Bahrain, FP1: Ferrari one second ahead of Mercedes
Leclerc quickest in Bahrain as Ferrari bounce back
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc topped the timesheet in the opening practice sessions for the Bahrain Grand Prix beating team-mate Sebastian Vettel by 0.236s.
The Ferrari duo ended the 90-minute session more than seven tenths ahead of chief rivals Mercedes, for whom Valtteri Bottas was quickest.
The pace of the Italian squad was a return to the good for the team had shown in pre-season testing but which had been surprisingly absent at the season-opener two weeks ago in Australia.
Mercedes made the early running at the Sakhir circuit with Bottas and Lewis Hamilton using medium tyres to outpace both Ferrari drivers who chose to run on soft compound Pirellis.
After their initialy soundings of the conditions the Ferrari pair then stretched their legs, with Vettel leading the way with a time of 1:31.747 and Leclerc slotting into second, 0.137s down on his team-mate.
Mercedes responded, and when they bolted on soft tyres Bottas returned to P1 with a lap of 1:31.328. Hamilton followed, slotting into P2 but almost three tenths behind his team-mate.
The Silver Arrows’ hold on the top two spots didn’t last long, however, as bothg Ferrari’s soon emerged on fresh softs. Vettel too spot top with a lap of 1:30.617 but then Leclerc went quicker to claim P1 with a lap of 1:30.354.
The Mercedes pair were followed on the timesheet by the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly. Verstappen finished the session 1.3s off Leclerc’s pace with new team-mate Gasly a little under two tenths of a second further back.
Carlos Sainz was in impressive form for McLaren setting a best time of 1:31.952 to take seventh place. The Spaniard edged works Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg by 0.088s.
Daniil Kvyat was ninth for Toro Rosso ahead of Alfa Romeo Racing’s Kimi Raikkonen.
|01||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari SF90||1:30.354||20|
|02||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari SF90||1:30.617||21|
|03||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes W10||1:31.328||26|
|04||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes W10||1:31.601||23|
|05||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Honda RB15||1:31.673||21|
|06||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull Honda RB15||1:31.815||17|
|07||Carlos Sainz||McLaren Renault MCL34||1:31.952||28|
|08||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault RS19||1:32.040||17|
|09||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso Honda STR14||1:32.339||24|
|10||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C38||1:32.385||23|
|11||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault RS19||1:32.401||19|
|12||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari VF-19||1:32.602||21|
|13||Alex Albon||Toro Rosso Honda STR14||1:32.874||24|
|14||Sergio Pérez||Racing Point Mercedes RP19||1:32.885||20|
|15||Lando Norris||McLaren Renault MCL34||1:32.945||29|
|16||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C38||1:32.949||22|
|17||Romain Grosjean||Haas Ferrari VF-19||1:32.994||22|
|18||Lance Stroll||Racing Point Mercedes RP19||1:33.540||16|
|19||Robert Kubica||Williams Mercedes FW42||1:34.188||26|
|20||George Russell||Williams Mercedes FW42||1:34.253||27|