McLaren's Kevin Magnussen was fastest on Day Two of Bahrain's first pre-season test
Red Bull finally start stringing laps together on Thursday
By Mike Wise
Last Updated: 21/02/14 7:39am
Magnussen set the fastest time of all at Jerez three weeks ago and with McLaren's new Racing Director Eric Boullier this time looking on, the Danish rookie once again gave an inkling of his potential by setting a time of 1:34.910s - his MP4-29 albeit completing just 46 laps for the day.
By the time the chequered flag was waved, the 21-year-old was over 1.5s faster than Nico Hulkenberg's Force India, with Magnussen running supersoft tyres at the time he recorded his quickest laps while Hulkenberg was on softs.
Mercedes-powered cars once again featured prominently, although Fernando Alonso prevented total domination for the German manufacturer with the third fastest time in his Ferrari.
Alonso left it late in his 96-lap tally to move up the timesheets but he ended the day clear of Nico Rosberg's Mercedes, who managed to complete 85 laps but nevertheless stopped twice on track. The first stoppage came as early as his installation lap while the second came during the afternoon. Both problems were relatively minor, however, with faulty sensors on the W05 to blame.
Next up was the Williams of Valtteri Bottas but of greater significance was his tally of 116 laps - the most anyone managed and 111 more than their Wednesday total.
Red Bull did not complete half that amount but 59 laps still represents a step in the right direction after their well-documented problems with the RB10.
World Champion Sebastian Vettel was seventh fastest behind Kamui Kobayashi's Caterham on his final day in the car this week, but Red Bull will be happier with the track time he managed - the German stringing together a longest stint of nine laps without problem.
It's an effort that pales into significance when compared with those of their main rivals - Mercedes managed more than a race distance in Spain - but Red Bull admitted on Wednesday they are still in a position where reliability is being built one lap at a time.
"To be honest I think the last two days have been very useful, Vettel said.
"We did a lot more laps today than yesterday and I hope that Daniel is able to do more laps tomorrow as there is a lot of stuff to do every day - programming and stuff so everything communicates to each other properly.
"In terms of the car we still have some stuff to sort out so it is very busy on both the Red Bull and Renault side. But it is good that we got some running and some more information and now we have some more homework."
Behind Vettel came Jean-Eric Vergne as Toro Rosso mirrored their 'senior' team in appearing to show a small - but doubtless substantial to them - step. Vergne also completed 58 laps, one day after team-mate Daniil Kvyat managed just five - although the Frenchman did also bring out red flags after stopping on track.
Esteban Gutierrez was ninth fastest for Sauber ahead of Romain Grosjean, whose two days in Lotus's E22 totalled 26 laps.
The Frenchman, who admitted on Wednesday that the delayed arrival of the team's new car has left them with no real choice other than concentrating on trying to ensure its reliability ahead of the season-opener in Melbourne, finished ahead of Max Chilton, who managed 17 laps in his Marussia.
Bahrain Test, Day Two timesheet:
1. Kevin Magnussen, McLaren, 1:34.910, 46 laps
2. Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, 1:36.445, 59 laps
3. Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 1:36.516, 97 laps
4. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1:36.965, 85 laps
5. Valtteri Bottas, Williams, 1:37.328, 116 laps
6. Kamui Kobayashi, Caterham, 1:39.855, 66 laps
7. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 1:40.340, 59 laps
8. Jean-Eric Vergne, Toro Rosso, 1:40.609, 58 laps
9. Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber, 1:40.717, 55 laps
10. Romain Grosjean, Lotus, 1:41.670, 18 laps
11. Max Chilton, Marussia, 1:42.511, 17 laps.
Overall lap totals by each engine manufacturer during pre-season:
Mercedes - 1419
Ferrari - 762
Renault - 447.
Overall lap totals by each team during pre-season:
Mercedes - 468.
Ferrari - 412.
McLaren - 372.
Sauber - 300.
Williams - 296.
Force India - 283.
Caterham - 210
Toro Rosso - 117
Red Bull - 94.
Marussia - 50.
Lotus - 26.
The Sky Sports F1 Online team will be providing live commentary of all three winter tests, with live updates from trackside also on Sky Sports News.