2024 Bahrain GP FP2: Lewis Hamilton & Mercedes Fastest

In the second practice session of F1 in 2024, Mercedes showed exceptional speed, leading the pack in Bahrain, with Red Bull to catch up.


By Ben Bush
Updated on March 4, 2024

Lewis Hamilton FP2 Bahrain 2024
Lewis Hamilton, FP2, Bahrain 2024

At the end of FP2, Lewis Hamilton ensured Mercedes clinched the top two positions during the first day of action of the 2024 Formula 1 season, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen lagging behind in sixth spot.

Hamilton, who has not claimed a win in two years and is embarking on his last season with Mercedes before his astonishing move to Ferrari in 2025, stood out during the second practice session in the evening at the Bahrain International Circuit. He edged out his teammate George Russell by 0.206 seconds, clocking the fastest lap at 1:30.374 in the newly introduced W15 car of the once-dominant team.

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Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso finished third, followed by Carlos Sainz for Ferrari in fourth, and McLaren’s Oscar Piastri in fifth.

“It’s a shock to see us where we are but we will take it for now, but we can’t get ahead of ourselves,” said Hamilton.

“We need to keep our heads down, keep working on the set-up and try and extract more.”

Heading into this week, Red Bull, the current world champions and the widely acknowledged frontrunners of the preseason, found themselves trailing behind their main competitors in terms of outright speed, with Verstappen almost half a second slower than Hamilton’s leading time.

However, the full capabilities of the RB20 are yet to be unveiled, and its true performance will only be definitively known during the first qualifying session of 2024, scheduled for 4 pm on Friday.

The specific fuel loads and configurations used during practice sessions, as well as in the previous week’s testing, remain undisclosed. It’s plausible that Red Bull has been employing a more cautious approach with their settings to conceal the car’s actual performance capabilities.

Regardless of Red Bull’s strategic reservations, Mercedes seems to be in a much better position at the start of this season than in the previous two years under the current set of regulations.

The British duo driving for Mercedes have praised the W15, finding it significantly more agreeable to handle than its predecessors from 2022 and 2023. The team is optimistic that this model will serve as a more effective development platform throughout the 24-race season.

Verstappen, who effortlessly won last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix, setting the stage for the most dominant title win in F1 history, commented: “It was not too bad. It’s just very close. Maybe some people around us already turned their engine a bit in terms of top speed.

“We just focus on ourselves. There were a few little balance issues from front to rear but nothing big, it’s just about trying to find that sweet spot.”

Second Practice Results

2024 Bahrain Grand Prix, 29 February 2024

Pos.DriverNumberTeamFastest LapLaps
1Lewis Hamilton44Mercedes1:30.37425
2George Russell63Mercedes1:30.58023
3Fernando Alonso14Aston Martin1:30.66022
4Carlos Sainz55Ferrari1:30.76925
5Oscar Piastri81McLaren1:30.78427
6Max Verstappen1Red Bull1:30.85125
7Nico Hulkenberg27Haas1:30.88423
8Lance Stroll18Aston Martin1:30.89126
9Charles Leclerc16Ferrari1:31.11326
10Sergio Perez11Red Bull1:31.11526
11Alexander Albon23Williams1:31.33326
12Daniel Ricciardo3RB1:31.51626
13Logan Sargeant2Williams1:31.71527
14Kevin Magnussen20Haas1:31.76427
15Yuki Tsunoda22RB1:31.88129
16Pierre Gasly10Alpine1:31.95125
17Valtteri Bottas77Sauber1:32.00124
18Esteban Ocon31Alpine1:32.02725
19Zhou Guanyu24Sauber1:32.04828
20Lando Norris4McLaren1:32.60825

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About The Author

Chief Editor

Ben Bush

Ben is our chief editor specialising in F1 from the 1990s to the modern era. Ben has been following Formula 1 since 1986 and is an avid researcher who loves understanding the technology that makes it one of the most exciting motorsport on the planet. He listens to podcasts about F1 on a daily basis, and enjoys reading books from the inspirational Adrian Newey to former F1 drivers.

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