Bahrain, FP1: Ferrari one second ahead of Mercedes

Leclerc quickest in Bahrain as Ferrari bounce back


By Olivier Ferret

29 March 2019 - 13:33
Bahrain, FP1:  Ferrari one second (...)

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

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