Nico Rosberg sets the pace at Bahrain practice

Mercedes drive and championship leader Nico Rosberg lapped half a second faster than team mate Lewis Hamilton, and inside last year’s pole position time, in Friday’s first free practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix.Rosberg, who is chasing his fifth victory in a row after winning the season-opener in Australia, produced an impressive lap of one minute 32.294 seconds on a comparatively cool and gusty afternoon at the Sakhir circuit.

Lewis Hamilton who has won this Grand Prix for the past two years was second fastest with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen third and 1.834 off Rosberg’s pace on the same soft tyres as the Mercedes pair.The Red Bulls of Australian Daniel Ricciardo and Russian Daniil Kvyat were fourth and fifth.Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel who finished third in Australia, was 11th fastest but used the slower medium tyre as he went through the set-up programme.

Stoffel Vandoorne gets acquainted with his McLaren.

Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne had his first practice with McLaren ahead of his Formula One race debut as stand-in for the injured Fernando Alonso and was 18th on the 22-driver timesheet with British team mate Jenson Button nearly a second faster in 14th.


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