Max Chilton, Marcus Ericsson and Adrian Sutil all encountered problems during the second practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix today, and will be keen on recovering the time lost tomorrow ahead of qualifying.
After setting an impressive pace on the soft tire in his Marussia, Chilton spun out at the final corner with a suspected brake failure. The new brake-by-wire system has been problematic for a number of drivers, and Chilton was perplexed by the incident, crying: “What on earth happened there!?” over the radio to his team following the incident.
Adrian Sutil’s Sauber was the next car to hit trouble when he too stopped on entry to turn four at the top of the hill. The team is yet to confirm what the problem what, but it only adds to the list of issues currently blighting the Swiss outfit.
With six minutes to go in the session, Marcus Ericsson became the third and final driver to hit trouble as his Caterham came to a stop on the side of the back straight.
“I was having power issues throughout most of the first run which meant I wasn’t really able to push,” the Swede explained. “The power was coming in and out in a way that wasn’t really predictable, so I didn’t know what was going to happen when I got on the throttle coming out of each corner.
“Unfortunately I didn’t get one lap without that issue so the final lap times really weren’t a clear guide to where we are performance-wise, but we’ll look at that in detail tonight.”
In contrast, Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes enjoyed a very successful session and comfortably set the fastest time of FP2 on Friday as night fell in Bahrain.
All three drivers will be hoping to bounce back tomorrow during FP3 ahead of qualifying. The latter is live on CNBC and Live Extra from 11am ET.
Dublin, Ireland’s Keith Donegan claimed a $200K scholarship from Mazda after emerging victorious at the second annual Mazda Road to Indy Shootout. The 20-year-old Donegan earned an at-large nomination for the scholarship based on his performance at this year’s Formula Ford Festival, in which he finished second in the final, and emerged from a pack of 17 drivers from across the globe to claim the scholarship.
“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” said an emotional Donegan, who earlier in his career actually spent two years away from racing as he focused on academics. “The weekend was really good and I enjoyed it. I have to say a huge thanks to Mazda and Cooper Tires and everyone at the Mazda Road to Indy. I enjoyed every moment. Throughout the weekend we were consistent and I kept the small things in check. I didn’t make any stupid mistakes and kept my head cool and that really paid off in the end.”
The two-day shootout was held at the Bondurant Racing School in Arizona and saw the nominated drivers tackle the school’s 1.6-mile circuit in Formula Mazda race cars before facing on and off-track assessments. Donegan was selected by a panel of judges that included former driver and current Verizon IndyCar Series TV analyst Scott Goodyear, Mazda drivers Tom Long, Andrew Carbonell, and Jonathan Bomarito, as well as Victor Franzoni – the current champion of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires – and Oliver Askew, the current champion of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.
Donegan was humbled to be in the presence of drivers who have won scholarships and championships previously, and added that he is grateful to have the opportunity to continue his racing career.
“You see all these champions here today that will go on to great things in the future and I’m sure the names you see here today aren’t going to disappear,” Donegan added. “They will be back up there and I’m sure I will be racing them again some day. It is an unbelievable opportunity to be given and for Mazda to provide that for any young driver. It just gives that bit of motivation that you need because the [U.S.] is where you need to go to become a professional these days. It is such a boost to my career.”
Donegan is now slated to join the 2018 USF2000 championship, with further announcements regarding the team with whom he’ll be racing to come in the future.