Sakhir, tests: Ghiotto tops pre-season testing

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By Olivier Ferret

3 March 2020 - 18:23
Sakhir, tests: Ghiotto tops pre-season

Rookies may have ruled days one and two of pre-season testing, but it was experience which took the plaudits on the final day, as Luca Ghiotto claimed the fastest time overall. The Hitech Grand Prix racer beat out Felipe Drugovich and Jack Aitken for top spot, ahead of the new season.

Jehan Daruvala picked up from where he left off on the final day, beginning the session at the top of the timesheets, touring around the increasingly warm track at 1:43.428. Giuliano Alesi and Yuki Tsunoda were the men closest to the Indian.

The morning was heavily focused on long-runs and race simulations ahead of the season opener here later this month, with the majority of drivers all posting upwards of 30 laps.

The leaderboard wouldn’t change as the penultimate session came to a close. Daruvala finished on top with the time he set early on in the morning. Alesi and Tsunoda followed behind him in the order, with Artem Markelov and Louis Deletraz completing the top five.

With the sun beginning to set on the Sakhir desert, the drivers fed back onto the circuit for the final session and Robert Shwartzman immediately posted the fastest time of the day, to take an early lead with 1:43.028.

The Russian was pipped by his teammate just moments later, as Mick Schumacher took us below 1m 42s for the first time on Day 3. This sparked a two-way battled between the duo to go fastest, with Shwartzman briefly usurping the German, before Schumacher once again went top.

2019 race winners Ghiotto and Aitken had shown sparks of quality throughout testing but were yet to truly dominate. At the halfway mark, the duo punched in quick times to take P1 and P2 in the standings, with the Italian setting the fastest time overall in testing.

Rookie Drugovich nipped in-between the two of them to take second fastest, with Schumacher and Nobuharu Matsushita taking fourth and fifth. Nikita Mazepin, Shwartzman, Deletraz, Sean Gelael and Callum Ilott completed the top ten.

The next time we hit the track will be for the opening race of the 2020 campaign here in Bahrain. With two new faces and one returning favourite topping the times across the three days, the season is set to be as competitive and as compelling as ever.

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