Sebastian Vettel was fastest in the first practice session for this weekends Bahrain Grand Prix. The German set his fastest time as the session entered the last half hour to go four tenths faster than his former Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.
The first practice session doesn’t give a real indication of the teams true pace, as the session takes place in the mid-afternoon. Ferrari looked strong throughout the session, however Mercedes chose again not to show their real pace focusing on there long runs.
Riccciardo was almost half a second ahead of his team-mate Max Verstappen.
In early running with each driver using their first set of tyres, which can only be used during the first 40 minutes, Valtteri Bottas was fastest for Mercedes after setting a time of 1m35.002s.
However, Lewis Hamilton lead early on in the session before the team decided they would back off.
It wasn’t a great afternoon for Vettel’s team-mate Kimi Raikkonen who only managed six laps before he was forced to stop on track because of an overheating turbo.
Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz was the fastest of the midfield, being the only driver to set his fastest time on the soft tyre, going ahead of Hamilton at that stage. The Englishman was the only driver to use the mediums early on in the session going fastest.
Vettel was fourth at that stage in the session, before he set the fastest time.
Sergio Perez was the best of the midfield, finishing the session fourth ahead of the Williams’s of Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll. Perez’s team-mate Esteban Ocon was seventh ahead of McLaren’s Fernando Alonso.
McLaren once again ran into reliability problems as an ERS-related fluid loss stopped Stoffel Vandoorne’s car out on track. Team-mate Fernando Alonso fared better and finished eighth.
Daniil Kyvat despite struggling with oversteer, was eleventh fastest and was under a tenth faster than the Renault of Nico Hulkenberg. The German could of gone faster, but on his best lap he ran wide at the last corner.
Valtteri Bottas was well off the mark, he was 2.3 seconds down but spent much of his session working on long runs. Haas driver Kevin Magnussen and Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson were 16th and 17th ahead of Pascal Wehrlein.
FP2 should give a better idea of where teams are at as the session takes place in the evening when the Grand Prix and qualifying takes place.