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Bahrain GP Friday Practice: First blood to Rosberg in Bahrain

Nico Rosberg scored the first psychological blow of the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend by setting fastest time in Friday practice but Ferrari continue...

Bahrain GP Friday Practice: First blood to Rosberg in Bahrain

Nico Rosberg scored the first psychological blow of the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend by setting fastest time in Friday practice but Ferrari continued its upward trajectory after heading the morning times.

Rosberg pipped team-mate Lewis Hamilton by just over a tenth of a second for Friday bragging rights as the all-conquering Mercedes machines restated their dominance over the rest of the grid.

Hamilton, whose lap was severely compromised with a lock-up at turn 8, ended the day just over four tenths faster than morning fast man Kimi Raikkonen who in turn had a less than tidy soft tyre run.

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Bahrain Grand Prix - Practice Day - Sakhir, Bahrain

Indeed, there were few who didn't encounter braking issues on the Bahrain dustbowl circuit and, while the cars ran at the same time as Sunday's race, the lack of grip compromised many fast laps.

Having topped the times in morning practice Kimi Raikkonen fired first with soft Pirellis in the afternoon, improving his medium tyre best by almost two seconds on a lap that looked far from perfect.

Hamilton's less than ideal soft tyre best was immediately eclipsed by Rosberg, pushing Raikkonen in the quicker Ferrari a half second adrift.

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Bahrain Grand Prix - Practice Day - Sakhir, Bahrain

However, Raikkonen and Vettel both showed well in the long runs on the soft tyre after the mid-session quick runs were completed which looks sure to keep the pressure on Mercedes heading into qualifying.

Sebastian Vettel went off at the final corner, spoiling his chance of a better fastest lap, though he and his team will be greatly encouraged by their first day of running in Sakhir. Towards the end of the session Vettel had what he described as a "braking failure" which led to his slowing Ferrari being clipped by Sergio Perez's Force India bringing out a brief red flag. Race officials were set to investigate the incident following the end of the session.

Valtteri Bottas told his engineers that he had "no confidence on brakes" on his way to fifth fastest time for Williams just a few thousandths behind Vettel and just over a tenth of a second ahead of Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull.

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Bahrain Grand Prix - Practice Day - Sakhir, Bahrain

Pastor Maldonado continued Lotus' good form with seventh fastest, just over three tenths ahead of Felipe Nasr's Sauber. Less than a tenth behind and just a thousandth faster than Felipe Massa's Williams was Daniil Kvyat in the second Red Bull, the Russian complaining of a down on power Renault.

Marcus Ericsson was 1.5s slower than Rosberg in the second Sauber, not far off his team-mate as the Swiss outfit continue to pack well in practice.

Fernando Alonso managed 22 laps in a solid afternoon session to finish the day 12th, ahead of Romain Grosjean who had a number of lurid moments at the final corner in the second Lotus.

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Bahrain Grand Prix - Practice Day - Sakhir, Bahrain

Carlos Sainz led the two Toro Rosso's in 14th with 16th fastest Max Verstappen another complaining of brake issues and bemoaning the lack of power at his disposal.

Nico Hulkenberg's Force India was sandwiched by the two rookies, his 30 laps producing a best 2.158s off the fastest time. His team mate Perez was 17th fastest, ahead of the faster of the two Manors driven as usual by Will Stevens who had the second McLaren of Jenson Button in between himself and Roberto Merhi.

Button missed all of the first session with power unit issues. McLaren changed his battery and ECU in the lunch break before he stopped again just three laps into the afternoon. He resumed later in the session and salvaged another 12 laps of running.

Bahrain Grand Prix Practice Two

1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m34.647s - 31

2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m34.762s 0.115s33

3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m35.174s 0.527s 30

4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m35.277s 0.630s 26

5 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m35.280s 0.633s 36

6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1m35.449s 0.802s 27

7 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1m35.474s 0.827s 34

8 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1m35.793s 1.146s 27

9 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1m35.883s 1.236s 23

10 Felipe Massa Williams 1m35.884s 1.237s 35

11 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1m36.148s 1.501s 34

12 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1m36.191s 1.544s 22

13 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m36.334s 1.687s 31

14 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1m36.471s 1.824s 32

15 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1m36.805s 2.158s 30

16 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1m36.917s 2.270s 26

17 Sergio Perez Force India 1m37.062s 2.415s 33

18 Will Stevens Marussia 1m39.131s 4.484s 21

19 Jenson Button McLaren 1m39.209s 4.562s 15

20 Roberto Merhi Marussia 1m40.592s 5.945s 26

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