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Ricciardo puts Red Bull on top in Bahrain first practice

Daniel Ricciardo (AUS), Red Bull Racing. Bahrain Grand Prix practice
© XPB 

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo took command of the times in the first free practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Australian set a time of 1:31.060s late in the session in jump Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas and the Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel. Lewis Hamilton had a quiet session, with a lock-up on his flying lap leaving him fifth fastest and over a second off Ricciardo's pace.

However it was not all good news for Red Bull. Max Verstappen ran only two laps in the session before coasting to a halt with electrical issues which could not be resolved in the time remaining.

Bahrain Grand Prix - Free Practice 1 results

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:31.060s 14
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:31.364s + 0.304s 24
3 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:31.458s + 0.398s 18
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:31.470s + 0.410s 17
5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:32.272s + 1.212s 21
6 Romain Grosjean Haas 1:32.516s + 1.456s 23
7 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 1:32.779s + 1.719s 26
8 Carlos Sainz Renault 1:32.885s + 1.825s 21
9 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:32.971s + 1.911s 19
10 Nico Hülkenberg Renault 1:33.104s + 2.044s 18
11 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:33.223s + 2.163s 24
12 Charles Leclerc Sauber 1:33.278s + 2.218s 20
13 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1:33.364s + 2.304s 25
14 Lance Stroll Williams 1:33.379s + 2.319s 22
15 Sergey Sirotkin Williams 1:33.467s + 2.407s 29
16 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 1:33.497s + 2.437s 27
17 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:33.508s + 2.448s 22
18 Sergio Pérez Force India 1:33.662s + 2.602s 26
19 Esteban Ocon Force India 1:33.794s + 2.734s 23
20 Max Verstappen Red Bull 2

The session was held in the bright sunshine of the middle of the afternoon. That immediately made it less relevant to teams focussed on preparing for qualifying and the race which will be held after dark under floodlights.

When the track opened for business it was the Force India pair of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon who were the first to set times.

However Verstappen's problems started early when his Red Bull coasted to a halt within the first 15 minutes of the session. He stopped within site of the the pit lane entrance, and with the help of several marshalls he was able to push the RB14 the rest of the way.

The team worked hard to tackle the electrical issues with the Renault power unit, but in the end ran out of time. Having lost all of the first session, the Dutch driver will now need to work extra hard in the evening practice.

Verstappen's departure was handled under local waved yellows and did not disturb the session. There were no other major incidents, although both Lance Stroll (Williams) and Charles Leclerc (Sauber) went for harmless spins in turn 8 after losing the back end of their cars at the half hour mark.

By the time the teams handed back their first set of medium tyres, Hamilton and Bottas had taken control of the session ahead of the two Ferraris. The Briton led the way with a time of 1:32.532s at the mid point of the 90 minute practice. When the cars headed back out on soft tyres, McLaren's Fernando Alonso was able to jump into third place.

Hamilton's flying lap was thwarted by a lock-up at turn 10, which left him nine tenths off the latest lap of 1:31.364s from his team mate Bottas. The Ferraris were able to put in better times, with Raikkonen going second just a hundredth off the Finn. Vettel was close behind, and a whisker over a tenth back.

The times looked to have been settled when Ricciardo gave Red Bull reason to cheer by punching in the fastest lap of the afternoon with a time of 1:31.060s with a quarter of an hour to go, which proved unassailable by his rivals in the remaining time before the chequered flag.

Romain Grosjean was sixth fastest for Haas albeit on supersofts, with his similarly-shod team mate Kevin Magnussen ninth fastest. Pierre Gasly overcome early traction issues to put Toro Rosso seventh on soft tyres, ahead of Carlos Sainz. The Spaniard was on supersorts, as was his Renault team mate Nico Hulkenberg who rounded out the top ten.

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