Bahrain, FP2 : Vettel leads a Ferrari 1-2

Mercedes’ drivers still are on the backfoot


By Emmanuel Touzot

29 March 2019 - 17:36
Bahrain, FP2 : Vettel leads a (...)

Sebastian Vettel edged team-mate Charles Leclerc by 0.035s as Ferrari continued to dominate the free practice sessions for Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

The early running in Friday’s early evening session was made by Mercedes with Valtteri Bottas topping the timesheet with a lap of 1:30.124 set on medium tyres. That left the Australian Grand Prix winner 0.079s ahead of FP1’s quickest man Charles Leclerc. Lewis Hamilton was third.

Ferrari then took the initiative, sending both its drivers out on soft tyres for performance runs just before the half-hour mark. Vettel quickly moved into P1 with a lap of 1:28.942. Leclerc then took second place with a lap of 1:29.083.

Bottas and Hamilton then put in their performance runs, but neither could get near the times set by the Ferraris. Bottas’ first attempt was not perfect and he required a second lap to find a time. But that stage Hamilton had claimed P3 with a lap of 1:29.449, six tenths of a second adrift of Vettel. Bottas then slotted into P3, a tenth off Hamilton.

Curiously, Ferrari then opted to put in a second performance run, which allowed Vettel to reset the benchmark at 1:28.846, three hundredths of a second ahead of Leclerc.

Fifth place in the session went to Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg who posted a useful time of 1:29.669, just a tenth of a second slower than Bottas’ best. The German’s team-mate Daniel Ricciardo had a trickier outing, finishin in 15thplace and two seconds off the P1 pace.

It might have be3en expected that Red Bull would be closest to challenging Mercedes but Max Verstappen was unable to put together a flawless lap and so finished five hundredths of a second behind Hulkenberg

Verstappen’s team-mate Pierre Gasly had a difficult session as he failed to get the most from his tyres and finished in P12, 0.7s behind his team-mate.

Haas’s Kevin Magnussen too seventh place ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris. The rookie driver finished 0.051s ahead of the second Haas of Romain Grosjean and 0.175s ahead of McLaren teram-mate Carlos Sainz who finished in P11. Tenth place in the session went to Daniil Kvyat of Toro Rosso.

01 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari SF90 1:28.846 32
02 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF90 1:28.881 32
03 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W10 1:29.449 33
04 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes W10 1:29.557 36
05 Nico Hülkenberg Renault RS19 1:29.669 32
06 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RB15 1:29.725 34
07 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari VF-19 1:30.000 33
08 Lando Norris McLaren Renault MCL34 1:30.017 29
09 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari VF-19 1:30.068 25
10 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso Honda STR14 1:30.093 34
11 Carlos Sainz McLaren Renault MCL34 1:30.192 33
12 Pierre Gasly Red Bull Honda RB15 1:30.429 31
13 Alex Albon Toro Rosso Honda STR14 1:30.458 36
14 Sergio Pérez Racing Point Mercedes RP19 1:30.716 32
15 Daniel Ricciardo Renault RS19 1:30.848 30
16 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Ferrari C38 1:31.088 6
17 Lance Stroll Racing Point Mercedes RP19 1:31.129 31
18 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Ferrari C38 1:31.758 10
19 George Russell Williams Mercedes FW42 1:31.904 32
20 Robert Kubica Williams Mercedes FW42 1:32.932 37

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