Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix 2015: Results, Times for Practice and Qualifying

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistApril 17, 2015

Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix 2015: Results, Times for Practice and Qualifying

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    Mark Schiefelbein/Associated Press

    Mercedes reaffirmed their Formula One dominance last time out in China as they claimed the top two spots after Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari win had upset the applecart in Malaysia.

    This weekend sees the circuit move to Bahrain for the fourth Grand Prix of the year, and Lewis Hamilton will be looking to claim a third race win of the season, and a second in a row in the desert after his triumph in 2014.

    Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate, Nico Rosberg, needs to outperform the Brit this weekend to avoid slipping further back in the early championship standings.

    Qualifying on Saturday could be absolutely essential come Sunday's race. Read on for all the latest updates at the 2015 Bahrain Grand Prix.

Qualifying: Lewis Hamilton Impresses in Q2, Grabs Pole

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    Hassan Ammar/Associated Press

    Lewis Hamilton shocked fans in Bahrain with a lightning time of 1:32.571 in Q2 and easily grabbed pole position on Saturday, going nearly half a second faster than Sebastian Vettel.

    Team-mate Nico Rosberg will start in third position, with Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen completing the top four.

    For Hamilton, it's his fourth pole position in a row, a new personal best. As he told Sky Sports, he believes the best is yet to come:

    I feel great, I feel very happy. Coming into the weekend the target was to really master the track and get the car into a position that I am really comfortable with and that is how the weekend has gone.

    The laps were pretty good, you can always improve, but I am really grateful to have this beast underneath me with which I can attack these corners. I think last year I wasn't as comfortable with the car to be able to do so.

    Mercedes and Ferrari have been very close throughout the weekend, and things didn't change during qualification. Unlike last season, the pace of the Italian team has been impressive enough to properly challenge Mercedes, and Rosberg's inability to hold off Vettel on Saturday was telling.

    Carlos Sainz impressed with a ninth-placed finish, holding off the Lotus of Romain Grosjean. Williams' Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa grabbed the fifth and sixth spot, ahead of Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo.

    Predictably, Jenson Button's car failed him just a few minutes into the session, the third time in four tries this happened. The former World Champion has endured a nightmare race weekend in Bahrain so far, and his qualifying session ended just as he left the pits.

    Pastor Maldonado didn't have any such troubles throughout the weekend and appeared a safe bet to make it into Q3, but a late rally from Fernando Alonso and Max Verstappen pushed him below the cut-off line, the first shocking development of qualifying.

    Daniil Kvyat was also eliminated quickly, another blow to the Red Bull team.

    Here are the full results from qualifying in Bahrain, courtesy of

    144Lewis HamiltonMercedes  1:32.57116
    25Sebastian VettelFerrari  1:32.98212
    36Nico RosbergMercedes  1:33.12916
    47Kimi RaikkonenFerrari  1:33.22715
    577Valtteri BottasWilliams  1:33.38116
    619Felipe MassaWilliams  1:33.74416
    73Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing  1:33.83215
    827Nico HulkenbergForce India  1:34.45015
    955Carlos SainzToro Rosso  1:34.46218
    108Romain GrosjeanLotus  1:34.48420
    1111Sergio PerezForce India1:35.4511:34.704 12
    1212Felipe NasrSauber1:35.3101:34.737 9
    139Marcus EricssonSauber1:35.4381:35.034 9
    1414Fernando AlonsoMcLaren1:35.2051:35.039 10
    1533Max VerstappenToro Rosso1:35.6111:35.103 14
    1613Pastor MaldonadoLotus1:35.677  7
    1726Daniil KvyatRed Bull Racing1:35.800  6
    1828Will StevensMarussia1:38.713  6
    1998Roberto MerhiMarussia1:39.722  6
    2022Jenson ButtonMcLarenNo time  1

P3: Hamilton Goes Fastest but Vettel Close

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    Kamran Jebreili/Associated Press

    Lewis Hamilton went fastest in the third practice session in Bahrain, going marginally quicker than Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel—who split the Mercedes cars.

