The morning sun is shining over Bahrain, igniting the second day of pre-season testing with one question burning bright: can anyone dethrone Red Bull after Max Verstappen’s blistering performance on Wednesday?

Red Bull's reigning world champion asserted his dominance at the wheel of the team’s new RB20, posting the fastest lap, but the true pecking order – at least behind the bulls – remains hidden beneath layers of sand and secrecy.

This morning, Sergio Perez will take over from his pace-setting teammate. But unlike yesterday, Red Bull has split its day between its two drivers, with Mercedes the only team to run a single driver – in this case Lewis Hamilton – on Day 2.

Verstappen topped the lap tally on Wednesday, while Williams was at the lower range in terms of mileage after the team suffered a troubled opening day.

Alex Albon was hit with a fuel pump failure in the morning while Logan Sargeant was halted following a driveshaft issue. So there will be some catching up to do in the Williams camp on Thursday.

There were no positive surprises for Haas on the performance front, with Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg closing out the field by a wide margin on Wednesday.

However, there was a silver lining for the US outfit which clocked in at the end of the day with the greatest lap count as a team, demonstrating that it Vf-24 is at least reliable, in line with the pre-season hopes of new team boss Ayao Komatsu.

Once again, the day will kick off at 07:00 GMT (08:00 CET) and conclude at 16:00 GMT (17:00 CET), with a one hour pause scheduled at 12:00 GMT (13:00 CET).

Provisional Day 2 driver line-ups for Bahrain F1 pre-season test:

Friday February 24
Red Bull
AM Sergio Perez PM Max Verstappen
Mercedes
AM Lewis Hamilton PM Lewis Hamilton
Ferrari
AM Charles Leclerc PM Carlos Sainz
McLaren
AM Oscar Piastri PM Lando Norris
Aston Martin
AM Fernando Alonso PM Lance Stroll
Alpine 
AM Pierre Gasly PM Esteban Ocon
Williams
AM Logan Sargeant PM Alex Albon
Via Cash App Rb
AM Yuki Tsunoda PM Daniel Ricciardo
Sauber
AM Zhou Guanyu PM Valtteri Bottas
Haas
AM Nico Hulkenberg PM Kevin Magnussen

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Michael Delaney

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