The revised RB18 broke cover on Saturday morning when Sergio Perez joined the action around an hour in to the final day of pre-season running at the Bahrain International Circuit

Red Bull’s 2022 challenger has new sculpted sidepods that feature a less aggressive undercut than the previous design as well as bigger air intakes, something that is closer to Ferrari’s approach. A new floor is also being run by the Milton Keynes outfit on Saturday. 

It comes after Red Bull’s rival Mercedes grabbed attention on the opening day in Bahrain when it debuted an upgraded W13 sporting a radical ‘no sidepod’ concept that has triggered the first legality saga of F1's new era.

Perez wasted no time as he immediately set the pace on his first push lap out of the pits, posting a 1m34.733s on Pirelli’s C3 compound. He has since been displaced at the top of the times. 

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Red Bull is expected to conduct some performance runs on Saturday, having largely focused on race simulations across the first five days of winter testing. 

At the end of the second day of running in Bahrain, Red Bull’s head of race engineering Guillaume Rocquelin stated the team had been “competitive without even trying”. 

“It was more of a stop-start day today [Friday], mostly by design,” he said. “We had a good continuous run yesterday [Thursday], so today was more about exploring and testing different things. 

“We spent more time in the garage making changes to the car and also taking more risks. We learned a lot and gathered a lot of information.

“I’m quite happy with what we found out, we are progressing in different directions and it’s all very positive. We were reasonably competitive at the end without even trying.”

Reigning world champion Max Verstappen will take over from Perez in the second and final session to round out Red Bull’s pre-season test.