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LIVE COMMENTARY: BAHRAIN SECOND 2014 TEST - TEST DAY TWO
   GO TO LIVE INDEX ALL TIMES GMT  
As it happened: Test day two
By Pablo Elizalde, Matt Beer, Edd Straw, Glenn Freeman and Ben Anderson
The live commentary has ended. No further updates will be posted.
05:59 Welcome to AUTOSPORT's live coverage of day two of the second pre-season Formula 1 test from Bahrain.

06:00 The first day of this test has already given us much to talk about, and it will be fascinating to see how the storylines surrounding Red Bull and Renault develop from here onwards.

06:01 Here is today's full driver line-up:

Red Bull – Sebastian Vettel
Mercedes – Nico Rosberg
Ferrari – Fernando Alonso
Lotus – Romain Grosjean
McLaren - Kevin Magnussen
Force India – Nico Hulkenberg
Sauber – Esteban Gutierrez
Toro Rosso – Jean-Eric Vergne
Williams – Valtteri Bottas
Marussia – Max Chilton
Caterham – Kamui Kobayashi

06:03 After a troubled day yesterday, Toro Rosso is the first team to venture out, as Jean-Eric Vergne gets his first lap of this test.

He'll be hoping for more mileage than team-mate Daniil Kvyat managed yesterday, as the GP3 champion completed just five laps in the STR9.

Vergne is joined on track by Nico Rosberg, who has taken over the Mercedes from Lewis Hamilton for today.

06:05 With Rosberg and Esteban Gutierrez out on track, we have our first red flag of the day.

06:06 Gutierrez has made it back to the pits, while there is no sign of Rosberg.

06:09 The day has started with a minor piece of news here in the paddock, as Lotus and Renault have announced an extension of their engine partnership.

We'll have more on the story shortly.

06:11 Rosberg's car has returned to the pits.

Lewis Hamilton06:13 We don't know the circumstances of Rosberg's stoppage just yet, but the fact that the Mercedes only completed half a lap this morning before causing a red flag backs up Lewis Hamilton's comments from yesterday.

The 2008 world champion claimed that Mercedes - which has consistently been towards the top of the mileage charts so far in pre-season, has not been without its own problems so far in 2014.

"Although it looks like we are doing a lot of laps, it's still a massive challenge for us," he told reporters in the paddock yesterday evening.

06:28 Reliability is bound to be a topic throughout testing, and probably for most of the season as well.

BEN ANDERSON spoke to Ferrari's deputy chief designer Simone Resta about the pressures of making the cars reliable, particularly in terms of heat management.

"It is fair to say I don't have any real information to judge where we are compared with the others," he said. "I know that we have invested quite a lot on the front compared to last year knowing that the challenge is more, so we just focused all our effort and tried to improve compared to before.

"I think [yesterday was] a very good day, miles on the track, with long-ish runs, adapting the driver to the car and vice versa, good day of testing, good first day of testing. No major issues, nothing major to report."

06:29 The track is open again, and Toro Rosso sends Vergne straight back out.

Alonso, Kobayashi, Hulkenberg, Gutierrez and Magnussen join him.

06:31 Vergne is the first car to stay out and pass the pits. Is this a sign that Toro Rosso is serious about catching up on yesterday's lost mileage?

06:33 We have our first laptime on the board - a 1m45.244s from Vergne.

06:34 Here's the full story of Lotus and Renault's new deal:

Lotus and Renault finalise multi-year deal

The fact that the E22 turned up with a Renault engine yesterday hinted that the already-obvious news of their 2014 partnership would be confirmed, but the multi-year aspect shores up the relationship after Lotus briefly looked elsewhere.

06:34 Yesterday's pacesetter Nico Hulkenberg is starting the day with a large aero-measuring device in front of his left sidepod.

Meanwhile, Vergne is still going round and continues to improve his laptime.

06:36 As Vergne drops down to the 1m42s, he also matches the lap count (five) of his team-mate Kvyat from day one.

06:39 Max Chilton has completed an installation lap already this morning, but there is no sign of him on the timing screens as his transponder is not working at the moment.

Vergne is still on track, and already has more laps under his belt today than his team managed yesterday.

Toro Rosso was clearly not amused with its day's work, as all of the team's media commitments were cancelled last night. If this kind of running continues through today, you would imagine the team will be happy to talk about its progress later.

06:45 As Vergne continues to run, here's an interesting choice of re-tweet from his Toro Rosso team this morning:

Re-tweeted by Toro Rosso: "@RenaultSportF1: Now back to the track action - second day in Bahrain. Still a hefty job list but mood is confident"

Vergne now pits, with 10 laps chalked up for today already.

