Fastest was Valtteri Bottas who finally was able to control the diva Mercedes to get a headline time finishing just a tenth ahead of Pierre Gasly in the AlphaTauri.
Mercedes have had a tricky test with a very lively car that they have struggled to tame with their morning session woes compounded by a spin for Lewis Hamilton.
A top of the timing sheets lap on C5 tyres is, for cynics, a good way to silence a few of the comments about Mercedes’ poor start and give a bit of a boost to the team on the ground.
But it is also a definite improvement for the team who have performed respectably to get a handle on the car.
They still don’t look as perfect as usual but they know what they are doing and we still have a whole third of testing to go.
It was a strong day for the majority of teams with a lot of solid running which was needed after compromised running yesterday afternoon combined with such a compact testing schedule this year.
With only three days of testing, teams need to be squeaky clean so they can be on top of as much of their car as possible when the season starts in two weeks.
Gasly finished the day second after putting in a mega shift in the evening session setting lap after lap in the incredibly stable and user friendly AlphaTauri.
At the end of the session, Lance Stroll went third fastest for Aston Martin with a laptime close to that of Bottas and Gasly
Fourth today was Lando Norris who along with Daniel Ricciardo has had a very successful test with last years third place finishers, McLaren. There were discussions about why McLaren were not sending the car out much early on but the word from them was simply because they were going very well and were on top of everything.
Antonio Giovinazzi had a solid day fifth with the Alfa Romeo looking incredibly stable.
A compliment that cannot be extended to the Ferrari team.
Continuing on from the skittish, unconfident performance from Carlos Sainz this morning, Charles Leclerc took over control of the car for the evening session and rounded out sixth on the C5 tyre in what has been a tricky couple of days so far.
Nicholas Latifi was seventh in his only day in the car with George Russell taking over tomorrow for the final day of the test.
Sergio Perez was eighth place in his first day for Red Bull setting his fastest time on the C2 hard tyre with the team not bothering with qualifying simulations but was still only 1.3s behind the lead time three compounds down. Not that times mean anything, but they exist so yes.
Perez had a weird moment when he pulled out from the slipstream of Latifi and the change in pressure ripped the engine cover off the car and left debris across the track.
— Formula 1 (@F1) March 13, 2021
He was able to make it back out pretty quickly though and there were few issues to follow for anyone.
Daniel Ricciardo’s time from the morning session stayed for him to register the ninth best time ahead of the returning Fernando Alonso.
Alonso ran race runs all afternoon with a lot of mileage under his belt after a positive test so far for Alpine.
Current status: 🕳🛑 pic.twitter.com/8iCOC7T7Ob
— Alpine F1 Team (@AlpineF1Team) March 13, 2021
Yuki Tsunoda’s morning time stood ahead of Mick Schumacher’s evening Haas running who finished just ahead of his teammate Nikita Mazepin.
Haas ran good mileage as well and stuck to their own programmes.
Rounding out the times for the day were the troubled performers of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel who both had compromised sessions.
Hamilton spun due to the sensitive rear end on the car and Vettel suffered a gearbox issue that kept him in the garage most of the morning.
Tomorrow is the final day of testing with Formula 1 really back in business now Mercedes have topped a time sheet.
🏁 TOP TEN (END OF DAY 2) 🏁
— Formula 1 (@F1) March 13, 2021