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).

Driver Team / Entry Time Tyre Laps
1. Sebastian Vettel de Scuderia Ferrari SF70H 1:32.697 Pirelli Soft 21
2. Daniel Ricciardo au Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13 1:33.097 Pirelli Soft 22
3. Max Verstappen nl Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13 1:33.566 Pirelli Soft 23
4. Sergio Pérez Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10 1:34.095 Pirelli Soft 22
5. Felipe Massa br Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40 1:34.246 Pirelli Soft 24
6. Lance Stroll ca Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40 1:34.322 Pirelli Soft 25
7. Esteban Ocon fr Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10 1:34.332 Pirelli Soft 23
8. Fernando Alonso es McLaren-Honda MP4-31 1:34.372 Pirelli Soft 14
9. Romain Grosjean fr Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17 1:34.564 Pirelli Soft 21
10. Lewis Hamilton uk Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08 1:34.636 Pirelli Soft 28
11. Daniil Kvyat ru Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12 1:34.838 Pirelli Soft 13
12. Nico Hülkenberg de Renault Sport F1 Team RS17 1:34.927 Pirelli Soft 13
13. Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Honda MP4-31 1:34.997 Pirelli Soft 10
14. Valtteri Bottas fi Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08 1:35.002 Pirelli Soft 27
15. Jolyon Palmer Renault Sport F1 Team RS17 1:35.068 Pirelli Soft 19
16. Kevin Magnussen dk Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17 1:35.579 Pirelli Soft 21
17. Marcus Ericsson se Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36 1:35.888 Pirelli Soft 23
18. Pascal Wehrlein de Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36 1:35.959 Pirelli Soft 23
19. Carlos Sainz Jr es Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12 1:36.079 Pirelli Soft 16
20. Kimi Räikkönen fi Scuderia Ferrari SF70H 1:42.333 Pirelli Medium 6

Image via Scuderia Ferrari

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.