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.

Neuville wins Rally Australia; Ogier takes FIA WRC title

Sebastien Ogier. Photo: Getty Images
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COFFS HARBOUR, Australia (AP) Belgium’s Thierry Neuville won Rally Australia by 22.5 seconds on Sunday as torrential rain added drama to the last day of the last race of the World Rally Championship season.

Neuville entered the final day with an almost 20 second advantage after inheriting the rally lead Saturday when his Hyundai teammate, defending champion Andreas Mikkelsen crashed and was forced to retire for the day.

His lead was halved by Jari-Matti Latvala early Sunday as monsoon-like rain made conditions treacherous on muddy forest stages on the New South Wales coast. The rain stopped on the short Wedding Bells stage where Neuville was almost 5 seconds quicker than his rivals, stretching his lead to 14.7 seconds entering the last stage.

COFFS HARBOUR, AUSTRALIA – NOVEMBER 17: Thierry Neuville of Belgium and Nicolas Gilsoul of Belgium compete in their Hyundai Motorsport WRT Hyundai i20 coupe WRC during Day One of the WRC Australia on November 17, 2017 in COFFS HARBOUR, Australia. (Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images)

That stage was full of incident. The driver’s door on Neuville’s Hyundai i20 coupe swung open in the middle of the stage and Neuville had to slam it closed as he approached a corner.

Latvala’s Toyota then crashed seconds from the end of the stage, allowing Estonia’s Ott Tanak, in a Ford, to take second place overall and New Zealalnd’s Haydon Paddon, in a Hyundai, to sneak into third.

Sebastian Ogier was fourth after winning the final, power stage but the Frenchman had already clinched his fifth world title before Rally Australia began. Neuville’s win was his fourth of the season, two more than Ogier, and was enough to give him second place in world drivers’ standings for the third time in five years.

Ogier owed his drivers’ title to his consistency: he retired only once and finished no worse than fifth all season.

Neuville admitted the last day was touch and go as the rain made some stages perilous, forcing the cancellation of the second to last stage.

“That was a hell of a ride,” Neuville said. “Really, really tricky conditions.

“I kept the car on the road but it was close sometimes. I knew I could make a difference but I had to be clever. You lose grip, you lose control and the car doesn’t respond to your input.”