After dominating last weekend at the Malaysian Grand Prix, both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg took the top two spots in both Friday practice sessions for this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton set the pace in practice 1 right from the beginning, with Nico Rosberg, who suffered from a flat battery early on, coming within a tenth of a second of his team-mate. The pair were briefly beaten by Fernando Alonso in the final 15 minutes before they both re-emerged to reclaim the top spot.
Alonso had a small drama earlier on in the session when Ferrari sent him out on track with three medium compound tyres and one soft compound. Alonso stopped at the end of the pit-lane and was pushed back in, with multiple compounds not allowed on a car at once.
Nico Hulkenburg was 4th fastest in his Force India. Last year, Paul di Resta took 4th place for Force India; the team will be hoping that they can better this performance this weekend to take their first podium since the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix.
Jenson Button ended the first session in 5th ahead of Kimi Raikkonen who ran extremely wide at the renamed turn 1, which has been dedicated to Michael Schumacher. Kevin Magnussen was two tenths down on Raikkonen in his McLaren, with fellow rookie Daniil Kvyat just behind in 8th.
Sergio Perez was 9th fastest ahead of Sebastian Vettel, who seemed to be off the pace in the Red Bull. Felipe Massa was in 11th just outside of the top 10, with Jean-Eric Vergne’s Toro Rosso in 12th. Felipe Nasr was driving Valtteri Bottas’ Williams for the first session and was 13th ahead of Ricciardo’s Red Bull.
Giedo van der Garde was another substitute driver for this session as he made his return to an F1 cockpit with Sauber. He was 18th fastest behind former rival Jules Bianchi, but ahead of Grosjean, Chilton and the two Caterhams Robin Frijns also made an appearance for Caterham and ended the session 21st; ahead of regular driver Marcus Ericsson.
|4||Nico Hulkenburg||Force India||1’38.122|
|8||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||1’39.056|
|9||Sergio Perez||Force India||1’39.102|
|10||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||1’39.389|
|12||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso||1’39.862|
|14||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1’40.406|
|18||Giedo van der Garde||Sauber||1’40.913|
For the first time in it’s 10 year history, the Bahrain Grand Prix will be held at night. Practice 2 was the first time that drivers drove the track in it’s race day conditions with the floodlights lit.
Mercedes proved that their car was quick no matter the time of day, with Hamilton and Rosberg once again the top two fastest drivers. Lewis was 3 tenths faster than his team-mate, with Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari a second down on the P1 time in 3rd place.
Red Bull seemed to prefer the cooler night conditions; either that or they had simply found more pace in between sessions. Daniel Ricciardo ended the 2nd practice in 4th place ahead of Felipe Massa’s Williams and Jenson Button’s McLaren. Team-mate Sebastian Vettel completed the two car Red Bull sandwich in 7th; 1.2 seconds down on Hamilton in first.
The seemingly inseparable rookies, Kvyat and Magnussen were in 8th and 9th, with Sergio Perez completing the top 10 with the most laps set in the session.
Several drivers ran into problems during the session, with Max Chilton being one of the unlucky ones. He lost control of his Marussia under braking at turn 4 and was advised to step out of the car, ending his session prematurely. Sutil and Ericsson also both stopped on track, with the Sauber suffering a loss of power and the Caterham having a sudden temperature increase in the MGU-K system.
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1’35.433|
|7||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||1’35.606|
|8||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||1’35.640|
|10||Sergio Perez||Force India||1’35.802|
|12||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso||1’35.972|
|16||Nico Hulkenburg||Force India||1’36.998|
By Jordan Groves Formula 1 correspondent for RTR Sports Marketing Follow Jordan on twitter at www.twitter.com/jgroves1996