Bahrain FP2: Vettel owns day one in the desert

Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel went quickest in the second free practice session ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix, before a mid-session “complete shutdown” of his Ferrari that left him briefly stranded on the track.

The German’s P1 time came just before half an hour of the evening session, run under floodlights, had elapsed. Bolting on a set of supersofts, the Ferrari power to through a lap of 1:31.310.

Later, however, during a longer run in the final 40 minutes of the session Vettel’s car slowed dramatically before the German reported a “complete shutdown”.

He managed to coast towards the pit entry and after being pushed by marshals his car was brought back to the Ferrari garage. With 15 minutes left in the session the Ferrari crew managed to get Vettel back on track for a final burst of running.

In an earlier opening session also topped by Vettel, Mercedes has a muted outing, with Lewis Hamilton 10th and Valtteri Bottas 14th. In the more valuable second session run at a time and in temperatures comparable to the weekend’s crucial sessions, the defending champions showed their real pace, at least with one car.

Bottas finished second, just four hundredths of a second behind Vettel. Hamilton, though, was fifth after his qualifying simulation, almost three tenths adrift of the Ferrari driver.

Daniel Ricciardo, second quickest in the first session, again showed good pace in the evening, setting a best time of 1:31.376 to finish just 0.066s behind Vettel.

Fourth place went to Kimi Räikkönen in the second Ferrari, just under two tenths off his team-mate and with Hamilton next on the timesheet just 0.284s separated the top five drivers.

Sixth place was taken by Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg, with the German just shy of six tenths off the pace set by Vettel. Felipe Massa was seventh for Williams ahead of Max Verstappen in the second Red Bull. The Dutchman’s running was compromised however by a problem with the floor.

The top ten order was completed by Haas’ Romain Grosjean and Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat. Elsewhere, Carlos Sainz completed just five laps before pulling over with smoke pouring from his car.

Bahrain Grand Prix, Sakhir – Free Practice 2, Best Lap Times

1 5 Sebastian Vettel FERRARI 1:31.310   29
2 77 Valtteri Bottas MERCEDES 1:31.351 +0.041s 35
3 3 Daniel Ricciardo RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 1:31.376 +0.066s 28
4 7 Kimi Räikkönen FERRARI 1:31.478 +0.168s 34
5 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 1:31.594 +0.284s 35
6 27 Nico Hulkenberg RENAULT 1:31.883 +0.573s 37
7 19 Felipe Massa WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1:32.079 +0.769s 37
8 33 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 1:32.245 +0.935s 18
9 8 Romain Grosjean HAAS FERRARI 1:32.505 +1.195s 34
10 26 Daniil Kvyat TORO ROSSO 1:32.707 +1.397s 35
11 20 Kevin Magnussen HAAS FERRARI 1:32.854 +1.544s 33
12 31 Esteban Ocon FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 1:32.875 +1.565s 38
13 30 Jolyon Palmer RENAULT 1:32.876 +1.566s 38
14 14 Fernando Alonso MCLAREN HONDA 1:32.897 +1.587s 31
15 11 Sergio Perez FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 1:33.319 +2.009s 34
16 18 Lance Stroll WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1:33.361 +2.051s 36
17 9 Marcus Ericsson SAUBER FERRARI 1:33.944 +2.634s 34
18 55 Carlos Sainz TORO ROSSO 1:34.072 +2.762s 5
19 94 Pascal Wehrlein SAUBER FERRARI 1:34.117 +2.807s 29
20 2 Stoffel Vandoorne MCLAREN HONDA 1:34.230 +2.920s 8