. It's hard to think of a place that has a more stark contrast between the F1 circuit, and what's going on outside. It has to be said that Bahrain is not the most prepossessing, nor attractive, of places, and the moral discomfort provided by the ongoing civil unrest in the Gulf state hardly helps on that front, but the paddock at Sakhir is one of the more pleasant on the calendar. Pockets of grass and palm trees provide oasis-like refuges from the heat of the day, and at night it takes on an especially delightful character. Fairylights are draped around the palm trees and the warm desert night air makes it a rather lovely place to be."

  127. 06:42: 

    No sign of Ferrari or Red Bull as yet, but there is still plenty of time for that to change. The session should run until 14:00 GMT.

  128. 06:36: 

    Pastor Maldonado has popped out for a spin in the Lotus, with it's distinctive 'twin-tusk' nose, as has rookie Daniil Kvyat in the Toro Rosso. Only installation laps for them, though, and they're soon back in the pits without setting a time.

  129. 06:30: 

    Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez, William's Valtteri Bottas and McLaren's Jenson Button are among the earlier runners to hit the track, but only Gutierrez has so far set a lap time. The Mexican clocks a best time of 1:40.261 to go top, obviously.

  130. 06:25: 
    Williams pit crew

    Williams look like they'll be focusing on the pit stop practice today, the team tweeting that they've brought the full race team pit crew to the track today.

  131.   
    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson

    "There's no doubt this has been one of the most fascinating periods of pre-season testing for some time. Not only is there the interest of the biggest rule change for years, but that has had a direct impact on some of the teams. And the biggest of all has so far been hit hardest. Red Bull finally got some decent running under their belts on Thursday in Bahrain - just as the 12 days of testing hit their halfway point. But Sebastian Vettel was still way off the pace and admitted there was "still a lot to sort out from the Red Bull side and the Renault side'."

  132. 06:22: 

    Teams are only allowed to run one car during testing, which means drivers must share driving duties. Who's where today I hear you ask? Well...

    Red Bull - Daniel Ricciardo

    Mercedes - Lewis Hamilton

    Ferrari - Kimi Raikkonen

    Lotus - Pastor Maldonado

    McLaren - Jenson Button

    Force India - Sergio Perez

    Sauber - Esteban Gutierrez

    Toro Rosso - Daniil Kvyat

    Williams - Valtteri Bottas/Felipe Massa

    Marussia - Max Chilton

    Caterham - Marcus Ericsson

  133. 06:18: 

    Morning everybody and welcome to live text commentary of day three of the second pre-season test in Bahrain. As you'd expect in the desert, the sun is shining and it's a beautiful day. Perfect conditions for testing, then.

  134. 06:15: 
    Sebastian Vettel

    Have Red Bull finally turned a corner? Well that might be going a bit far but Thursday was certainly, by some margin, the best day of running which they've had with their 2014 car. Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel managed 59 laps, more than double what the team had managed on the previous five days of testing.

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