Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg dominated the first Friday practice at the desert in Sakhir, topping his team mate Lewis Hamilton, with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen placed third while only using the soft tire.
How close will Ferrari be to the Mercedes benchmark? It’s too soon to tell yet, and FP2 will be a much better indication of where they are when teams go for qualifying simulations on the softer tire.
It was a sunny session as track conditions didn’t present a particularly harsh environment for the teams - we didn’t have any incidents in the session, and they were all able to make installation checks nicely.
It was a strong showing for Red Bull, with both drivers placed fourth and fifth respectively. Team Boss Christian Horner said it’s a positive being close to Ferrari after the session.
The popular man on the paddock was Stoffel Vandoorne, who subs in for an injured Fernando Alonso this weekend. His first session saw him finish 18th - nine tenths down on Jenson Button, while McLaren made plenty aero runs.