06:46 Mercedes says that Rosberg made it as far as Turn 8 before stopping to cause that earlier red flag. "Team investigating now".

06:48 The sound of Bottas taking the Williams out of the pits breaks the silence on track.

06:51 We're 50 minutes into today's running and we've already seen nine cars.

Only Red Bull and Lotus are yet to take to the track for at least an installation lap.

06:53 Williams - another team to miss out on the majority of yesterday's action (with a fuel system issue) - is hoping to play catch-up today:

@WilliamsF1Team: "Our day two programme effectively our day one programme as we start to work through yesterday's planned aero runs #Bahrain"

06:57 Chilton - transponder now up and running - joins Vergne on the leaderboard.

06:58 We've had our first glimpse of the Red Bull too, as Sebastian Vettel takes the RB10 out of the pits.

07:04 Chilton continues to improve, as Marussia becomes the second team to make a point of catching up on lost running from yesterday.

07:06 Magnussen becomes the third driver to set a time today.

07:07 Vergne's busy morning continues - he's back on track and has lowered today's benchmark.

His time at the top is promptly then brought to an end by Magnussen's McLaren.

Rosberg Mercedes07:08 Here's a sight that might comfort those teams that have struggled for mileage while their silver rivals pound relentlessly round and round - it's Nico Rosberg's Mercedes W05 on the back of a lorry after its earlier problem.

07:10 Magnussen is the first driver today to dip under the 1m40s mark.

Yesterday's best time - from Nico Hulkenberg's Force India - was a 1m36.880s.

07:16 The only car on track at the moment is the Toro Rosso, which has already got 17 laps under its belt in Vergne's hands today.

07:18 After that earlier problem that caused him to stop on track, Rosberg has headed back out in the Mercedes. By 2014 standards, that has to go down as a pretty quick fix.

07:19 As Vergne follows Rosberg back into the pits (19 laps in the bag for the Frenchman), Bottas heads out with the track to himself.

07:20 Bottas's first timed lap of the day takes him to the top of the pile.

07:24 The Finn improves again in the Williams, taking him comfortably more than one second clear of the rest at this early stage as yet another of day one's trouble hit teams waste little time getting some work done today.

07:25 Talking of teams that had a first day to forget, we have our first time on the board for Vettel in the Red Bull.

Red Bull, Bahrain F1 test 201407:28 As Vettel pits after a slow first sector and a personal best second sector, here's a picture clearly showing what Red Bull's primary concern was when he returned from an earlier run, with two fire extinguishers on call at the rear of the car.

07:34 Vergne and Rosberg are on track at the moment, and both are setting personal best times.

07:38 Alonso's first timed lap of the day also makes him the first person to dip under 1m38s this morning. That puts him fastest.

07:41 Only two cars (Toro Rosso and Williams) are into double figures on the lap count so far today, and there will be some satisfaction from Red Bull's secondary team as it has already hit the 25-lap mark in just over an hour and a half of running.

07:43 Alonso is still circulating after that session-topping time, but he has not completed another lap at a representative speed since then.

07:43 EDD STRAW: "While Williams had a difficult opening day of the Bahrain test (although Valtteri Bottas is currently second fastest today), the feeling in the paddock is that things are looking promising for the Mercedes-powered team with the new FW36.

"Things are looking positive off-track too, with some significant new sponsorship deals being put together. Most recently, Brazilian energy company Petrobras, which previously worked with the team for 11 years from 1998.

"Given the difficulty of finding and signing partners in F1 today, not to mention the fierce competition surrounding those who are interested, these sorts of deals show Williams must be doing a lot right.

"On-track, it's difficult to say where Williams will end up this season, but all the signs are that the team will do significantly better than it did in 2013."

07:43 And as we say that, Alonso sets a new fastest time for the day...

07:45 Following the pattern that he took after his first quick lap, Alonso's pace drops by 12 seconds after his latest best effort.

07:48 Red Bull's Twitter account shows the team hasn't quite lost its sense of humour just yet, poking fun at itself for the the lack of running so far.

"@redbullracing: Morning from Bahrain. 35 laps done at testing so far. Only 348 laps to go! Playing lap catch up @MercedesAMGF1 @InsideFerrari @McLarenF1"

07:49 Alonso tried to go again after that latest cool-down lap. He set a new fastest first sector, but by the end of the lap he had fallen slightly adrift.

