Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix 2014: Results, Times for Practice and Qualifying
The third race of the 2014 Formula 1 calendar edges ever closer as the sport's best and brightest descend upon Bahrain for their first practice sessions on Friday.
Having won the Australian Grand Prix before placing second in Malaysia last weekend, Nico Rosberg comes to the Bahrain International Circuit on top of the drivers' standings, with Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton following in second.
The pair are yet to develop a brotherly bond since pairing up as driving partners last year, but the manufacturer they represent won't care too much as long as standards are maintained throughout this weekend.
Meanwhile, Sebastian Vettel continues to experience issues with the new turbo V6 engines, sending any hopes of defending his world championship into some disarray.
Read on for up-to-date reports on how each driver is faring in their practice and qualification bids ahead of Sunday's climax.
Q3: Rosberg Leads Mercedes 1-2
Nico Rosberg pipped teammate Lewis Hamilton to start on pole for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The German, who has been trailing the Brit for the majority of the weekend, put the pressure on early in the session with a scintillating lap. Hamilton was looking to respond with the clock ticking down, but pulled out of his lap to leave Rosberg leading the way in Sunday’s race.
The Mercedes car has been in a league of its own all weekend, and that proved to the case once again here. Third place was Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, and he was 0.866 seconds behind second placed Hamilton. Ricciardo will be put back ten places however, after he was given a ten place grid penalty for an unsafe release last weekend in Malaysia per BBC Sport.
Aside from the front two, the remaining drivers jostled for position up until the last second of qualifying, as all ten cars were out on track after the chequered flag had dropped.
Valterri Bottas continued his impressive start in the Williams, as he finished fourth behind the aforementioned trio. Force India’s Sergio Perez will be delighted to have finished in fifth place, and he was followed home by Kimi Raikkonen and Jenson Button.
Bottas’ Williams teammate Felipe Massa could only finish down in eight place, ahead of McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen and Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari.
Rosberg was in confident mood after securing pole position per Andrew Benson of BBC Sport:
Starting from pole is a great thing but it's a whole different story in the race.
I did some good [race-simulation] runs yesterday and I'm confident I can stay here for the race
Hamilton vowed to make amends when it comes to race day per Sky Sports h/t Sky Sports F1:
My first lap was okay, it wasn't too bad, and then the second I just locked up into Turn One and didn't have another chance.
Nico did a great job and happy for the team that we get the front-row and I'll try to do better tomorrow.
Here are your full qualifying results ahead of the big race tomorrow per Formula1.com:
Daniel Ricciardo will be demoted 10 places after an unsafe release in the Malaysian Grand Prix. Adrian Sutil will be demoted five places after a block during qualifying.
Q2: Vettel out as Rosberg Tops Hamilton
The second qualifying round saw Nico Rosberg finally get the better of Lewis Hamilton in a session. Hamilton put in a time of 1:33.872 at the start of Q2 that saw him top the leader board, but his German teammate undercut him by 0.164 seconds to go fastest in Q2.
The Mercedes duo only had to put in one hot lap to guarantee their spot in Q3, such is their dominance here. But further down the ranks, drivers were battling it out to make it into the top ten.
After looking a little uncomfortable all day, Sebastian Vettel was finding it hard once again. He was complaining after this session “the downshifts were really bad” per BBC Sport, and it showed as he struggled for grip in his hot laps.
The four-time World Champion could only finish 11th fastest, meaning he’ll be out of the running once again this weekend. In another shock, joining Vettel outside the top ten would be Nico Hulkenberg, who was so impressive when going fastest in Q1.
It was the last we were to see of Romain Grosjean too, as he couldn’t go any better than 16th.
Elsewhere in the shake-up, Williams drivers Valterri Bottas and Felipe Massa proved how evenly matched they are, as they finished with exactly the same time to finish seventh and eight respectively. Vettel’s Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo continued his impressive start with the team, making it through to Q3 at a canter.
11. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
12. Nico Hulkenberg (Force India)
13. Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso)
14. Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso)
15. Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber)
16. Romain Grosjean (Lotus)
Q1: Grosjean Progresses at Expense of Teammate
After the qualifying rounds in the first two Grand Prix’s of the season had been done in the rain and wet conditions, this dry session was the first time we were able to get a true reflection of all of the drivers’ pace.
