Kimi Raikkonen takes top spot in second Bahrain free practice.
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News April 6, 2018 Updated: 2:21 PM PT
SAKHIR, Bahrain — Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen finished on top of the time sheets in the second free practice session ahead of this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix as Ferrari’s pace begins to come alive.
Raikkonen finished with a time of 1:29.817 and was 0.011s ahead of teammate Sebastian Vettel, but ran into trouble during the session when a wheel nut came lose after the team preformed a practice pitstop.
Vettel completed the Ferrari one-two in second ahead of Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas in third with teammate Lewis Hamilton in fourth.
Hamilton will have will have some work to do in Sunday’s race after receiving a five place grid penalty for a gearbox change that was made ahead of the race weekend.
The sporting regulations state each driver may use no more than one gearbox for six consecutive events. To simplify things, the car’s gearbox can not be changed for six consecutive races. If it is the driver of that car will be moved down five places on the grid regardless of his qualifying result. So, even if Hamilton were to take pole position in tomorrow’s qualifying, fifth is the highest starting position he can obtain for Sunday’s race.
Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo finished fifth and sixth with Ricciardo only 0.006s behind his teammate.
Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg finished seventh as the team conducted tire evaluations with both drivers. Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly took eighth with only 0.012s between him and Hulkenberg.
Fernando Alonso and teammate Stoffel Vandoorne finished ninth and tenth with only 0.140 separating the two McLaren drivers.
Outside the top ten, Haas’ Romain Grosjean finished 11th but was hindered by traffic while running on the super soft (red band) tire.
Feeling there is more to be gained in the car, Grosjean said, “It was a decent day for us, but I think we can be better tomorrow.”
Hulkenberg’s teammate Carlos Sainz finished 12th as he contributed to the team’s tire evaluation during the session.
“Quite a challenging Friday, as always in Bahrain, as we worked on our understanding of the car in both the sessions,” Sainz said after struggling with his car during the earlier session. “We did gain a lot of grip over the day and it was tricky to handle the rear of the car with the right balance for all the different corner speeds, but overall I think we have a good starting point for the weekend.”
The Force Indias of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez finished 13th and 14th as the team are hoping to gain some momentum with the new upgrades they have brought this weekend.
Kevin Magnussen finished 15th in the second Haas’ and was also hindered by traffic which kept him from putting in a clean run.
F1 rookie Charles Leclerc finished 16th ahead the Williams’ drivers Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin in 17th and 18th.
Leclerc’s teammate Marcus Ericsson finished 19th after having a small spin during the session. Brendon Hartley finished at the bottom of the order in 20th for Toro Rosso.