- Bahrain Grand Prix - FP1
Hamilton edges out Rosberg in FP1
Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg led the way in the opening practice session of the Bahrain Grand Prix, seeing off a threat from Fernando Alonso for the top spot in the final ten minutes.
The two Mercedes looked comfortably quickest and, judging by their form so far in Friday practice this year, are likely to be holding some performance back. Both Hamilton and Rosberg limited their mileage to 14 and 13 laps respectively, but with qualifying and the race set to be held under floodlights in Bahrain, the sun-soaked track held a limited amount of useful data.
Alonso notched up a total of 17 laps and was 0.451s adrift of Hamilton's best time. He briefly topped the timesheets while the Mercedes duo stayed in their garage, but ultimately he fell short of the front-running pace. There was also a mix-up during one of his early runs as his Ferrari team fitted a soft front-left tyre along with three mediums on the wheels. He made it less than 50 metres down the pit lane before realising the team's error and quickly came to a halt to allow his mechanics to jog up to the car and wheel it back to the pits.
Nico Hulkenberg was fourth fastest as he continued to show impressive pace in the Force India, just 0.620s off Hamilton. Jenson Button was a further 0.5s off in the first of the two McLarens, with Kimi Raikkonen sixth and over 0.8s off team-mate Alonso.
Kevin Magnussen, Daniil Kvyat and Sergio Perez all finished with faster times than Sebastian Vettel in tenth, who was 1.887s off the pace of Mercedes. Red Bull is expecting to struggle a little compared to the Mercedes-powered cars this weekend due to Renault power unit's power deficit, but with Kvyat's Toro Rosso 0.3s ahead, it's unlikely Vettel has shown his representative pace yet.
Felipe Massa was 11th fastest in the Williams with compatriot Felipe Nasr half a second slower in the second FW36 after taking over Valtteri Bottas' car for FP1. Giedo van der Garde was stepping in for Esteban Gutierrez at Sauber and was 18th quickest, while Robin Frijns was 21st fastest in Kamui Kobayashi's Caterham after 35 laps. Both Caterham's were slower than the fastest six GP2 cars in practice for the support race, although Marcus Ericsson appeared to be having problems during the session.