Valterri Botas set an early target, slaloming round the Bahrain circuit to post a time of 1:34.394. Williams were clearly concerned about the pace of rivals however, as the Finn used a set of soft tyres to guarantee his safe passage through to Q2.
The Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg both posted solid times to ensure they’d have nothing to worry about, although it was less comfortable for the World Champion Sebastian Vettel.
The German came into this qualifying session somewhat blind after he crashed out in Q3 . He posted a respectable time that saw him move up into seventh place in Q1, although he was six tenths back from the Mercedes drivers despite using the faster, softer tyre. Nico Hulkenberg eventually finished the session with the fasted time.
In the drop zone, Romain Grosjean nudged out his teammate Pastor Maldonado to finish in 16th place. The Frenchman encountered some traffic on his final hot lap, with Adrian Sutil nearly causing a collision, but he recomposed and stayed focused for the rest of the lap to make it into Q2. His progression into the next round was a big plus for Lotus, who are making progress after a disrupted pre-season.
Maldonado was joined in the drop zone by Sauber man Sutil, as well as the two Caterham cars and the Marussia duo.
17. Pastor Maldonado (Lotus)
18. Adrian Sutil (Sauber) (will start in last due to five-spot penalty for blocking)
19. Kamui Kobayashi (Caterham)
20. Jules Bianchi (Marussia)
21. Marcus Ericsson (Caterham)
22. Max Chilton (Marussia)
FP3: Mercedes Reign Supreme as Vettel Finds the Gravel
Mercedes continued to dominate in free practice at the Bahrain Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton posted the fastest time in the third session, with teammate Nico Rosberg in second place.
Elsewhere, Sebastian Vettel’s stint was cut short, as the four-time World Champion found one of the few gravel traps out on the circuit; he lost rear grip and spun off at turn two.
The teams seemed a little hesitant about exerting too many resources in the bright afternoon conditions. With qualifying set to take place later on in the evening local time, conditions will be much different, so all-in-all there was little to gain from the last of the three practice sessions for a lot of the teams.
The session began with Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat setting the pace. The Russian clocked in at 1:38.666 with the Ferrari drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso settling in behind in second and third respectively.
But once the two Mercedes drivers emerged, they raced straight to the top of the timing boards. First Hamilton, who clocked in 1.3 seconds quicker than Kvyat, and then Rosberg, who undercut his teammate by a tenth of a second. Both Hamilton and Rosberg set their times on the slower, medium compound tyres.
Elsewhere, Jenson Button looked to be finding some pace in the McClaren after struggling in the first two practice sessions in Bahrain. The 2009 world champion found himself a second off the pace in third.
Two thirds of the way through the session, Sebastian Vettel’s final practice was cut short after he lost grip through turn two; he spun off the track and into the gravel.
The premature end to the practice session meant the Red Bull man would be going into qualifying blind, with no qualifying simulation laps and unable to mirror his teammate Daniel Ricciardo’s car set-up, which is geared towards race-day. That of course, after the Australian was handed a ten place grid penalty for an unsafe pit release at the Malaysian Grand Prix per ABC Online.
With 15 minutes to go, the teams started their qualification practice. The Mercedes duo were out very quickly and Rosberg extended his lead at the top. But as he has done all weekend, Hamilton nudged his way in front with a time of 1:35.324.
Behind them was another four drivers powered by Mercedes engines. Force India's Sergio Perez was 0.544 seconds off Rosberg in third, with the Williams duo of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa fourth and fifth quickest respectively. Button ended the session in sixth.
Both Mercedes drivers look set to be on the front row of the grid by the time qualifying is complete. We should be in for an excellent scrap for pole position, whilst a little further back, the competition for the third podium slot looks exceptionally tight.
The top of the standings was a testament to the dominance of Mercedes at the moment, with eight of the top 11 drivers in FP3 being powered by their engines.
Here are the full standings from the third and final free practice session of the weekend per Formula1.com:
|3||11||Sergio Perez||Force India-Mercedes||1:35.868||0.544||10|
|8||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:36.455||1.131||11|
|13||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:37.119||1.795||11|
|21||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:39.225||3.901||8|
FP2: Mercedes Dominant Again as Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg Shine
Lewis Hamilton took the top spot in the second practice session with a time of 1:34.325 as Mercedes dominated proceedings on the first day, impressing both in single laps and race simulations.
