Bahrain F1 Grand Prix 2018

Bahrain F1 Grand Prix 2018

Bahrain F1 Grand Prix 2018

After winning the pole two weeks ago in the Australian Grand Prix, Hamilton stood back as Vettel took the top spot on the podium.

It was feared he would be punished for an unsafe release - because his front right wheel was not attached properly - and given a grid penalty, but instead Ferrari were fined €5 000. Hamilton ended up second because his team made an error of judgment during Vettel's pitstop.

Hamilton followed up his opening practice best time of one minute 24.026 seconds with 1:23.931 in the second session to hold a 0.127sec gap over Red Bull's Max Verstappen (1:24.058).

His hopes of chalking a 3rd Bahrain win on Sunday have been taken a hit, with all the Briton place to shed five puts on the grid for the unscheduled gearbox change in his Mercedes. "First run in Q3 I was very happy and then I tossed it away last corner". Lewis Hamilton failed to hook up a clean lap and was left 0.262s shy of Vettel's pole position time as a result.

Vettel will want the honours to continue coming in, and while he won last week, the Ferrari star will be wary of a Mercedes team that will want to storm back.

Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas (1:24.159) was third in Melbourne in the first exchanges of the new Formula One season.

"I don't understand what's happened", he said per Andrew Benson of BBC Sport.

In a further boost for Ferrari, the aging Kimi Raikkonen has looked sharp all weekend, leading the second and third practice.

The horrible moment when the leg buckles due to the impact
The horrible moment when the leg buckles due to the impact

And it was the Italian team who set the pace in practice with Kimi Raikkonen pipping Vettel to the fastest time in the second session under the floodlights. Here the track improves all the time, with more grip every lap.

"It's very close and we have some work to do".

Hamilton will also be looking over his shoulder in Sunday's race, with Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo starting from fifth.

The Bahrain International Circuit stretches 3.3 miles, with its layout defined by four relatively long straights that should prove a good test of the power units.

Nico Hulkenberg along with Carlos Sainz place Renault best-of-the-rest with all the eighth and seventh quickest situations.

Gasly was just 1.371secs off pole in the Toro Rosso, a spectacular performance from the Frenchman, who is in his first full season in F1 after being drafted in towards the end of last season.

Such support came as no surprise given their performances on the track, Williams finding it particularly hard as Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin finished FP2 17th and 18th respectively.

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