Bahrain F1 Grand Prix 2018 Qualifying: Results, Times from Friday's Practice

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistApril 6, 2018

Ferrari's Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen walks down the pit lane during the first practice session on April 6, 2018, ahead of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir / AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC        (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images)

Kimi Raikkonen led the timesheets after Friday's second practice session for the 2018 Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix, where team-mate Sebastian Vettel finished second to round out a Ferrari one-two.

Raikkonen recorded a fastest time of one minute and 29.817 seconds, while Vettel was a little more than one-hundredth of a second off the pace. However, the Finn is at risk of a grid penalty due to an unsafe pit-stop release

Mercedes duo Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton finished the second session in third and fourth, respectively, as they seek to tee up an advantageous grid position in Bahrain.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo finished fastest in first practice, while team-mate Max Verstappen couldn't set a timed run due to engine problems and was forced to wait until the afternoon session to take to the track.

Here's a look at the results from the second practice session, per the official Formula One Twitter account:

Formula 1 @F1

INITIAL CLASSIFICATION (END OF #FP2) Kimi takes the top spot - but has to park up early due to a loose wheel #F1 #BahrainGP https://t.co/JzmYNHDcQb


Ferrari Fastest and Flourishing

Those hoping to see a more competitive season from Ferrari were already boosted by Vettel's win in Australia, but the early preparations in Bahrain suggest the victorious streak can continue on Sunday.

Raikkonen finished more than half-a-second faster than third-place finisher Bottas, Mercedes' quickest in P2, although Channel 4 F1 showed how his second practice session came to an unfortunately early end:

Channel 4 F1® @C4F1

Not more wheel nut issues! This time it is on Raikkonen's Ferrari 😮 Ferrari: "Stop the car!" 😩 He is still fastest, but will take no further action in the session. What is going on in the pits this year? 😟 #C4F1 🇧🇭 #BahrainGP https://t.co/ohqjMjc02w

BBC Sport's Andrew Benson discussed how Ferrari could yet incur a penalty for Raikkonen's unsafe release from the pits, pending an investigation from the stewards.

Particularly promising for the current standings leaders was to see Raikkonen's partner, Vettel, finish so close to his team-mate while the rest of the field sit off the pace, a theme they'll be hoping to maintain in coming days.

Charles LeClerc In the Frame

There are few young guns capturing attention early on this season more so than Formula 2 champions Charles LeClerc, who finished 16th for Sauber in Friday's second practice with a time of one minute, 32.372 seconds.

After placing 13th in Melbourne several weeks ago, LeClerc is hopeful of having more senior impact in his maiden season among the big guns, showing his eagerness ahead of Friday's restart:

Sauber F1 Team @SauberF1Team

In a blurrrrr... @Charles_Leclerc has gone off to #FP2 as if he couldn't wait 😁 #BahrainGP #F1 https://t.co/RU7jGSh1Wj

LeClerc finished three-tenths of a second faster than Sauber team-mate Marcus Ericsson and can consider Bahrain another opportunity on which to cultivate his confidence in contending at this standard.


Red Bull Rousing

After Ricciardo's fastest finish in the morning session and Verstappen entering the fray to finish fifth in the afternoon, Red Bull could afford to take some positives from an up-and-down day of action in Bahrain.

Naturally, Mercedes will shoulder the burden to slow Ferrari's progress at the start of this season, but Ricciardo told Channel 4 F1 his outfit could be considered sleepers:

Channel 4 F1® @C4F1

Tom: "So do you think you could win this weekend in Bahrain?" 🤔 Ricciardo: "If we have the car we did two weeks ago. Yes." 💪 Strong words from @danielricciardo, who believes victory is up for grabs this weekend 😎 #C4F1 🇧🇭 #BahrainGP https://t.co/gpufSGzQRY

Verstappen will now look to keep any engine issues at bay while Ricciardo aims to maintain his position as a lurking threat on the field's upper echelon, having clinched a valuable sixth place after second practice.


Early Issues for Verstappen

Verstappen was ready to go out on track even before the green lights came on, eager to put in as many laps as possible under the scorching sun. He was the first out, but his run didn't last long, as an engine issue surfaced after just minutes.

The problem was so bad he had to push his own car back to the pits:

The Dutchman would not set a timed lap and only completed two laps in total.


Ricciardo Goes Fastest

It wasn't all doom and gloom for Red Bull, however, as Verstappen's team-mate Ricciardo topped the timesheets. The Australian also spent a lot of time in the garage but did come out late for his best runs, promptly beating both Mercedes and Ferrari.

F1 writer Sean Kelly put the numbers behind his fastest lap into perspective:

Sean Kelly @virtualstatman

Daniel Ricciardo's 1:31.060 is 1.6s quicker than the best FP1 time last season, and would have almost got him into Q3 last season. It's currently daytime, the engine is turned down, and he's not even used the supersofts yet. The 2018 cars are another big leap forward #BahrainGP

Mercedes' late focus was on the long runs, and the Silver Arrows remain the favourites on a track that is designed for power, but Ricciardo's good showing will be a major boost for Red Bull nonetheless. 

The team needs a good outing after the poor showing in Melbourne.


Busy Session for Haas

Kevin Magnussen played a rather painful joke on one of the mechanics as he waited to get going:

Sky Sports F1 🏎 @SkySportsF1

Naughty @KevinMagnussen 😂 definitely a low blow! Sky Go: https://t.co/bDlvcNroHY Blog: https://t.co/b3qcRtGXrA #SkyF1 #F1 #BahrainGP https://t.co/F2n73vtASc

The American team also worked hard to ensure there won't be a repeat of the disastrous Australian Grand Prix, where both their cars retired after failed pit stops:

Haas F1 Team @HaasF1Team

Pit stop practice on both cars as we complete our first timed runs. @RGrosjean - P7 @KevinMagnussen - P10 #FP1 #BahrainGP #HaasF1 https://t.co/mDW69gUj83

Both Magnussen and Romain Grosjean were among the early standouts and finished inside the top 10 in a positive sign for Haas.

Grosjean did have a close encounter with Sauber's Charles Leclerc late, with their wheels nearly touching. 

The second practice session will start at 4 p.m. BST (11 a.m. ET).