07:51 Gutierrez and Sauber join the leaderboard with a first timed lap of the day.

And we have our first sighting of Romain Grosjean in the Lotus, so all 11 teams have made it out on track for at least one lap in the first two hours of running.

07:52 Yesterday's pacesetter Hulkenberg sets the Force India's first time of the day. That leaves only Kobayashi's Caterham (2 laps) and Grosjean's Lotus (1 lap) without a registered time.

07:54 Another improvement for Hulkenberg takes him to second behind Alonso.

Ferrari pitlane, Bahrain F1 test08:02 F1 teams love a bit of secrecy, and never more so than during testing.

Current pacesetter Alonso stopped in the pitlane earlier this morning, and within seconds of his crew reaching him to push the Ferrari F14 T back to the garage, the whole rear-end of the car was covered up with this rather unsightly package.

08:11 Bottas, Vergne and Chilton are on track at the moment. The Toro Rosso is now past the 30-lap mark for today.

Here's how the whole field stacks up so far:

Vergne (Toro Rosso) 32 laps
Gutierrez (Sauber) 20 laps
Rosberg (Mercedes) 18 laps
Alonso (Ferrari) 14 laps
Bottas (Williams) 12 laps
Hulkenberg (Force India) 11 laps
Chilton (Marussia) 10 laps
Magnussen (McLaren) 8 laps
Vettel (Red Bull) 4 laps
Kobayashi (Caterham) 2 laps
Grosjean (Lotus) 1 lap

08:13 New Caterham signing Kamui Kobayashi hasn't done many laps so far today. According to the team's Twitter feed:

@CaterhamF1: "We're having a couple of telemetry issues which mean we can't send @kamui_kobayashi on track yet... should be resolved soon."

08:15 The track is reasonably busy at the moment by 2014 testing standards, with Alonso, Bottas, Vergne, Chilton and Vettel all on track.

08:15 After two sectors on his latest lap Alonso is well on course to set a new fastest time for the day. So what does he do? He pits...

08:16 We have had an improvement from Vettel, although his 1m41.8s is less eye-catching than that Alonso lap would have been.

08:19 Mercedes has joined in with the testing banter that Red Bull started (at its own expense) earlier today (see 07:48).

@MercedesAMGF1: "@redbullracing @InsideFerrari @McLarenF1 Good morning fellow testers.. testing times for everyone. But testing times don't matter.. right?"

08:25 Grosjean posts the first time for the Lotus, a 1m41.6s.

08:27 Vettel is back in the pits, but that run was at least long enough to get Red Bull into double figures for the day. It sums up the team's pre-season so far that something so small can be considered a mini-triumph.

08:28 The Red Bull garage has an interested onlooker in our very own EDD STRAW:

"The car disappears behind screens into the garage and is descended on by the team.

"Nothing looks particularly wrong but is there a slight burning smell in the air? Certainly plenty of external cooling fans in use!"

08:30 You know teams are starting to get down to some proper work when mundane tasks such as passing through the pitlane and performing practice starts are on the agenda. Nico Rosberg is the lucky man carrying out such a task at the moment for Mercedes.

08:31 Caterham is now ready to send Kobayashi back out, according to its Twitter feed.

@CaterhamF1: "Sorted. Fire up and go."

08:31 Kobayashi makes it six cars on track, joining Alonso, Hulkenberg, Bottas, Rosberg and Grosjean.

08:33 That's a timed lap in the books for the Caterham, so we've got all 11 teams on the leaderboard today.

08:36 At the moment we have Alonso touring round more than 10s off the pace, Bottas lapping in the 1m44s, Vergne in the 1m41s, Grosjean in the 1m44s, and Kobayashi gradually building up speed in the Caterham.

08:38 From the pitlane EDD STRAW has more detail on Alonso's 'slow' laps at the moment, and hints that it could be the makings of a serious part of any team's pre-season test programme:

"Alonso drives through the pits. Proper practice start with tyre warm-up wheel spins - the full procedure.

"Watch out for a long run from this. The team are not expecting him back, so this can't be far from a race sim from them."

08:44 As Alonso returns to the pits and does some more burnouts in front of Straw, things have quietened down on track. Vergne - now up to 43 laps for Toro Rosso, is the only man going round at the moment.

08:45 Ferrari notes on Twitter that the wind is interfering with its programme a bit at the moment.

08:49 Lap count-wise, every team bar McLaren and Caterham (eight each) is into double figures today.

