Daniel Ricciardo tops first free practice session in Bahrain
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News April 6, 2018 Updated: 1:14 PM PT
SAKHIR, Bahrain — Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo took the top spot in the first free practice session ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Ricciardo finished 0.304s ahead of Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas in second with the Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel in third and fourth. With lap times holding very little importance, teams have a chance to gather various points of data and try new parts and upgrades. Ricciardo is optimistic of the teams performance ahead of Sunday’s race.
“I’m confident that we will have a good car and tomorrow I’m sure we can be better than sixth and hopefully even better again in the race,” said Ricciardo.
Lewis Hamilton finished fifth as the team worked on balance on the four-time world champion’s car. Haas’ Romain Grosjean ran through the team run program to finish sixth ahead of Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly in seventh.
“It looks very close between all the teams and we definitely have got some work to do to try and see if we can eke out to be ahead of the others,” said Hamilton, after he appeared to struggle with balance of his car during the session.
Renault’s Carlos Sainz finished eighth but was particularly unhappy with how his car was feeling as he could be heard over the radio describing the car as "an absolute mess” as the team worked on the balance of his car.
Grosjean’s teammate Kevin Magnussen finished ninth ahead of Nico Hulkenberg in tenth in the second Renault as the team tried out a new aerodynamic fairing on his car’s Halo. Haas showed impressive pace two weeks ago in Melbourne despite an unfortunate double DNF, are hoping to turn things around this weekend.
Sauber rookie Charles Leclerc finished 12th splitting the McLaren’s of Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne in 11th and 13th. Williams’ driver Lance Stroll finished 0.015s in 14th ahead of his teammate Sergey Sirotkin in 15th. Gasly’s teammate Brendon Hartley finished 16th with Marcus Ericsson in finishing 17th.
Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon finished 18th and 19th after the team tested new upgrades they brought for this weekend’s race.
“All the aero work we did today will give us valuable information for the future,” said Ocon.
Max Verstappen’s session was cut short after his car stalled during the session. The team later discovered an electrical issue was the cause of the problem. Verstappen finished 20th. despite the set back Verstappen’s focus is on the rest of the weekend.
“We had a small issue this morning. These things happen so it doesn’t concern me looking ahead to the rest of the weekend,”