Sebastian Vettel has maintained his position atop the timesheets on Friday at the Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix after going quickest in the day’s second practice session, held under floodlights.

The Ferrari driver, who was fastest in the opening practice session at the Sakhir circuit, narrowly finished ahead of Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo. In a closely-fought session, the fastest three drivers were separated by less than eight-hundredths of a second.

With the cooler ambient and track temperatures more representative of the conditions the field will experience in qualifying and the race, there was plenty of on-track activity in the 90-minute session.

Vettel’s teammate Kimi Räikkönen, whose FP1 programme was cut short by an overheating turbo, set the early pace on Pirelli’s Soft compound tyres before Vettel took charge later on with Super Soft rubber.

The four-time World Champion had drama of his own, however, when his SF70H mysteriously shut down while on track. He was able to coast back to the pits where his car was reset and he was able to rejoin the session.

Bottas found his Mercedes more to his liking his FP2 and finished just 0.041 seconds off Vettel’s pace. By contrast, his teammate Lewis Hamilton managed to end the session fifth-fastest – 0.284 seconds off the fastest pace – but it was a messy time on track for the Briton.

He aborted his first timed laps on both the Soft and Super Soft tyres, and later found himself badly held up by Renault’s Nico Hülkenberg. Hamilton locked up heavily and ran wide at Turn 10 after coming across the German who was dawdling on the racing line. The Renault driver wound up sixth-fastest but will face a stint with the FIA stewards for his failure to use his mirrors.

After his dramatic braking dramas in FP1, Felipe Massa was seventh-fastest in his Williams under floodlights, finishing ahead of the second red Bull Racing entry of Max Verstappen.

Verstappen lost some time in the session in the garage after replays showed him running over the T-wing which fell off Bottas’ car midway through the session.

The top ten was completed by Haas’ Romain Grosjean – who was unhappy with the VF-17’s performance on higher fuel loads – and Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat.

Kvyat’s teammate Carlos Sainz Jr stopped early in the session after just five laps, with smoke emanating from the cockpit and rear of his STR12. The Spaniard still split the Saubers of Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein – the latter appeared to suffered an issue with his rear suspension during the session.

After his McLaren-Honda shut down in FP1 with an MGU-H failure, Stoffel Vandoorne lost much of the session while his mechanics replaced his car’s power unit. The Belgian emerged late in the session and only posted times on the slower Soft compound rubber.

Saturday’s final practice session at the Bahrain International Circuit will begin at 15:00 local time (GMT +3).

Driver Team / Entry Time Tyre Laps
1. Sebastian Vettel de Scuderia Ferrari SF70H 1:31.310 Pirelli Super Soft 29
2. Valtteri Bottas fi Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08 1:31.351 Pirelli Super Soft 35
3. Daniel Ricciardo au Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13 1:31.376 Pirelli Super Soft 28
4. Kimi Räikkönen fi Scuderia Ferrari SF70H 1:31.478 Pirelli Super Soft 34
5. Lewis Hamilton uk Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08 1:31.594 Pirelli Super Soft 35
6. Nico Hülkenberg de Renault Sport F1 Team RS17 1:31.883 Pirelli Super Soft 37
7. Felipe Massa br Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40 1:32.079 Pirelli Super Soft 37
8. Max Verstappen nl Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13 1:32.245 Pirelli Super Soft 18
9. Romain Grosjean fr Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17 1:32.505 Pirelli Super Soft 34
10. Daniil Kvyat ru Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12 1:32.707 Pirelli Super Soft 35
11. Kevin Magnussen dk Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17 1:32.854 Pirelli Super Soft 33
12. Esteban Ocon fr Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10 1:32.875 Pirelli Super Soft 38
13. Jolyon Palmer Renault Sport F1 Team RS17 1:32.876 Pirelli Super Soft 38
14. Fernando Alonso es McLaren-Honda MP4-31 1:32.897 Pirelli Super Soft 31
15. Sergio Pérez Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10 1:33.319 Pirelli Super Soft 34
16. Lance Stroll ca Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40 1:33.361 Pirelli Super Soft 36
17. Marcus Ericsson se Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36 1:33.944 Pirelli Super Soft 34
18. Carlos Sainz Jr es Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12 1:34.072 Pirelli Soft 5
19. Pascal Wehrlein de Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36 1:34.117 Pirelli Super Soft 29
20. Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Honda MP4-31 1:34.230 Pirelli Soft 8

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.