Toro Rosso tops that chart comfortably with 46, as Vergne pits and leaves the track empty.

08:52 The fact that Red Bull isn't propping up that mileage table is a welcome change for the champion team.

Yesterday Vettel made it clear that the problems Red Bull had at Jerez had been solved, but some new ones had replaced them...

Here's EDD STRAW's analysis of where Red Bull stood after day one at Sakhir:

Red Bull crisis continues in Bahrain

08:53 Here's some updates on Lotus's programme with the E22 at the moment from EDD STRAW in the pitlane:

"Lotus is working through a few things in terms of getting the engine to work properly. The usual little glitches that need to be ironed out - things that others could do at the first test [which Lotus missed].

"When the car came back in after that last run there was a hint of smoke from the front brakes. The team were running some aero sensor kit in the sidepod intakes."

Gutierrez takes to an empty track and sets a new personal best in the Sauber.

08:55 Here's an interesting observation on the subject of Sauber. The Swiss squad seems to be one of the only teams not constantly hiding its car behind screens every time it is in the garage.

EDD STRAW: "Credit to Sauber for not obsessively hiding their car behind screens, at least when the bodywork isn't off.
Sauber
"All the teams have all the photos they could need of the detail of rival cars already, so the circus of hiding things is usually a bit pointless unless you have the stuff under the body exposed."

That said, when our photographers visited Sauber, the team was being fairly coy...

08:55 In the Marussia garage, the car is up on stands with work going on underneath it. The team has logged 14 laps today with Chilton.

08:57 Two personal best sectors for Gutierrez there, but he misses out on his previous best by 0.010s.

09:00 As Gutierrez continues to lap in the 1m41s, he has been joined on track by Hulkenberg and Rosberg.

Rosberg locks up Bahrain test 201409:04 The noise of F1's new 2014 engines has been a major topic for debate over this winter. With a few teams working on practice starts today, it's given EDD STRAW a chance to get a clear comparison with the old V8 engines, and he's not having it that these new units are a poor relation to their screaming predecessors:

"Just stood a few metres from a Hulkenberg practice start at exit of pitlane. 22 of them on the grid will sound fantastic.

"It's not as piercing a noise as when you stood next to a V8 car making a start, but still very loud. If anything, a fuller noise. You can still feel the rumble in your ribcage.

"I defy those who denounce the engine sound to stand near an F1 car starting properly and not be impressed."

He adds that the Mercedes [pictured] "sounds like a jet!" when charging down the start/finish straight.

09:06 Vettel cracks the top five with his first lap under 1m41s today.

09:10 Teams always come up with weird and wonderful things to try during testing. EDD STRAW reports that Hulkenberg just returned to the pits after a short run, and his Force India crew performed a quick wheel-change only on the right rear before wheeling the car into the garage.

That could be a simple test of the team's latest wheelgun performance, but it could also be related to how heat build-up affects wheelnuts.

Remember, Force India had problems with such an issue at the Malaysian GP last year.

09:12 The McLaren won't been seen back out on track for a bit. Its driver Kevin Magnussen is on his lunch break...

@KevinMagnussen: "Quick update. Lunch break. 8 laps so far. More later."

09:15 Alonso returns to the action after more than half an hour in the pits. He's started off with more burnouts and another practice start at the end of the pitlane.

09:16 We've got our second stoppage of the day. Looks like Vettel and Rosberg are still on track...

09:17 Vettel has made it back to the pits. So it appears that Mercedes has caused the stoppage again, just as was the case when its first out-lap of the day lasted eight corners this morning.

09:20 The Mercedes is back in the pits.

AUTOSPORT09:22 While the marshals complete their work, we have a good chance to mention that this week's AUTOSPORT magazine is available in shops and online this morning.

It's a Lotus 2014 special, analysing the team's turbulent winter and its implications, talking to Pastor Maldonado about his change of team, and assessing Romain Grosjean's growth from wild child to potential winner.

Other highlights include in-depth interviews with Mark Webber and Jacques Villeneuve on their big moves to sportscars and rallycross respectively.

09:24 Our technical expert GARY ANDERSON explains that when a car stops on track, it's often not as dramatic as it sounds:

"With these new-spec cars every time you take the engine cover off you will find a potential new problem.

"The teams will all have all of their electronic protection systems fully activated, so basically if anything in the very complicated powertrain system goes outside of its working window it will shut the engine down as a precaution.

"As the teams learn a bit more these working windows will be refined and there will be fewer stoppages."

09:26 The covered-up Mercedes is now being lowered from the flatbed truck in front of the team's garage.

