Chilton, Ericsson and Sutil all hit trouble during practice (VIDEO)

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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.

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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