The session featured the first red flag interruption of practice, with Sergio Perez stopping in the final sector for the final hour.
Unlike the start of the first day’s first session, there was a reduced rush to head straight for the circuit when the morning action kicked off at 9 a.m. local time.
McLaren’s Ricciardo led the early times, but with large aerodynamic measuring rakes fitted to all the cars that entered the initial race – McLaren, Alpine, Williams, AlphaTauri, Aston Martin and Ferrari – the laps came in nearly 15 seconds slower than the fastest times on day one as teams instructed their drivers to run down the straights at a constant low speed.
Lewis Hamilton came out 20 minutes into the four-hour session and set the first representative time of the day – 1m28.799s on the C3 medium compound tires – although still far from the fastest times recorded so far in testing.
The times started to drop when Esteban Ocon clocked a series of 1m24s on the hard, but not the hardest, C2 tire to work the first-place benchmark at 1m24.231s with 40 minutes gone.
He was then substituted at the end of the drive as the first hour began to wind down with Lance Stroll’s string of fastest times aboard the Aston, the best of which was 1m22.620s.
But Carlos Sainz took the lead a few minutes later to finish the opening hour in the lead with a 1m21.010s, shod on C3 tyres.
As the laps piled up throughout the morning, the Spaniard improved the fast times in the stages.
He clocked 1m28.890s in a run on the C3s 90 minutes later before improving again to 1m20.546s – on the same compound – just after halfway through the session.
This weather was the best for most of the rest of the morning, before a flurry of fast times before the lunch break upset the order.
The late action followed Perez stopping on the exit of Turn 13 with just under 40 minutes remaining and coming to a halt on the track as his car returned to the pits on a truck after being bagged by Red mechanics Bull, which had been sent for salvage. scene.
Red Bull were quick to attribute the stoppage to a gearbox problem, but claim the fault had already been rectified before the Mexican returned to the cockpit this afternoon.
The stoppage lasted over 20 minutes, after which Ricciardo jumped past long-time leader Sainz, passing fastest in a 1m20.335s on the C3 tyres.
Sainz’s effort earlier in the morning remained second, while Gasly’s post-red flag improvement left him third.
Gasly edged out Williams driver Alex Albon, who spent the first hour completing a series of set-up laps and aero-rake tests well behind the times, before climbing in order with a run on the C3s at the start of the second hour.
Stroll finished the morning fifth for Aston, ahead of Mick Schumacher.
The Haas rider completed a major run for the first time in the test after his day one afternoon was badly compromised by a ground problem, but his Thursday morning run also featured a spin on the exit downhill just before the slow chicane at the end of the last sector at the start of the last hour.
Perez had barely left the Red Bull garage at the start of the race before clocking in 38 laps, the best of which on the C2 tyre, as Red Bull once again focused on the harder compound.
He was relegated to eighth place by Valtteri Bottas just before the end of the session at 1pm local time, the Finn logging just 19 laps as Alfa Romeo’s difficult start to testing continued.
Hamilton did not leave the pits after the red flag and finished the first session with the ninth fastest time, riding the C2 tyres, which Esteban Ocon also used for his fastest lap on his first morning aboard the new challenger from Alpine who posted the slowest time in Thursday’s First Session.
Like yesterday morning, Ferrari topped the lap count as Sainz completed 71 laps, nine short of the tally run by team-mate Charles Leclerc on Wednesday.
Haas and Alpine, but completed 66 laps each, with the former limited to just 43 over the full eight hours yesterday.
McLaren completed 65 laps, while Red Bull – held back by Alfa’s limited mileage – landed 38 homers before Perez was pitted. Mercedes completed 40 laps, seventh of the 10 teams.
|3||Pierre Gasly||Alpha Tauri||1:20.764||+0.409s||60/C3|
|5||Spear Stroll||Aston Martin||1:21.920||+1.565s||55/C2|
|7||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo||1:22.288||+1.933s||21/C3|
|8||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||1:22.412||+2.057s||38/C2|