09:31 The track is open, but there's no rush to get out. Perhaps because that red flag fell kindly around lunchtime?

09:32 No lunch right now for Bottas, Vergne and Gutierrez, as all three head out. While Sauber logged plenty of laps yesterday, Williams and Toro Rosso are probably happy to pass up a lunchbreak today as they play catch-up.

09:34 Bottas - with fastest sectors overall in the first and third parts of the lap - goes second fastest.

09:36 The Williams driver loses seven tenths on his next lap, while Grosjean has joined the action on track.

09:43 Bottas back into the pits now as pacesetter Alonso begins a run for Ferrari. Will it be that race run Straw predicted earlier?

09:45 Another red flag brings a halt to proceedings. Alonso, Vettel and Vergne on-track...

09:45 Alonso back in, so it's either the Red Bull or the Toro Rosso to blame.

09:46 Vettel returns safely to the pits, so it's Vergne's Toro Rosso that has caused the latest delay.

09:47 That in-lap makes it 26 laps completed for Red Bull now. That's more in half a day than the team has managed in five previously...

09:49 Vettel had just set a personal best time in the first sector before the stoppage, so beginning to turn the wick up perhaps.

09:51 The Toro Rosso is back in the pits now, so we should be back underway again shortly.

09:57 The cherry-picker is currently in the pitlane helping deliver the stricken STR9 back to the Toro Rosso team.

10:00 We're green again in Bahrain... But there's no rush to get back out on track.

10:01 Kamui Kobayashi is the first man to break the silence. His Caterham has completed only eight laps so far today, so the comeback kid definitely needs the mileage.

10:02 Alonso's Ferrari joins the Caterham on-track. NOW will we see that race run we've been expecting?

10:05 Vettel and Gutierrez back in action too now, as Alonso completes his first flier in 1m43s.

10:09 As Alonso works on what appears to be a long run, Bottas deposes him at the top of the times.

The Finn set overall best times through the first two sectors, and judging by how wide he ran coming out of the final corner he was really pushing on that lap.

10:11 Bottas loses six tenths on his next lap after that times-topping effort.

10:11 Alonso and Vettel are both lapping in the high 1m42s at the moment.

10:13 Vettel drops his pace by nearly 10s on that lap, but this is starting to look like one of the Red Bull's longer single runs during the 2014 pre-season.

10:15 You can read our midday report here:

Alonso sets early pace on day two

10:18 Kobayashi improves, but he's still clear at the bottom of the table in the Caterham.

10:21 Kobayashi comes into the pits after setting his best time of the day on the last flier of that run, which leaves only Alonso on the circuit.

10:24 Gutierrez has joined Alonso on the track in the Sauber. The Mexican is now on his 44th lap of the day.

10:29 Alonso has lodged a couple of very slow laps. A 2m11.413s and a 2m03.277s. Presumably nothing wrong as he's stayed out, but part of the programme.

10:33 Gutierrez pits in as Alonso continues to circulate at well over two minutes a lap.

10:36 Alonso is now in the pits, meaning the track is empty.

10:40 Kobayashi takes to the track in the Caterham. He's the only man on track.

10:40 GARY ANDERSON: "Many of the cars are running with a large aerial device on top of the rollover bar. This is called a pitot tube and measures the car's airspeed very accurately.

"When the cars are testing teams are looking at the aerodynamic influence of front wing angle differences, aerodynamic changes caused by different suspension setups or indeed aerodynamic differences when they test new components.

"As downforce multiplies by the square of the speed, it is very important to know the airspeed and not just the car speed."

10:41 And Kevin Magnussen now heads out in the McLaren.

10:42 Kobayashi completes his first flier of the run. A lap of 1m44.354s.

10:44 BEN ANDERSON: "Just caught up with Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo in the paddock.

"The Australian is kicking his heels while Vettel puts in the laps today, so has left the circuit to go training!"

10:47 Magnussen brings the McLaren back to the pits, once again leaving Kobayashi on his own on track in the Caterham.

10:55 No one on track with just over three hours to go in Bahrain. Here is the lap count so far:

Vergne (Toro Rosso) 53 laps
Bottas (Williams) 50 laps
Alonso (Ferrari) 49 laps
Gutierrez (Sauber) 48 laps
Vettel (Red Bull) 34 laps
Rosberg (Mercedes) 34 laps
Kobayashi (Caterham) 29 laps
Hulkenberg (Force India) 24 laps
Grosjean (Lotus) 15 laps
Chilton (Marussia) 14 laps
Magnussen (McLaren) 11 lap

10:59 Today's biggest mileage merchant Vergne is back on track in the Toro Rosso. Has the circuit all to himself at the moment.

