Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was fastest in the second practice for this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix. The Finn was .01 of a second faster than his teammate Sebastian Vettel, while Mercedes Valtteri Bottas was more than half a second off Raikkonen’s fastest time.
Raikkonen was third fastest early on when they did there runs on the slower compound of tyre, before he switched to the supersoft tyres to do his fastest lap. Both Ferrari’s managed to be half a second quicker than both the Mercedes, who struggled for grip in the cooler conditions.
Ferrari driver had also looked good on his long runs on the supersoft, however, when he switched to the soft tyre he was forced to stop on track. The team failed to correctly fit his tyre and had to stop on track, with the team under investigation for an unsafe release in practice session.
Bottas hung on to third place half a second behind Vettel, narrowly ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton. It appeared that Hamilton had struggled to get the lap together because of traffic on both his best laps, after being stuck behind a Haas on his best lap.
Asked about the gap between Mercedes and Ferrari, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believed that Ferrari was running in a more powerful engine mode.
Red Bull also struggled to show their full potential too, Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo both almost a second off the pace. Verstappen had failed to set a time in first practice because of an electrical failure. Red Bull appeared as they were on running at the pace expected, it is believed he could have been faster.
Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg led another competitive battle in the midfield. The German was a narrowly faster than the Toro Rosso of Pierre Gasly, the Frenchman looking surprisingly quick in the Honda-powered STR13 this weekend.
Fernando Alonso was another 0.050s off the pace in ninth and was the fastest of the two McLarens, 0.140s ahead of teammate Stoffel Vandoorne. McLaren will be pleased with that performance as they were ahead of both Haas’s and just over half a second off the pace of the Red Bulls.
But the poor performance by McLaren could be embarrassing for the team at the home race for their chief shareholders, the Bahraini sovereign investment fund.
McLaren dropped Honda engines at the end of last year, claiming their lack of performance and reliability was holding back a car they said was one of the best in the field.
The Haas of Romain Grosjean was eleventh fastest ahead of the Renault of Carlos Sainz and the Force India’s of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez.
Sauber’s Charles Leclerc was sixteenth almost four tenths faster than his teammate Marcus Ericsson. The Sauber duo spilt by both Williams, who continue with their difficult start to the season. Lance Stroll sixteenth and Sergey Sirotkin eighteenth.