Formula 1: Haas’ Kevin Magnussen quickest at Bahrain testing on comeback
Denmark's Kevin Magnussen has surprised many with his performance at the pre-season testing at Bahrain International Circuit on Friday ahead of the season opener. On his comeback stint at Formula 1, Magnussen emerged as the quickest on the track, beating former world champions Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton as well as pre-season favourites like Ferrari. The Friday run appears to be a shot in the arm for Haas, which failed to earn any points last season with Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin, ahead of the F1 season that kicks off on March 20 in Bahrain.
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Magnussen emerged the fastest on the second day of the Bahrain Formula One pre-season test, beating Ferrari's Carlos Sainz by a whisker, during extra running after the official end of track action. Sainz was the fastest driver until Magnussen's late flier with a timing of one minute 33.207 seconds.
Haas F1 team were allowed to test four extra hours as they were unable to hit the track during the first half of Thursday's opening day due to late arrival of their car. Haas team plans to start an hour early today and put in two extra hours during the final day of the test.
Kevin Magnussen, who used to be part of the Haas F1 team till 2020, made a comeback to the racing circuit with a multi-year contract. He has joined Mick Schumacher after Haas removed Russia's Nikita Mazepin amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict. Mazepin and his father Dmitry have been named on an EU sanctions blacklist after being fired by the US-owned F1 team following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Earlier, Sainz clocked one minute 33.532 seconds, 0.479 seconds quicker than reigning world champion Max Verstappen from Red Bull team. Sainz's performance has validated hype around Ferrari being the pre-season favourites.
Aston Martin's Lance Stroll emerged fourth while former world champion Lewis Hamilton, looking for a record eighth title, struggled with his new Mercedes livery, emerging fifth quickest.