11:00 A good moment to check out CRAIG SCARBOROUGH's analysis of the new Lotus, and why he thinks lateral thinking could give the team an edge this year:

Lotus E22: Lateral thinking could pay off

11:05 A quick headline recap from day two in Bahrain, for those of you who are just joining us:

*Bottas quickest for Williams after Alonso sets morning pace
*Vergne racks up miles as Toro Rosso recovers from day one woe
*Mercedes causes two red flags with reliability issues
*Red Bull completes more laps than in all other test days combined

11:06 Vergne has come back into the pits so the track is silent once more.

11:13 How do LMP1 sportscars stack up against new-look F1 on pace so far? Toyota factory driver and ex-F1 racer Alex Wurz reckons he has the answer.

@alex_wurz: "Watching Bahrain F1 test times. Currently I would be 7th with my time I set in the @Toyota_Hybrid...(With a good looking nose as well - LOL)."

11:16 Hulkenberg breaks the stalemate and heads back out in the Force India. Yesterday's pacesetter is currently third fastest and within a second of Bottas' benchmark.

11:20 The new 1.6-litre turbo engines are delivering plenty of torque and making the cars difficult to control under acceleration.

Hulkenberg is certainly leaning on his reflexes in the Force India, according to our man on the ground GLENN FREEMAN:

"Hulk just had a big wobble getting on the power out of Turn 1."

11:21 Vettel has joined Hulkenberg on track in the Red Bull, and has just set a new personal best in the first sector.

11:22 Vettel down into the 1m40.3s now and on another better lap in the Red Bull.

11:24 Vettel doesn't improve on that lap, dropping back into the 41s as Alonso brings the Ferrari back to the party.

11:27 Alonso back into the pits for a quick stop. Hulkenberg is also in as Vettel continues to circulate in the low 1m41s.

11:30 Vettel has been on a reasonably long and consistent run for Red Bull recently.

GLENN FREEMAN has spied the world champion battling to bring RB10 under his spell.

"Vettel keeps running wide over the exit kerb at Turn 2 trying to keep his foot in."

11:34 The Red Bull is back into the pits now, leaving Alonso's Ferrari (which just had a big lock-up at the hairpin onto the back straight) and Rosberg's Mercedes as the only cars on track.

11:36 Rosberg goes quickest for Mercedes on a 1m37.368s, knocking Bottas and his Williams from the top of the perch by over a quarter of a second.

11:37 Rosberg backs off after that headline-grabbing time and now goes again, setting a new fastest first sector...

11:38 ... But he is slower over the remainder of lap (1m37.819s) so doesn't improve.

11:40 GARY ANDERSON: "Looking at the time Valtteri Bottas has done in the Williams-Mercedes (1m37.635s) compared to Sebastian Vettel's best in the Red Bull-Renault (1m40.340s), there is a 2.705s gap.

"The difference between a very low fuel load and a tank that is brimmed with 100kg should be around three seconds. So no matter what the relative loads, it's clear Williams has made a lot of progress over the winter.

"As I often say, you learn more from a bad year than you do from a good year. The performance of Williams compared to Red Bull is evidence of that."

11:42 Some more observations from GLENN FREEMAN down at Turns 1 and 2. He reckons the cars look difficult to drive and sound pretty good too.

"Pretty much all of the cars I've seen on track look a real handful through here. They're moving around a lot and you can see the drivers really having to work.

"Just had a Mercedes and a Ferrari going around together. As soon as you get even two cars running together the noise level ramps up to an impressive level.

"Would be harsh to judge the sound of F1 2014 purely on cars running solo."

11:44 The three fastest drivers are the only ones on track at the moment: Rosberg, Bottas and Alonso are all racking up the mileage while the rest wait in the pits.

11:45 Rosberg is consistently lapping in the low 1m40s to high 1m39s at the moment. Alonso is in the 43s. Bottas is just winding up.

11:47 GLENN FREEMAN reports that Alonso has gone off at the end of the back straight:

"Just went in too deep and ran wide; tried to hold it but the car wobbled on him."

11:48 Hulkenberg is back out in the Force India and has just set a personal best time in the first sector.

11:48 And gone fastest of all in the second sector...

11:49 New quickest lap of the day from Hulkenberg puts Force India back on top. 1m37.215s. Mercedes engines 1-2-3 now.

