Kevin Magnussen finished the second day of the Bahrain test on top of the time sheets, by a massive 1.5 seconds. The McLaren set the time late in the day on the softer Pirelli rubber. His time of 1m34.910 was two seconds quicker than Sebastian Vettel’s fastest lap at last years Bahrain Grand Prix. Nico Hulkenberg finished the day in second place in his Force India. The German had finished on top on day 1 and had looked to have set today’s fastest time until Magnussen’s lap at the end of the day. Hulkenbergs time of 1m36.445 was a tenth ahead of Fernando Alonso who finished third in his Ferrari, completing 97 laps.
Nico Rosberg ended the day in fourth place with a time of 1m36.965 after setting 85 laps in the Mercedes. Valtteri Bottas managed to complete the most laps out of the entire field with a mammoth 116. The Finn finished the day in fifth with a time of 1m37.328. Kamui Kobayashi’s Caterham set a time of 1m39.855 over the course of 66 laps and finished the day half a second clear of Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull in sixth.
Red Bull had a much more productive day, with Vettel racking up 59 laps. His time of 1m40.340 was almost five and a half seconds slower than pace setter Magnussen. Ricciardo takes over for the last two days of this weeks test. Jean-Eric Vergne’s Toro Rosso finished in eighth with a time of 1m40.609. The Frenchman completed 58 laps for the day. Esteban Gutierrez was a tenth down in his Sauber, the Mexican managed to complete 55 laps as the Swiss team focused on car management and understanding the brakes. Romain Grosjean’s Lotus completed 18 laps in a time of 1m41.670. Max Chilton’s Marussia brought up the rear with a time of 1m42.511 having completed just 17 laps for the day.
Sauber have confirmed that Esteban Gutierrez will stay at the team for the 2014 season.
In a late announcement on Saturday, the Sauber team announced the 22-year-old Mexican will partner up with German driver Adrian Sutil for next season. The Swiss teams sponsorship deal with Mexican telecommunications company Telmex will also continue next year.
Despite Gutierrez’s only points of the season coming from his seventh place at the Japanese Grand Prix, Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn said the rookie deserves another chance: “Last season he experienced first-hand how hard it can be for a rookie to step into Formula 1.
“Nevertheless, throughout the season he improved significantly in qualifying as well as in the races and finished the season as the best rookie in the drivers’ championship.
“Often the results didn’t fully reflect his performances. I am confident Esteban will be able to use his experiences to gain results.”
Gutierrez said: “It was a steep learning curve last season, but by working closely with the team I was able to improve continuously. It will be my fourth year with the team, the second as a racing driver, and I feel comfortable in taking the next step.”
The news comes after a couple of week of speculation with regards to Gutierrez’s future. The young Mexican rookie had been looking around the Caterham and Marussia team factory in early December.
Sauber also announced that 18-year-old Russian driver Sergey Sirotkin will become a test driver for the team, as they look to develop his skills to become a future F1 driver. Given his lack of experience in top machinery, the Sauber deemed it too much of a risk to throw the Russian straight in at the deep end.