Bahrain GP 2018

APRIL 6, 2018

Practice 2 Report - Red sunset

Kimi Raikkonen, Bahrain GP 2018
© RV Press

By Dan Knutson in Sakhir

The red Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel were quickest after the sun set and Free Practice 2 for the Bahrain Grand Prix took place under the lights. But the silver Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton, third and fourth, both encountered on their fast laps and thus did not reveal the full potential of their cars.

The line-up for the weekend was: Mercedes – Hamilton and Bottas; Ferrari – Vettel and Raikkonen; Red Bull TAG Heuer – Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen; Force India Mercedes – Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon; Williams Mercedes –Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin; McLaren Renault – Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne; Renault – Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz; Toro Rosso Honda – Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly; Haas Ferrari – Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen; Sauber Ferrari – Marcus Ericsson and Charles Leclerc.

Ricciardo had used the soft compound Pirelli slicks to set the fastest time in FP1 – 1: 1:31.060. But that was in the heat of the day. The sun had set when the second session began.

The ambient temperature at the start of the 90-minute session was 81 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Centigrade).

Red Bull had repaired Verstappen’s car that did less than two laps under its own power in FP1 because of an electrical problem.

Haas heroes Magnussen and Grosjean were the first out in FP2.

The Pirelli tire compounds: medium, soft and super soft.

Raikkonen set the first serious fast time – 1:30.689 – on the soft slicks.

Ericsson took an early trip into the gravel but managed to get back on to the track.

Next, Bottas got up to speed and clocked a 1:30.447 only to have Vettel beat that by clocking a 1:30.041. Both drivers used the soft compound.

Just before the one-third mark the top 10 were: Vettel, Bottas, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Hamilton, Verstappen, Vandoorne, Gasly, Alonso and Sainz.

This was at 6:30 p.m. local time, about the time drivers would be qualifying, and thus Raikkonen became the first driver in FP2 to try the super soft Pirellis. He beat Vettel’s time by 0.224 of a second.

A few minutes later Hamilton emerged on the supers as did Bottas. The latter’s lap was “slow” and only third best. Hamilton hit traffic. His second attempt went smoother but was not fast enough.

Then Bottas and Ricciardo nearly collided exiting a corner.

“Did I block his lap? I didn't get any information,” radioed Bottas. Ricciardo was not happy at all.

Vettel turned a 1:29.828, which was 0.011 slower than Raikkonen’s 1:29.817. Bottas and Hamilton were third and fourth followed by Ricciardo and Hulkenberg. Then Verstappen clicked into fifth with a lap 0.006 better than Ricciardo’s.

The drivers and teams concentrated on long runs to gauge tire life in the latter part of the session, so the red Ferraris remained out in front under the lights. They were using the softs and super softs compounds which were the obvious best choices for the race itself. Some of the teams asked their drivers to purposely run in traffic so they could collect more data.

Drama late in the session: Raikkonen stopped on track just after pitting for a tire change. One of the wheels had not been properly attached.

The officials said the incident of the car being released from the pits in an unsafe condition would be investigated after the session.

The top 10 at the end of FP2 were: Raikkonen, Vettel, Bottas, Hamilton, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Hulkenberg, Gasly, Alonso and Vandoorne.