World Champion Lewis Hamilton completed a sweep of Friday’s practice sessions in Bahrain while Red Bull’s Alexander Albon crashed heavily.
Hamilton completed an out-of-sequence Soft tyre run to set a time of 1:28.971s as he wound up three-tenths clear of Max Verstappen beneath the lights at the Bahrain International Circuit.
Verstappen’s best time, set on Medium tyres, had been the benchmark for a large portion of the session until Hamilton improved with around 10 minutes remaining, vaulting to the front from sixth place.
Soft-shod Valtteri Bottas placed third, just 0.018s down on Verstappen, while Racing Point’s Sergio Perez, Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo and AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly all displayed encouraging speed.
Lando Norris, Lance Stroll and Daniil Kvyat took seventh, eighth and ninth respectively, ahead of the under-pressure Albon.
Albon suffers sizeable shunt
Red Bull finished the session with the second-fastest time – but also ended the day with a severely damaged car.
Albon drifted wide through the final corner onto the dusty run-off and as he accelerated his RB16 snapped sideways, bounced across the gravel, before impacting heavily into the wall.
The nature of the impact caused damage to all four corners of the car and the session was red-flagged while the wrecked RB16 was retrieved.
The session was then red-flagged once more just seconds after restarting as a stray dog appeared on track at Turn 1.
Ferrari on the back foot
Ferrari thrust itself into outside contention for third in the Constructors’ Championship with an encouraging display last time out in Turkey.
But after playing down its prospects on Thursday its natural caution appeared to be validated on a subdued Friday in Bahrain.
Neither driver classified inside the top 10 in the first session and that trend continued in the afternoon.
Sebastian Vettel finished 12th, with Charles Leclerc 14th, last year’s pole-sitter setting a best time 1.4s down on Hamilton.
The usual sextuplet finished at the foot of the timesheets.
Antonio Giovinazzi was the fastest of the group, two-tenths down on Ferrari’s Leclerc, while Kimi Raikkonen and George Russell both returned to action after missing the first session.
Saturday’s third practice session is scheduled for 14:00 local time.
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1:29.318||0.347||34|
|4||Sergio Perez||Racing Point||1:29.403||0.432||32|
|8||Lance Stroll||Racing Point||1:29.871||0.900||32|
|10||Alex Albon||Red Bull||1:30.014||1.043||17|
|15||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||1:30.627||1.656||33|
|17||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||1′:0.928||1.957||34|