Kimi Raikkonen emerged P1 in a Ferrari 1-2 in the first free practice in a mixed-up session this Friday in Bahrain. Valtteri Bottas finished third and the two Mercedes of Rosberg and Hamilton were outside the top ten.
Conditions were far from representative of what drivers can expect on qualifying or the race itself, and it was a constantly evolving track in Sakhir, leading teams to focus on their long run pace during most of FP1.
Jolyon Palmer ran again for the Lotus team, and completed the most laps: 31, as most teams put in a decent amount of laps, while Jenson Button unable to finish more than two. His McLaren crew replaced his battery pack he should be back running in FP2.
P1 position then was reached by several during this session, with Fernando Alonso topping the sheets at one point, as did youngster sensation Max Verstappen. It was during the final practice stint when Raikkonen, Vettel and Bottas ran out to set their fastest times — while Mercedes did not leave the garage and were left P15 and 16.
FP2 is held in much more representative evening conditions and should be more realistic as to what we can expect during qualifying and the Sunday race.
The top ten in the first practice:
1. Raikkonen — 1:37.827
2. Vettel — +0.202
3. Bottas — +0.563
4. Sainz — +0.620
5. Ricciardo — +0.628
6. Verstappen — +0.677
7. Alonso — +0.771
8. Nasr — +0.801
9. Kvyat — +0.834
10. Massa — +0.963