Leclerc Quickest in FP1 in Bahrain


Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc topped the timesheet in the opening practice sessions for the Bahrain Grand Prix beating team-mate Sebastian Vettel by 0.236s.

The Ferrari duo ended the 90-minute session more than seven tenths ahead of chief rivals Mercedes, for whom Valtteri Bottas was quickest.

The pace of the Italian squad was a return to the good for the team had shown in pre-season testing but which had been surprisingly absent at the season-opener two weeks ago in Australia.

Mercedes made the early running at the Sakhir circuit with Bottas and Lewis Hamilton using medium tyres to outpace both Ferrari drivers who chose to run on soft compound Pirellis.

After their initialy soundings of the conditions the Ferrari pair then stretched their legs, with Vettel leading the way with a time of 1:31.747 and Leclerc slotting into second, 0.137s down on his team-mate.

Mercedes responded, and when they bolted on soft tyres Bottas returned to P1 with a lap of 1:31.328. Hamilton followed, slotting into P2 but almost three tenths behind his team-mate.

The Silver Arrows’ hold on the top two spots didn’t last long, however, as bothg Ferrari’s soon emerged on fresh softs. Vettel too spot top with a lap of 1:30.617 but then Leclerc went quicker to claim P1 with a lap of 1:30.354.

The Mercedes pair were followed on the timesheet by the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly. Verstappen finished the session 1.3s off Leclerc’s pace with new team-mate Gasly a little under two tenths of a second further back.

Carlos Sainz was in impressive form for McLaren setting a best time of 1:31.952 to take seventh place. The Spaniard edged works Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg by 0.088s.

Daniil Kvyat was ninth for Toro Rosso ahead of Alfa Romeo Racing’s Kimi Raikkonen.

2019 Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix – Free Practice 1
1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 20 1:30.354
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 21 1:30.617 0.263
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 26 1:31.328 0.974
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 23 1:31.601 1.247
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull 21 1:31.673 1.319
6 Pierre Gasly Red Bull 17 1:31.815 1.461
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren 28 1:31.952 1.598
8 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 17 1:32.040 1.686
9 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 24 1:32.339 1.985
10 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 23 1:32.385 2.031
11 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 19 1:32.401 2.047
12 Denmark Kevin Magnussen Haas 21 1:32.602 2.248
13 Alex Albon Toro Rosso 24 1:32.874 2.520
14 Sergio Perez Racing Point 20 1:32.885 2.531
15 Lando Norris McLaren 29 1:32.945 2.591
16 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 22 1:32.949 2.595
17 Romain Grosjean Haas 22 1:32.994 2.640
18 Lance Stroll Racing Point 16 1:33.518 3.164
19 George Russell Williams 26 1:34.188 3.834
20 Robert Kubica Williams 27 1:34.253 3.899

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