Nico Rosberg finished second in 1:34.690, and the Mercedes duo looked virtually untouchable for most of the day.
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso completed the top three, but at 1:35.360, the gap between the two Mercedes cars and the rest of the pack looks to be decisive as we head for the qualifiers.
The battle for third place looks set to be a very close one, as the difference between Alonso and ninth-placed Kevin Magnussen was less than .3 seconds, and the two Ferraris look set to battle it out with Force India, who greatly impressed with their long runs and could end up with one less stop than the rest of the field.
Red Bull disappointed yet again, with Sebastian Vettel finishing in 1:35.606, good for seventh while teammate Daniel Ricciardo did slightly better with a 1:35.433, just slower than Alonso. The team suffered yet another fuel-flow sensor failure, as reported by the BBC's Andrew Benson, a problem that has been recurring for Renault-engined cars.
BBC's F1 analyst Allan McNish was very confident when it came to the superiority of the Mercedes', as reported by Benson. McNish was quoted, saying:
Mercedes are again the class of the field. Williams are probably going to be the prime runners for third position.
Then Force India weren't fast in overall terms but their long runs are super-good - they are good at doing one stop fewer than the rest.
Then it's going to be the Ferraris, McLarens and Red Bulls, although never count against Red Bull pulling something out of the bag.
Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas both set their respective times later in the session, with cooler conditions and a faster track.
Kimi Raikkonen only managed a 1:36.366, a full second slower than teammate Alonso and good enough for 14th place. The Fin still hasn't managed the Ferrari's feel braking into slow corners and doesn't look like playing a big role in the upcoming Grand Prix.
Jenson Button and his McLaren clocked a solid if unspectacular 1:35.528, but with only 21 laps, it seems like the Brit is only just warming up and it will be interesting to see how Button approaches the final practice on Saturday.
Mercedes look to be in excellent shape going into tomorrow's final practice and qualifiers, while Red Bull and McLaren will need to have some questions answered.
Here's the full table of Friday's second session:
|4||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:35.433||1.108||28|
|7||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:35.606||1.281||30|
|10||11||Sergio Perez||Force India-Mercedes||1:35.802||1.477||40|
|13||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:35.998||1.673||18|
FP1: Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg Keep Pressing at the Top
Lewis Hamilton was once again driving to his own rhythm in Bahrain's first practice session, starting his Bahrain expedition with a table-topping first practice time of 1:37.502.
The conditions weren't as hot as what fans know Bahrain is capable of producing, but drivers still kept their workload light, with only two of the top 10 choosing to go for more than 17 laps.
Hamilton's team-mate Nico Rosberg remained hot on the Briton's heels throughout to deliver an upbeat start for Mercedes.
As the promising form of Hamilton and Rosberg continued, Sebastian Vettel endured another unspectacular day. He posted only the 10th fastest time and, while speed isn't everything at this stage, it was by no means an indication that he is about to get back to winning ways.
His German compatriot Nico Hulkenberg registered an inaugural run of 1:38.122, but kept things simple in his first outing. The Force India driver was limited to just 10 laps, showing there's no serious concerns for the manufacturer at this point.
Jenson Button was just over a second slower than fellow Briton Hamilton, stretching his legs over 16 laps, similar to that of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikonnen, who began with 17 and 12 laps respectively, giving some indication they should give some competition for the top places this weekend.
It wasn't always so comfortable, however, as Alonso was called back to the pits after initially heading out onto the track in his F14 T with a soft compound tyre on his left-front wheel, managing to rectify the mistake before recording a time of 1:37.953.
It became clear that those manufactures lower down the pecking order, such as Marussia, Caterham and Lotus, were focused on getting laps on the board so as to assess their deficiencies, with Caterham's test driver Robin Frijns going around the Bahrain International Circuit 35 times.
Ahead of the qualification runs, this stage will provide the drivers with little more than an opportunity to get used to the conditions in Bahrain, but it's nonetheless useful to get a morale boost early on.
Here's how Friday's top performers stacked up after the first practice session in Bahrain:
|4||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1:38.122||10|
|8||Daniil Kyvat||Toro Rosso||1:39.056||24|
|9||Sergio Perez||Force India||1:39.102||21|
|10||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||1:39.389||16|
|12||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso||1:39.862||26|
|14||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:40.406||19|
|18||Giedo van der Garde||Sauber||1:40.913||20|
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