Published: Sun, April 08, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Raikkonen fastest in 2nd practice for Bahrain GP; Vettel 2nd

Raikkonen fastest in 2nd practice for Bahrain GP; Vettel 2nd

Kimi Raikkonen kept Ferrari at the top of the timesheets during final practice at the Bahrain Grand Prix as both Mercedes drivers struggled in the heat of the afternoon sun.

He took over as fastest man with 15 minutes of the 90 remaining and stayed on top three-tenths of a second clear of Finns Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes and Raikkonen of Ferrari.

It's Vettel's 200th career start, Hamilton's 100th start for Mercedes and Bottas's 100th Grand Prix start overall. The safety vehicle came out and I was coming down the straight and then really last minute I was told the Ferrari was coming out.

The hotter climate has meant keeping tyre temperatures lower than their optimum temperature has been a challenge for the teams, and Hamilton believes this was a potential factor in Ferrari's performance.

"I always said straight from the beginning it would be a season where it will be much tougher, particularly against Ferrari and Red Bull", said Wolff.

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However, Hamilton will incurr a five-place grid penalty after Mercedes was forced to change his car's gearbox prior to qualifying and will start the race in ninth place. We go racing as you saw a couple of weeks ago in Australia, as you saw many times over the past years.

"The Ferrari was quicker today", said Bottas.

He place him a whopping 0.525 seconds away from second-placed Max Verstappenalong with his RedBull team partner Daniel Ricciardo that a additional 0.059 seconds adrift in third. He spun his vehicle after pushing too hard early on in Melbourne and finished sixth.

At the start of qualifying, Romain Grosjean (Haas), Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin (both Williams), Marcus Ericsson and Charles Leclerc (both Sauber) were eliminated from Q1.

New Zealand driver Brendon Hartley complained about damage to his left front wing and soon found out why: He hit a bird. He'd done enough to make it into Q2, however.

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"Ultimately we need to have pace to win".

And Toro Rosso continued to impress, Pierre Gasly ninth fastest and 0.007secs ahead of McLaren's Fernando Alonso, whose team dropped the Honda engine now used by Toro Rosso past year claiming that it was holding them back.

The Woking-based team had hoped that ditching Honda engines and switching to Renault power would boost their results and help them challenge for podiums.

Earlier, Hamilton expressed his annoyance over team radio when pitting after P3, saying spectators got too close to his auto. I was coming in at serious speed.

Hamilton is gunning for his fifth world title this year, an achievement which would match the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio and leave him just two adrift of Michael Schumacher's all-time record.

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