Vettel tops opening Bahrain F1 practice, Raikkonen sidelined

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Ferrari enjoyed a mixed start to the Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix weekend as Sebastian Vettel posted the fastest lap, only for teammate Kimi Raikkonen to finish at the opposite end of the timesheets due to an engine issue.

Vettel currently sits tied with Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton at the top of the drivers’ championship, but managed to get the upper hand over the three-time champion in opening practice at the Bahrain International Circuit.

A fastest lap of 1:32.697 saw Vettel finish four-tenths of a second clear of the pack in first practice, signalling Ferrari’s impressive pace at the start of the 2017 season.

However, it was not all plain sailing for the Italian marque, with an overheating issue with the turbo on Raikkonen’s power unit forced him to park up at the side of the track midway through FP1.

Hamilton was also unable to put up a fight to Vettel at the front of the pack, with Mercedes opting against chasing lap time in FP1 when conditions are greatly different to how they will be for qualifying or the race, which take place at dusk.

Hamilton ended the session in 10th place, with teammate Valtteri Bottas following in 14th, leaving Daniel Ricciardo to lead the fight against Vettel at the top of the timesheets.

Ricciardo finished four-tenths of a second behind Vettel for Red Bull, and was followed by teammate Max Verstappen in third place.

Sergio Perez ended the session fourth for Force India, with Williams drivers Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll following in fifth and sixth. Perez’s teammate, Esteban Ocon, was seventh.

Fernando Alonso lifted McLaren into the top 10 with another strong display, finishing eighth, but teammate Stoffel Vandoorne was forced to stop on-track due to an engine issue that caused a loss of power. Romain Grosjean followed Alonso in ninth place for Haas, with Hamilton rounding out the top 10.

Get your motor running: American Flat Track’s new season premieres Sunday on NBCSN

Photos courtesy American Flat Track
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If you like racing two-wheel style, make sure you catch the debut of a new multi-year TV broadcast deal featuring the American Flat Track motorcycle racing series on NBCSN.

The 18-round series debuts this Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN with the season-opening race that was held at Daytona International Speedway on March 15.

Going forward, all 18 rounds of the series will be televised on NBCSN in highly-coveted weekend afternoon programming slots without two weeks of each event.

Last season, AFT drew nearly two million viewers on NBCSN with regular primetime coverage on Thursday nights.

This season, the one-hour, tape-delayed telecasts will be part of NBCSN’s regular weekend programing, following or preceding coverage of NASCAR, INDYCAR and Pro Motocross.

AFT is now in its 65th season, with two distinct classes: powerful, twin-cylinder rides in the AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines division, and the competition in the 450cc AFT Singles division.

“We are very excited to kick-off our second season of AFT on NBCSN,” NBC Sports Group Senior Director of Programming Jeff Macaluso. “The 2017 season provided us with some incredible racing and showed us how passionate the riders and fans are of this historic sport.

“The move to weekends this year, around other marquis motorsports properties, is sure to raise the level even higher.”

Here’s the 2018 AFT schedule on NBCSN:

Round Track, Location Track Type Premiere Time (ET) Time (PT)
1 Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, FL TT Sun, 3/25 2:00 PM 11:00 AM
2 Dixie Speedway, Woodstock, GA Short Track Sat, 4/14 5:30 PM 2:30 PM
3 Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, TX Half-Mile Sun, 5/06 4:00 PM 1:00 PM
4 Calistoga Speedway, Calistoga, CA Half-Mile Sun, 5/20 12:00 PM 9:00 AM
5 Turf Paradise, Phoenix, AZ Mile Sat, 5/26 3:00 PM 12:00 PM
6 Cal Expo, Sacramento, CA Mile Sun, 6/03 2:00 PM 11:00 AM
7 Illinois State Fairgrounds, Springfield, IL Mile Sat, 6/09 5:00 PM 2:00 PM
8 Red Mile, Lexington, KY Mile Sat, 6/16 12:00 PM 9:00 AM
9 Remington Park, Oklahoma City, OK Mile Sat, 6/23 5:00 PM 2:00 PM
10 Allen County Fairgrounds, Lima, OH Half-Mile Sat, 7/07 2:30 PM 11:30 AM
11 Weedsport Speedway, Weedsport, NY Short Track Sun, 7/15 6:00 PM 3:00 PM
12 Buffalo Chip Campgrounds, Sturgis, SD TT Sat, 8/11 12:30 PM 9:30 AM
13 Black Hills Speedway, Rapid City, SD Half-Mile Sat, 8/18 2:00 PM 11:00 AM
14 Peoria Motorcycle Club, Peoria, IL TT Sat, 9/01 3:00 PM 12:00 PM
15 Illinois State Fairgrounds, Springfield, IL Mile Sat, 9/22 2:30 PM 11:30 AM
16 Williams Grove Speedway, Mechanicsburg, PA Half-Mile Sun, 9/23 5:00 PM 2:00 PM
17 Canterbury Park, Shakopee, MN Mile Sun, 10/14 5:00 PM 2:00 PM
18 Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, NJ Mile Sun, 10/21 2:00 PM 11:00 AM


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