Bahrain FP2: Rosberg fastest as Mercedes get going

Nico+Rosberg+F1+Grand+Prix+Bahrain+Practice

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.

Kimi+Raikkonen+F1+Grand+Prix+Bahrain+Practice

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.

Bahrain Grand Prix, Sakhir – Free Practice 1, Friday 17 April 2015
Pos No Driver Team Best Time Gap Laps
1 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:34.647 31
2 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:34.762 0.115 33
3 7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:35.174 0.527 30
4 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:35.277 0.630 26
5 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:35.280 0.633 36
6 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 1:35.449 0.802 27
7 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:35.474 0.827 34
8 12 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:35.793 1.146 27
9 26 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull Racing 1:35.883 1.236 23
10 19 Felipe Massa Williams 1:35.884 1.237 35
11 9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:36.148 1.501 34
12 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:36.191 1.544 22
13 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:36.334 1.687 31
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
18 28 Will Stevens Marussia 1:39.131 4.484 21
19 22 Jenson Button McLaren 1:39.209 4.562 15
20 98 Roberto Merhi Marussia 1:40.592 5.945 26