Kimi Räikkönen led a Ferrari 1-2 in second practice for the Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix, although the Finn finds himself facing a grid penalty after being released from the pits with a loose wheel.
Third-fastest in the early running on Soft compound Pirelli tyres, the 2007 World Champion was the first to attempt a qualifying simulation on the Supersoft rubber and posted a rapid 1:29.817 time at his first attempt.
He then switched to higher-fuel runs to simulate race conditions and after completing an initial Supersoft stint he pitted and switched to Soft tyres. Unfortunately his front-right wheel was not securely attached and he pulled off track shortly after exiting the pits.
Unlike race conditions where such an incident attracts a fine for the team, the FIA Stewards can impose a grid penalty for cars released “in an unsafe condition” during practice or qualifying. A subsequent hearing saw the officials hit Ferrari with a €5,000 fine after the team demonstrated it had “ordered the car stopped immediately, and that the driver stopped as fast as he safely could.”
Räikkönen’s flying lap proved unbeatable, although teammate Sebastian Vettel narrowly missed out to the tune of just 0.011 seconds on his qualifying-style run.
The duo finished comfortably clear of the Mercedes. Valtteri Bottas finished third-fastest, over half a second slower, while teammate Lewis Hamilton was fourth-quickest.
The Briton should have been quicker, however, but was baulked at the final corner by Haas’ Kevin Magnussen on his final lap. It was something of an untidy session for the defending champion, who also drove into the asphalt run-off area at Turn 1 before rejoining the circuit.
Having missed out on any meaningful running in FP1 when his car came to a stop after just two laps, Max Verstappen set about making up for lost time and finished the session fifth-fastest. His time put him just six-thousandths of a second ahead of teammate Daniel Ricciardo, but after the Australian had been quickest in FP1 the team’s lack of improvement in cooler conditions is a potential cause for concern.
Behind the top three teams, Renault’s Nico Hülkenberg claimed ‘best of the rest’ honours, albeit with a time over 1.4 seconds slower than Räikkönen’s ultimate pace.
The German was challenged, surprisingly, by Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly, who repeated his impressive FP1 form. The Honda-powered STR13 was expected to go backwards as the weekend wore on, but the Frenchman’s fastest lap – just 0.012 seconds slower than Hülkenberg’s – was a highlight. The same could not be said of teammate Brendon Hartley, who finished FP2 slowest of all.
The McLarens of Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne rounded out the top ten, edging out Haas’ Romain Grosjean and the second Renault of Carlos Sainz Jr., who complained about his RS18’s inconsistent handling.
Dustry track conditions again contributed to a few wild moments for runners lower down the field. After their respective teammates had spins in FP1, it was the turn of Sergey Sirotkin and Marcus Ericsson to repeat the dose in the evening.
Like his teammate Lance Stroll in FP1, Sirotkin dropped his Williams at Turn 9 and slide backwards at high speed into the gravel.
Ericsson’s off-track moment was rather more unusual given its location, spinning his Sauber into the gravel at Turn 2.
The final practice session of the Bahrain Grand Prix takes place on Saturday at 15:00 local time (GMT +3).
|FORMULA 1 2018 GULF AIR BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX – FREE PRACTICE SESSION 2 TIMES|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF71H||1:29.817||18|
|2.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF71H||1:29.828||+ 0.011||17|
|3.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport F1W09||1:30.380||+ 0.563||24|
|4.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport F1W09||1:30.472||+ 0.655||21|
|5.||Max Verstappen||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB14||1:30.745||+ 0.928||2|
|6.||Daniel Ricciardo||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB14||1:30.751||+ 0.934||14|
|7.||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault Sport F1 Team RS18||1:31.220||+ 1.403||18|
|8.||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda STR13||1:31.232||+ 1.415||26|
|9.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren F1 Team Renault MCL33||1:31.282||+ 1.465||24|
|10.||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren F1 Team Renault MCL33||1:31.422||+ 1.605||25|
|11.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-18||1:31.591||+ 1.774||23|
|12.||Carlos Sainz Jr||Renault Sport F1 Team RS18||1:31.601||+ 1.784||21|
|13.||Esteban Ocon||Force India F1 Team Mercedes VJM11||1:31.809||+ 1.992||23|
|14.||Sergio Pérez||Force India F1 Team Mercedes VJM11||1:31.868||+ 2.051||26|
|15.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-18||1:31.969||+ 2.152||19|
|16.||Charles Leclerc||Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C37||1:32.372||+ 2.555||20|
|17.||Lance Stroll||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW41||1:32.382||+ 2.565||22|
|18.||Sergey Sirotkin||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW41||1:32.474||+ 2.657||29|
|19.||Marcus Ericsson||Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C37||1:32.733||+ 2.916||22|
|20.||Brendon Hartley||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda STR13||1:32.908||+ 3.091||27|
Image via Scuderia Ferrari