    The British world champion recorded a lap of one minute, 34.599 seconds, the fastest of the weekend so far, but Vettel was only 0.069 of a second slower. 

    Nico Rosberg was left in both men's dust after being the fastest in P2, trailing the resurgent Vettel by 0.3 of a second. Rosberg complained of understeer to his team during P3, and was clearly not happy with the performance of his car.

    And Kimi Raikkonen kept up Ferrari's dual claim for a second race win of the season, posting an excellent time of 1:35.141.

    Hamilton caused a scare earlier in practice, missing his braking point at turn one and running off. However, luckily for the driver, the extended run-off area on the side of the opening turn saved his car from a damaging crash. 

    Williams had a strong P3 with Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa going fifth and sixth quickest, respectively. 

    Massa was almost a second quicker than Pastor Maldonado's Lotus, who posted a lap time of 1:36.307 to run seventh.

    The race looks to be between the prime constructors of Mercedes and Ferrari, with Red Bull and McLaren miles off the pace.

    Daniel Ricciardo could only post a time of 1:36.335 and will struggle to make a podium place on Sunday.

    Jenson Button struggled during his practice, constantly communicating his issues to his team on the radio, complaining of a lack of power, per BBC Sport.

    PosNoDriverTeamBest Time
    144Lewis HamiltonMercedes 1:34.599 
    2Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:34.668 
    3Nico RosbergMercedes 1:34.968 
    4Kimi RaikkonenFerrari 1:35.141 
    577 Valtteri BottasWilliams1:35.393 
    619 Felipe Massa Williams 1:35.471 
    713 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:36.307
    8Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:36.335
    927 Nico HulkenbergForce India 1:36.421
    1012 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:36.429
    1122 Jenson Button McLaren 1:36.488
    1226 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1:36.548
    13Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:36.612
    1433 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:36.684
    1511 Sergio Perez Force India 1:36.727
    1614 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:36.899 
    1755 Carlos Sainz  Toro Rosso 1:36.979 
    18Romain GrosjeanLotus1:37.151 
    1928 Will Stevens Manor Marussia 1:36.745 
    2098 Roberto MerhiManor Marussia 1:40.541

P2: Mercedes Go Top, Ferrari Stay Close

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    Hassan Ammar/Associated Press

    Nico Rosberg finished P2 just ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton, the only two drivers capable of putting in a time under one minute, 35 seconds, but the Ferrari's of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel followed closely and seem ready to turn Sunday's race into a close contest.

    The Mercedes duo of Hamilton and Rosberg took an early lead on the soft tyres, but once again, the Ferrari's weren't too far behind. Both Raikkonen and Vettel looked strong, coming very close to the favourites' times in the long runs and mixing it up at the speed trap.

    The one obvious takeaway from P2 was the massive difference between the soft and medium compound in Bahrain's heat, particularly in the longer runs, and tyre management will likely play a massive role in the outcome of Sunday's race.

    Vettel's practice session was cut short after Sergio Perez made contact with the front of his car, taking most of his front wing clean off. This caused the red flag to come out with 10 minutes left in the session, to the chagrin of the teams trying to get some useful data off the long runs.

    The German appeared very angry with Perez while talking on the radio but went to the Force India pit to apologise afterward, blaming mechanical failure and not the Mexican for the collision.

    Jenson Button had a late start to P2 after missing nearly all of P1 with an engine problem, and incredibly, his McLaren once again let him down in the latter session. The car came to a halt in the middle of the track and started rolling backwards as soon as the former World Champion exited, forcing stewards to step in to prevent further damage.

    As reported by BBC Sport, McLaren made the decision to stop the car after the team found an anomaly in the engine data

    The Lotus cars impressed with their pace during Friday's late session, with Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean both looking strong in the straights. But the final corner gave the duo real trouble, as both went wide on several occasions.

    Force India's problems continued, with the car visibly sliding all over the place. The team managed a spot on the podium in last year's race, but looking at the first two practice sessions, chances of a repeat performance are slim.

