Miguel A. HerguedasSpecial Envoy Sakhir

Special Envoy Sakhir

Updated Thursday, February 29, 2024-18:02

  • Free 1 The favorites play at distraction

It was a sideways pout, perhaps a simple reflex act, but

Toto Wolff

wanted to show the world that this year Mercedes really intends to put up a fight.

As soon as

Lewis Hamilton

closed one of his laps, the leader of the Silver Arrows turned in front of the cameras, halfway between enigma and comedy.

It was his way of celebrating the Mercedes double during the second practice session in Sakhir.

An afternoon full of incentives in Sakhir, with

Fernando Alonso


Carlos Sainz

in privileged positions.

Hamilton led the table (1:30.374) with two tenths ahead of

George Russell

and 28 hundredths over the Aston Martin leader (1:30.660).

A warning about Mercedes' intentions, Alonso's speed and Sainz's desire.

After a morning where no favorite dared to use the soft tires, the afternoon session truly lived up to expectations.


Max Verstappen

continued to complain about the discomfort in driving when engaging the gears and

Sergio Pérez

was lost in inconsequentiality, Mercedes was finally able to present its W15 in society.

Alonso, the last of those chosen to polish his time, maintained notable solidity in the rounds.

In fact, he was able to close one of his last simulations with three times almost nailed at 1:36.8.

Marko's calculations

Sainz, meanwhile, put his action plan on the table, showing Ferrari's strengths.

Charles Leclerc

, for his part, was hindered in one of his attempts by

Lance Stroll


According to Helmut Marko

's latest calculations

, Red Bull maintains a three-tenth advantage, although with this tight outlook, anyone could join the party.

Including McLaren.


Oscar Piastri

finished fifth, with a record in the second sector (38.6), precisely where Verstappen had demonstrated his hierarchy during the tests.

The Woking team intends to continue the second half of the 2023 World Cup, when it emerged as the second team on the grid, thanks to its power on high-speed routes.

To do this, he must overcome his terrible streak in Sakhir - where he has not even scored a point in the last two editions - and the reliability problems that led him to the second worst lap record during the preseason, only ahead of Williams.

Lando Norris

, who had been looking good, finished last on the table, with


problems .

The Mercedes, who had hidden their best cards up their sleeve during the tests, ran on rails this time.

The first sign that the W15 is more than just a car with a beautiful appearance.

And that

James Allison

, the technical director, finally got it right by throwing the 2022 designs into the trash can.