Rosberg fastest again in second Bahrain GP practice

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Nico Rosberg continued to lead the way for Mercedes in practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix on Friday as night fell at Sakhir.

Rosberg beat Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton by half a second in FP1 on Friday afternoon, and continued to dominate under the floodlights at the Bahrain International Circuit.

Rosberg set a fastest time of 1:31.001 on the super-soft tire to edge out Hamilton once again, leaving the Briton to settle for second place two-tenths of a second further back.

With conditions being more representative of qualifying and the race than they were in FP1, the majority of teams pushed to complete as much running as possible in second practice.

FP2 saw the super-soft compound tire break cover for the first time in Bahrain, allowing McLaren’s Jenson Button to shoot up to third place at the end of the session.

Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen followed in fourth place, with the Ferrari duo of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel following in fifth and sixth position.

Vettel had been just four-tenths behind Rosberg after their soft tire runs, but two mistakes on his flying super-soft lap meant he could not improve his time, leaving him 1.6 seconds off the leader.

The German’s session was brought to an early end when his car lost drive with 15 minutes remaining. “Something is not right, I’ll stop the car,” he reported to Ferrari, before noting that his left-rear tire was loose as the car was lifted onto a recovery vehicle.

Daniil Kvyat followed Vettel in seventh place for Red Bull ahead of Williams’ Valtteri Bottas, with their respective teammates Daniel Ricciardo and Felipe Massa rounding out the top 10.

Stoffel Vandoorne impressed in his second Formula 1 practice session by finishing 11th, less than two seconds off Rosberg at the top, while Esteban Gutierrez ended FP2 12th as the leading Haas driver.

Teammate Romain Grosjean ended the session 14th, but suffered a front wing failure towards the end of the running that left debris on the track.

At the front though, there was no doubting Mercedes’ edge over the field once again in Bahrain heading into final practice and qualifying on Saturday.

You can watch qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix live on CNBC from 11am ET on Saturday. For full broadcasting details, click here.