Bahrain Practice 2: Raikkonen owns day one in the desert heat

Kimi Raikkonen fastest on day one in Bahrain

Kimi Raikkonen fastest on day one in Bahrain

Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen ended day one of the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend fastest of all and signal his intent, while beleaguered Mark Webber bounced back from his China crisis to finish second best by the narrowest of margins ahead of his Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel – making it an all Renault powered top three.

The Iceman kept cool in the 34 degrees heat to record a best lap of 1:34.154 around the Sakhir desert circuit on the medium tyres. Raikkonen was also impressive on longer runs using both the Pirelli medium and hard compound options on offer.

Webber in turn was fastest on the harder compound, but truth is no one but the team knew the fuel levels but the signals are clear – Lotus and Red Bull have race winning pace in Bahrain.

Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso best of the non-Renault powered rest

Best of the non-Renault powered brigade was Fernando Alonso who was only 0.156 seconds down on the top time, thus throwing his hat into the ring as candidate for the top spot of the podium. Teamate Felipe Massa was sixth on the timing sheets.

Splitting the Maranello cars was Paul di Resta, the Force India driver finding handy pace around Sakhir. Adrian Sutil was not far off, albeit ending the afternoon down in ninth.

Romain Grosjean continues to struggle to match the pace of his more experienced Lotus team mate and ended the day seventh fastest and nearly half a second down on Raikkonen’s top time.

Mercedes admitted that they were struggling to find the sweet spot, with the extreme heat appearing to affect the performance of the W04 more than their rivals. Nico Rosberg was eighth and Lewis Hamilton tenth.

Hamilton’s former teammate Jenson Button ended the day 11th in the McLaren, with Perez 13th.

Free Practice 2 Result, Bahrain International Circuit – Friday, 19 April 2013

Pos No Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 7 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 1:34.154 31
2 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:34.184 0.030 26
3 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:34.282 0.128 29
4 3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:34.310 0.156 29
5 14 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:34.543 0.389 35
6 4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:34.552 0.398 34
7 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:34.631 0.477 33
8 9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:34.666 0.512 37
9 15 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:34.932 0.778 33
10 10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:34.976 0.822 29
11 5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:35.356 1.202 32
12 18 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:35.506 1.352 36
13 6 Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1:35.589 1.435 37
14 19 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:35.761 1.607 33
15 11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1:36.133 1.979 36
16 16 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:36.279 2.125 33
17 17 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1:36.579 2.425 28
18 12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:36.616 2.462 34
19 20 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1:37.061 2.907 33
20 23 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1:37.313 3.159 33
21 22 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1:37.363 3.209 29
22 21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1:37.970 3.816 34