    Valtteri Bottas held off Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo to secure fifth place, with Maldonado finishing an impressive seventh. Torro Rosso's lack of pure power was exposed on some of the track's long straights, with the team not coming anywhere near the top 10 at the speed trap or in the final standings.

    Here are the full results from the second practice in Bahrain, courtesy of

    PosNoDriverTeamBest Time
    16Nico RosbergMercedes1:34.647
    244Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:34.762
    37Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1:35.174
    45Sebastian VettelFerrari1:35.277
    577Valtteri BottasWilliams1:35.280
    63Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing1:35.449
    713Pastor MaldonadoLotus1:35.474
    812Felipe NasrSauber1:35.793
    926Daniil KvyatRed Bull Racing1:35.883
    1019Felipe MassaWilliams1:35.884
    119Marcus EricssonSauber1:36.148
    1214Fernando AlonsoMcLaren1:36.191
    138Romain GrosjeanLotus1:36.334
    1455Carlos SainzToro Rosso1:36.471
    1527Nico HulkenbergForce India1:36.805
    1633Max VerstappenToro Rosso1:36.917
    1711Sergio PerezForce India1:37.062
    1828Will StevensManor Marussia1:39.131
    1922Jenson ButtonMcLaren1:39.209
    2098Roberto MerhiManor Marussia1:40.592

P1: Ferraris Fastest as Jenson Button Struggles

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    Luca Bruno/Associated Press

    It was a good opening practice session for Ferrari at the 2015 Bahrain Grand Prix as Kimi Raikkonen topped the timesheets to Sebastian Vettel in second place on Friday.

    The German four-time world champion finished two-tenths down on the Finn in a somewhat bizarre session which saw Mercedes well down the rankings.

    Nico Rosberg finished 15th-fastest ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton in 16th, but it was clear that Mercedes were concentrating less on pace, and more on setting consistent lap times.

    Valtteri Bottas went third fastest, with Felipe Massa down in 10th in the other Williams, while Torro Rosso's Carlos Sainz impressed again with the fourth-fastest lap time.

    Fernando Alonso made it into the top 10 in the McLaren, going seventh fastest, and the two Manor Marussias propped up the pack.

    Jenson Button had yet more issues in his McLaren as he spun early on the first corner in first practice and stalled in the middle of the track.

    He never returned to the track as his mechanics worked on issues with the engine of his car—Button was the only driver not to set a lap time.

    It has not been the best of starts to the season for the 2009 world champion, and Button is not predicting huge improvements in Bahrain, per BBC Sport's Andrew Benson:  

    I don't think you'll see a big step forward in terms of outright power here. It is a very difficult race for everyone because of long straights heat and wind, which brings a lot of sand, and it will be tricky circuit for us because of the long straights. The positive for us is we are pretty good at looking after rear tyres; whether that is enough to move forward I'm not sure.

    Brit Jolyon Palmer went well in the Lotus on Friday, more than holding his own as he went 14th to team-mate Pastor Maldonado's 12th.

    Here are the full results from first practice in Bahrain, courtesy of

    17Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1:37.827 
    25Sebastian VettelFerrari1:38.0290.202
    377Valtteri BottasWilliams1:38.3900.563
    455Carlos SainzToro Rosso1:38.4470.620
    53Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing1:38.4550.628
    633Max VerstappenToro Rosso1:38.5040.677
    714Fernando AlonsoMcLaren1:38.5980.771
    812Felipe NasrSauber1:38.6280.801
    926Daniil KvyatRed Bull Racing1:38.6610.834
    1019Felipe MassaWilliams1:38.7900.963
    1111Sergio PerezForce India1:38.7930.966
    1213Pastor MaldonadoLotus1:38.8421.015
    1327Nico HulkenbergForce India1:39.1871.360
    1430Jolyon PalmerLotus1:39.2831.456
    156Nico RosbergMercedes1:39.2931.466
    1644Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:39.5321.705
    179Marcus EricssonSauber1:39.5341.707
    1828Will StevensManor Marussia1:42.9735.146
    1998Roberto MerhiManor Marussia1:44.2656.438
    2022Jenson ButtonMcLarenNo time



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