Vettel tops opening Bahrain F1 practice, Raikkonen sidelined

Leave a comment

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.

Hamilton tops second Abu Dhabi F1 practice with new track record

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Lewis Hamilton swept to the top of the timesheets in second Formula 1 practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Friday evening, beating Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel by one-tenth of a second.

Hamilton trailed Vettel through the daytime-run opening practice session, but managed to strike back by recording a new track record at the Yas Marina Circuit for Mercedes.

Hamilton recorded a fastest lap time of 1:37.877 to finish one-tenth of a second clear of Vettel at the checkered flag, appearing to have an edge across a single lap on the ultra-soft tire.

Red Bull threw its hat into the ring as a possible rival for pole through Daniel Ricciardo, who finished the session third-fastest, three-tenths of a second back from Hamilton at the head of the field.

Kimi Raikkonen ended FP2 in fourth place in the sister Ferrari, finishing within half a second of Hamilton, and managed to edge out fellow Finn Valtteri Bottas, who was a further two-tenths back in P5.

Max Verstappen failed to get in a quick flying lap during FP2, ending the session one second down in P6 for Red Bull.

Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon’s tight intra-team fight at Force India continued through FP2 as the pair were separated by just 0.01 seconds, taking seventh and eighth respectively to finish as the leading midfield drivers.

Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso completed the top 10 for Renault and McLaren, with Felipe Massa following in 11th for Williams on his final Friday appearance in F1.

Massa was fortunate to avoid an accident with Ricciardo during the final 15 minutes of the session after a mix up at the hairpin when the Brazilian tried to get a wider line for the back straight.

Running in Abu Dhabi continues with final practice at Yas Marina on Saturday morning from 5am ET on the NBC Sports app, followed by qualifying at 8am ET on NBCSN.