After a very low key afternoon FP1, it was business as usual for Mercedes in the second free practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend as Nico Rosberg topped the timing sheets at the end of the incident sprinkled 90 minutes session ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton.
Rosberg’s best time of 1:34.647 was a tenth up on Hamilton, and half a second up on the best of the rest Kimi Raikkonen who was third fastest, with Ferrari teammate fourth Sebastian Vettel – suggesting the pecking order at the top is set in stone at this stage of the season.
The first of a series of incidents started 15 minutes into the session when Jenson Button parked his McLaren for the second time on the day. Earlier a battery problem curtailed his FP1 session to a short trip down to Turn 1, before the battery packed up on the Honda powered car.
Then with a dozen minutes left in the evening session Vettel got tangled up with Sergio Perez in Turn 1 with the Force India running over the front wing of the Ferrari, which prompted a red flag situation so that some chunks of debris could be removed.
When the lights turned green again, with a mere six minutes to go, Raikkonen and Hamilton rushed down the pitlane and jumped the queue of cars at the exit – both were being investigated by the stewards as a result of their haste to get back on track, as were Perez and Vettel for their coming together but absolved them both of any blame later.
Meanwhile behind the Mercedes and Ferrari quartet, Valtteri Bottas was fifth fastest in the Williams, ahead of best Renault powered driver Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull, Pastor Maldonado seventh in the Lotus, and Sauber’s Felipe Nasr in eighth.
Mercedes are favourites for Sunday’s race, with fans hoping to see another duel in the desert between Hamilton and Rosberg after last year’s thriller.
“With these tyres and with Ferrari in the mix, I think we could see a real special race here,” predicted last year’s winner Hamilton.
|6||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing||1:35.449||0.802||27|
|9||26||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull Racing||1:35.883||1.236||23|
|14||55||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso||1:36.471||1.824||32|
|15||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1:36.805||2.158||30|
|16||33||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso||1:36.917||2.270||26|
|17||11||Sergio Perez||Force India||1:37.062||2.415||33|