Nico Rosberg has comfortably outpaced teammate Lewis Hamilton in the first practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Both Mercedes drivers were in a class of their own as third-placed Kimi Räikkönen lapped 1.8 seconds off Rosberg’s benchmark, which was 0.277 seconds quicker than the pole lap set by Hamilton last year.
Räikkönen’s teammate Sebastian Vettel was further down the order in eleventh, spending majority of the session on the medium compound tyre, as Ferrari have had very little running with the compound.
Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat were separated by just 0.08 seconds in fourth and fifth place respectively for Red Bull Racing, while Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg was one-tenth of a second behind in sixth place.
Reserve driver Alfonso Celis Jr. made his race weekend debut for Force India – stepping in for Sergio Pérez for the first practice session – however, he didn’t perform as strongly as he did in pre-season testing. The Mexican was 2.7 seconds slower than Hülkenberg in the other Force India, finishing second last on the timesheets ahead of Rio Haryanto in the Manor.
Also making his debut this weekend, deputising for Fernando Alonso who is still suffering chest injuries from his crash in Australia, was McLaren’s reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne.
The reigning GP2 Series champion finished his first session in eighteenth position and just over four seconds off Rosberg’s best time. This was the first time Vandoorne had experienced McLaren’s 2016 car, as both Jenson Button and Alonso shared driving duties in the pre-season test.
Scuderia Toro Rosso managed to get both drivers in the top ten once again, with Carlos Sainz Jr. leading Max Verstappen by 0.07 seconds. The pair finished the session in seventh and eighth places respectively.
Kevin Magnussen was the highest placed Renault driver in fifteenth position behind Button in the McLaren, while Jolyon Palmer was a second and a half behind in twentieth.
|2016 FORMULA 1 GULF AIR BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX – FREE PRACTICE 1 RESULTS|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Result||Laps|
|1.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 W07 Hybrid||1:32.294||24|
|2.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 W07 Hybrid||+ 0.505||16|
|2.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H||+ 1.834||27|
|4.||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB12||+ 2.167||30|
|5.||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB12||+ 2.247||28|
|6.||Nico Hülkenberg||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM09||+ 2.307||21|
|7.||Carlos Sainz Jr||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR11||+ 2.499||19|
|8.||Max Verstappen||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR11||+ 2.566||18|
|9.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Ferrari VF-16||+ 2.706||19|
|10.||Felipe Massa||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW38||+ 2.712||14|
|11.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H||+ 2.779||21|
|12.||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW38||+ 2.880||19|
|13.||Esteban Gutiérrez||Haas F1 Ferrari VF-16||+ 3.015||19|
|14.||Jenson Button||McLaren-Honda MP4-31||+ 3.146||28|
|15.||Kevin Magnussen||Renault Sport F1 Team RS16||+ 3.196||27|
|16.||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C35||+ 3.434||30|
|17.||Pascal Wehrlein||Manor Racing Mercedes MRT5||+ 4.077||26|
|18.||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren-Honda MP4-31||+ 4.098||25|
|19.||Felipe Nasr||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C35||+ 4.425||24|
|20.||Jolyon Palmer||Renault Sport F1 Team RS16||+ 4.645||28|
|21.||Alfonso Celis Jr||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM09||+ 4.993||23|
|22.||Rio Haryanto||Manor Racing Mercedes MRT5||+ 5.420||27|
Image via Mercedes AMG F1 Petronas