Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel has set the pace in the opening practice session for the Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix, however the Italian team will face concerns over reliability after Kimi Räikkönen suffered a suspected turbo failure.
With daylight conditions and high ambient temperatures a complete contrast to the environment the field will experience under floodlights in qualifying and the race, little should be interpreted from the overall timesheet results in this session.
Vettel’s fastest lap, a 1:32.697 posted on Pirelli’s soft compound tyres, came with a little over half an hour to run in the 90-minute session. Ferrari had brought a host of new parts to try on its SF70H cars, with the most notable being a significant redesign to the front wing and floor.
At the time, the German rocketed to the top of the timing screens to the tune of almost 1.4 seconds, but his advantage was trimmed to less than a second by the Red Bull Racing pair of Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel.
Fourth-fastest overall was Force India’s Sergio Pérez. He and teammate Esteban Ocon – who was seventh-fastest – sandwiched the fellow Mercedes-powered Williams’ of Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll, neither of whom enjoyed the best of sessions.
Stroll appeared frustrated over the pit-to-car radio on a number of occasions with the behaviour of his car, while Massa had a frightening high-speed spin at Turn 13 which the Brazilian blamed on a sudden problem with his brakes.
Fresh from being the centre of media attention in the wake of his announcement that he will contest this year’s Indianapolis 500, Fernando Alonso hustled his McLaren Honda into eighth-fastest overall. His teammate Stoffel Vandoorne lapped six-tenths of a second slower, however the Belgian’s session was cut short when “the engine stopped”.
The top ten places on the timing screens were completed by Haas’ Romain Grosjean and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.
The Silver Arrows cars didn’t appear to be going for outright times – Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas was fifteenth-fastest and 2.3 seconds off Vettel’s pace – and instead concentrated on longer runs in the hotter conditions.
Thanks to his sudden stoppage early in the session, Räikkönen did not have the opportunity to post a time on the soft compound rubber and faced a lengthy walk back to the pits after his engineers urged him to park his Ferrari.
Friday’s second practice session at Sakhir will begin at 18:00 local time (GMT +3).
|2017 FORMULA 1 GULF AIR BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX – FREE PRACTICE SESSION 1 RESULTS|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Tyre||Laps|
|1.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF70H||1:32.697||21|
|2.||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13||1:33.097||22|
|3.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13||1:33.566||23|
|4.||Sergio Pérez||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10||1:34.095||22|
|5.||Felipe Massa||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40||1:34.246||24|
|6.||Lance Stroll||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40||1:34.322||25|
|7.||Esteban Ocon||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10||1:34.332||23|
|8.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren-Honda MP4-31||1:34.372||14|
|9.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17||1:34.564||21|
|10.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08||1:34.636||28|
|11.||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12||1:34.838||13|
|12.||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault Sport F1 Team RS17||1:34.927||13|
|13.||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren-Honda MP4-31||1:34.997||10|
|14.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08||1:35.002||27|
|15.||Jolyon Palmer||Renault Sport F1 Team RS17||1:35.068||19|
|16.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17||1:35.579||21|
|17.||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36||1:35.888||23|
|18.||Pascal Wehrlein||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36||1:35.959||23|
|19.||Carlos Sainz Jr||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12||1:36.079||16|
|20.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF70H||1:42.333||6|
Image via Scuderia Ferrari