11:53 Hulk backs off for a lap then goes again. He's quickest of all in the first sector and does a personal best in the final part of the lap to shave another four thousandths of a second from the benchmark time.

12:00 Bottas looks as though he's on a lengthy run in the Williams. Lapped consistently in the 39s early on, now low 41s.

12:03 The track is getting busier now as we head into the final couple of hours of running on day two. Bottas, Alonso, Vergne, Gutierrez and Kobayashi are all getting some laps in right now.

Brazilian GP 198012:04 With unreliability set to be a major feature of the 2014 F1 season and the fuel economy rules prompting fears of cars running dry with the flag in sight, this year could bring plenty of late-race heartbreak.

Inspired by that possibility, AUTOSPORT has dug back into the archives to recount tales of F1's most painful near-misses, from champions like Jim Clark and Sebastian Vettel being robbed to cruel disasters for underdogs such as Arrows and Andrea de Cesaris:

F1's late-race heartbreaks

12:07 Gutierrez has been going for it in the Sauber and improves significantly to get within just over a tenth of Vergne's Toro Rosso.

12:11 It's not been a good test for Marussia so far. Just three laps for Bianchi yesterday, thanks to an IT problem (have they tried turning it off and turning it on again?) and just 14 laps completed today by Chilton.

12:15 Chilton is on duty for Marussia today, but team-mate Jules Bianchi will know how he feels having also completed very limited running yesterday.

"Obviously it's always good to have issues in testing, even though we want track time," said Bianchi on Wednesday night. "But this is what happens when everything is new. We have to deal with it and try to fix everything as soon as possible to start running.

"It's frustrating, but it's part of the job and I think it's almost the same for everyone so we just have to be patient."

12:16 Testing halted here in Bahrain. Everyone bar Gutierrez back in the pits...

12:20 The Sauber has been returned to the pits so we should be back underway again soon.

Mercedes recording activities12:28 Glenn Freeman spotted somebody from Mercedes stationed towards the end of the back straight recording various cars as they pass by on full throttle.

GARY ANDERSON: "It's likely he will be recording the engine sound. From that, you can work out the engine RPM and gear ratio. And from that, probably the engine torque and the electrical torque that a given car is using to reach its top speed."

12:31 Green again here in Bahrain with just under 90 minutes to go. Hulkenberg is the first man to head back out on track.

12:36 EDD STRAW: "Pre-season testing hasn't been straightforward for Red Bull, but today counts as comfortably the most successful of its six days.

"Sebastian Vettel has managed 43laps so far. If he manages another two, he will match Red Bull's total lap count from the previous five days of testing. This probably won't be far off as he's out on the track now.

"All this is positive for Red Bull. It suggests that it is now making some tangible progress. Vettel is still four seconds off the pace, but right now its headline laptimes are irrelevant as the team plays catch-up."

12:38 The times are coming down in the last part of the day's running. Hulkenberg lowers the benchmark to 1m36.445s, while Rosberg joins him in the 36s for Mercedes.

12:42 Marussia's troubles are apparently down to a fuel system problem. But the team is optimistic of getting back out before the end of the day to add to its 14 laps to date.

12:44 Kevin Magnussen hasn't done much driving for McLaren today (just 11 laps), but he's venturing back out now with 75 minutes of running left.

12:46 And Magnussen is straight onto a hot lap in MP4-29. He's fastest of all in sector one and does a personal best in sector two...

12:47 ... And he moves up to third with another personal best in sector three. That puts him six tenths shy of Hulkenberg's pace and just a tenth adrift of Rosberg.

12:50 Hulkenberg is pressing on in the Force India. He's just done a a personal best in sector three and a 1m36.5s lap that's just a tenth shy of his best of the day.

12:53 Another strong lap from Hulkenberg: 1m36.6s and fastest of all in the final sector.

12:55 Hulkenberg back into the pits after his headline-grabbing run, leaving just Bottas and Vettel circulating with just over and hour to go.

13:03 Magnussen is back into the fray and fastest of all in the first sector...

13:04 And across the lap! Magnussen is the first man below 1m36s at this test. 1m35.4s is the new benchmark.

13:08 Two consecutive improvements from Kobayashi brings Caterham within a couple of tenths of chief rival Marussia.

13:19 Magnussen comes out of the pits and turns the wick up on his first flying lap - becoming the first man at this test to dip into the 1m34s. That puts him 2.5 seconds shy of last year's pole position.

13:20 The Dane's next lap is a 1m58s, then he goes for it again. However, his first sector is 0.3s down on his best.

