Mercedes predictably returned to the top of the timesheets in Friday’s second and final free practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix, with Nico Rosberg edging out teammate Lewis Hamilton to top spot by just over one-tenth of a second. The warring pair finished half-a-second faster than FP1 pace-setting Ferraris of Kimi Räikkönen and Sebastian Vettel.
After dedicating the opening practice session to long, high-fuel runs – and finishing well down the timesheets as a result – the Silver Arrows’ ever-present potential was unleashed almost as soon as the pit lane opened for Friday’s second 90-minute exchange.
With the sun having set and the cooler track now under floodlights, Rosberg clocked a 1:34.647 on Pirelli’s Soft tyres to edge out Hamilton by 0.115 seconds. The Englishman could well have laid claim to the fastest time of the session had he not suffered a heavy lock-up at Turn 8.
Räikkönen, the fastest man in the much hotter opening session, finished half a second adrift of Rosberg and one-tenth up on teammate Vettel, who himself threw away a potentially quicker lap time with a wide exit over the kerbs at Turn 15.
The German had further drama when he knocked off the left end-fence of his front wing after tagging Sergio Pérez’s Force India at Turn 1. The four-time World Champion apparently suffered a loss of brake pressure on approach to Turn 1, and was rather fortunate not to have had a larger accident.
The session was briefly red-flagged so the trackside marshals could retrieve the Ferrari’s debris; the stewards investigated the incident after the session and elected to take no further action.
Valtteri Bottas showed improved pace in his Williams to place fifth-quickest ahead of Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull Racing and Pastor Maldonado in the Lotus.
Felipe Nasr finished eighth-fastest in his Sauber, with Daniil Kvyat and Felipe Massa rounding out the top-ten in the second Red Bull Racing and Williams entries.
Marcus Ericsson missed out on the top-ten by just a quarter of a second. The Sauber rookie outpaced McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, who continued his encouraging start to his weekend.
The same could not be said for teammate Jenson Button, who stopped out on track again and only returned to the session late in the piece. He was sandwiched at the bottom of the timesheets between the two Manor Marussia drivers, having been unable to post a more representative lap time.
Saturday’s final practice session at Sakhir begins at 15:00 local time (GMT +3).
|2015 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix – Free Practice 2 Results|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W06 Hybrid||1:34.647||31|
|2.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W06 Hybrid||1:34.762||+ 0.115||33|
|3.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T||1:35.174||+ 0.527||30|
|4.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T||1:35.277||+ 0.630||26|
|5.||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW37||1:35.280||+ 0.633||36|
|6.||Daniel Ricciardo||Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB11||1:35.449||+ 0.802||27|
|7.||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus F1 Team Mercedes E23 Hybrid||1:35.474||+ 0.827||34|
|8.||Felipe Nasr||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C34||1:35.793||+ 1.146||27|
|9.||Daniil Kvyat||Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB11||1:35.883||+ 1.236||23|
|10.||Felipe Massa||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW37||1:35.884||+ 1.237||35|
|11.||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C34||1:36.148||+ 1.501||34|
|12.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren Honda MP4-30||1:36.191||+ 1.544||22|
|13.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus F1 Team Mercedes E23 Hybrid||1:36.334||+ 1.687||31|
|14.||Carlos Sainz||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR10||1:36.471||+ 1.824||32|
|15.||Nico Hülkenberg||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM08||1:36.805||+ 2.158||30|
|16.||Max Verstappen||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR10||1:36.917||+ 2.270||26|
|17.||Sergio Pérez||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM08||1:37.062||+ 2.415||33|
|18.||Will Stevens||Manor Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03||1:39.131||+ 4.484||21|
|19.||Jenson Button||McLaren Honda MP4-30||1:39.209||+ 4.562||15|
|20.||Roberto Merhi||Manor Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03||1:40.592||+ 5.945||26|