Bahrain GP: Rosberg leads as Mercedes sets ominous FP1 pace

Nico Rosberg set the pace in opening practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix on Friday, with Mercedes in a league of its own.

The Australian Grand Prix winner posted a best lap of 1:32.294 using soft tyres to finish over half a second clear of teammate Lewis Hamilton, second quickest.

Rosberg's time was over five seconds faster than the benchmark set during FP1 in last year's event.

Kimi Raikkonen was the fastest of the non-Mercedes drivers in third, but the Ferrari man finished over 1.8 seconds behind Rosberg.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo was over two seconds off the pace in fourth, ahead of teammate Daniil Kvyat.

Force India's Nico Hulkenberg finished in sixth, the German followed by Toro Rosso drivers Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen.

Romain Grosjean continued to show promise in the Haas, posting the ninth fastest time ahead of Williams' Felipe Massa.

Sebastian Vettel finished 11th in the second Ferrari, nearly three seconds off Rosberg's pace.

Stoffel Vandoorne made his debut in a grand prix weekend after being drafted in to replace Fernando Alonso at McLaren.

The Belgian wound up 18th, nearly a second behind teammate Jenson Button.

Alfonso Celis was back in action in the Force India, replacing Sergio Perez for the first session. The Mexican took 21st.

It took nearly 15 minutes for the first driver to appear on the timesheets, when Pascal Wehrlein completed the first timed lap in the Manor.

Hamilton and Rosberg were the last men to take to the track - after the 15-minute mark - but the German was quick to move to the top of the times with a 1:33.592 on soft Pirelli tyres.

His teammate moved to second moments later, the Mercedes duo nearly two seconds clear of Button, their closest rival at that point.

It took until the final quarter of the session for a driver to get closer to the Mercedes pair, with Ricciardo jumping up to third position, 0.869s seconds off Rosberg's pace with a run on softs.

Ricciardo's teammate Kvyat also improved to move to fourth as the session entered the final 30 minutes.

With 20 minutes left, both Hamilton and Rosberg left the pits for another run of softs, and immediately went quicker, with the German lapping in 1:32.294, over half a second faster than his teammate, the only other driver in the 1:32s.

PosDriverTeamTimeGapLaps
1 GermanyNico Rosberg  GermanyMercedes 1:32.294   24
2 United KingdomLewis Hamilton  GermanyMercedes 1:32.799 +0.505 24
3 FinlandKimi Raikkonen  ItalyFerrari 1:34.128 +1.834 16
4 AustraliaDaniel Ricciardo  AustriaRed Bull Racing 1:34.461 +2.167 27
5 RussiaDaniil Kvyat  AustriaRed Bull Racing 1:34.541 +2.247 30
6 GermanyNico Hulkenberg  IndiaForce India 1:34.601 +2.307 28
7 SpainCarlos Sainz Jr.  ItalyToro Rosso 1:34.793 +2.499 21
8 NetherlandsMax Verstappen  ItalyToro Rosso 1:34.860 +2.566 19
9 FranceRomain Grosjean  United StatesHaas F1 Team 1:35.000 +2.706 18
10 BrazilFelipe Massa  United KingdomWilliams 1:35.006 +2.712 19
11 GermanySebastian Vettel  ItalyFerrari 1:35.073 +2.779 14
12 FinlandValtteri Bottas  United KingdomWilliams 1:35.174 +2.880 21
13 MexicoEsteban Gutierrez  United StatesHaas F1 Team 1:35.309 +3.015 19
14 United KingdomJenson Button  United KingdomMcLaren 1:35.440 +3.146 28
15 DenmarkKevin Magnussen  FranceRenault F1 Team 1:35.490 +3.196 27
16 SwedenMarcus Ericsson  SwitzerlandSauber 1:35.728 +3.434 30
17 GermanyPascal Wehrlein  United KingdomManor Racing MRT 1:36.371 +4.077 26
18 BelgiumStoffel Vandoorne  United KingdomMcLaren 1:36.392 +4.098 25
19 BrazilFelipe Nasr  SwitzerlandSauber 1:36.719 +4.425 24
20 United KingdomJolyon Palmer  FranceRenault F1 Team 1:36.939 +4.645 28
21  Alfonso Celis  IndiaForce India 1:37.287 +4.993 23
22 IndonesiaRio Haryanto  United KingdomManor Racing MRT 1:37.714 +5.420 27

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Bahrain GP
Track Bahrain International Circuit
Article type Practice report