13:22 Magnussen crosses the line half a second down on his current session-topping time, but that's still one second better than anyone else has managed today.

13:24 The McLaren returns to the pits after that short run. EDD STRAW reports that Magnussen was running the super-soft tyre.

13:27 Rosberg comes across the line to complete another lap, having run very wide off track at the exit of the final corner.

13:28 Of the three cars on track, we have Hulkenberg lapping in the 1m41s, Rosberg in the 1m38s, and Bottas in the 1m39s.

13:29 The huge readership figures for AUTOSPORT Live (hello and thank you to you all, by the way) prove that there's plenty of public appetite for the 2014 F1 season, but are the sport's chiefs doing enough to satisfy the fans?

In his column this week, JONATHAN NOBLE argues that F1 needs to follow other sports and capitalise on the likes of YouTube and Twitter rather than clamping down:

Time for F1 to embrace alternative media

13:35 Today's current top five (and Kobayashi) are all on track at the moment, and we have Alonso on course for a new personal best...

13:36 The Ferrari is up to third with a 1m36.932s, and he's going quicker again.

13:39 Having backed off on that lap that was looking quick, Alonso stays out for one more slow tour and then brings the F14 T back to the pits.

13:40 40 minutes have passed since Vettel and Red Bull notched up their 50th lap (and then pitted). Now the world champion is back on track with 19 minutes to go.

13:45 We have a change at the bottom, with Kobayashi's Caterham finally jumping the garage-bound Marussia of Chilton for 10th.

13:50 Red Bull promises another run before the end of the day for Vettel, and on cue the German heads out as we enter the final 10 minutes.

13:53 Bottas improves slightly, but it doesn't affect his position.

13:54 Pacesetter Magnussen has had a busy afternoon after only completing eight laps before stopping for lunch. He's in action again at the moment on a much longer run than the one that yielded that 1m34.9s earlier. The McLaren has now completed 41 laps.

13:56 Alonso draws attention to the timing screen with a personal best first sector and an overall best middle sector...

...and despite another personal best in the final sector, his improvement doesn't move him up from third place.

13:57 Big improvement from Kobayashi, finding more than two seconds to vault from 10th to sixth in the Caterham.

14:00 As the chequered flag comes out we have seven cars on track: Magnussen, Alonso, Rosberg, Bottas, Kobayashi, Vettel and Vergne.

14:01 Magnussen had only just left the pits, and he signs off the day with a new overall best time in the final sector before taking the flag.

14:06 That burst of pace late on means Magnussen ends the day 1.535s clear of nearest rival (and Wednesday benchmark Hulkenberg).

14:07 For reference, the Dane's 1m34.910s is 2s quicker than last year's fastest race lap in the Bahrain GP.

14:08 It's 2.6s down on Vettel's Sakhir pole time, but teams are a long way off considering qualifying simulations in 2014 at present.

14:13 Here's the final lap tally for the day:

Bottas (Williams) 116
Alonso (Ferrari) 97
Rosberg (Mercedes) 85
Kobayashi (Caterham) 66
Hulkenberg (Force India) 59
Vettel (Red Bull) 59
Vergne (Toro Rosso) 58
Gutierrez (Sauber) 55
Magnussen (McLaren) 46
Grosjean (Lotus) 18
Chilton (Marussia) 17

14:14 And here's everything you need to know:

Bahrain test day two full report

14:15 Keep an eye on AUTOSPORT for the rest of the day for all the reaction from Sakhir in news and analysis form.

Our Live coverage will resume at 6am UK time on Friday morning.



  FASTEST TIMES
P Driver Team Time
1  MagnussenMcLaren 1m34.910s
2  HulkenbergForce India 1m36.445s  +1.535
3  AlonsoFerrari 1m36.516s  +1.606
4  RosbergMercedes 1m36.965s  +2.055
5  BottasWilliams 1m37.328s  +2.418
6  KobayashiCaterham 1m39.855s  +4.945
7  VettelRed Bull 1m40.340s  +5.430
8  VergneToro Rosso 1m40.609s  +5.699
9  GutierrezSauber 1m40.717s  +5.807
10  GrosjeanLotus 1m41.670s  +6.760
11  ChiltonMarussia 1m42.511s  +7.601
All timing unofficial. Updated: 13:57 GMT
  OVERVIEW DAY TWO  
  CURRENT WEATHER
Clear skies High Temp: 22°C / 72°F
Track: Dry
  INFOBOX
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