Bahrain GP: Ricciardo leads Bottas in FP1, trouble for Verstappen

Daniel Ricciardo set the fastest time in the first practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix as Red Bull had the edge on a tight Mercedes/Ferrari battle.

Bahrain GP: Ricciardo leads Bottas in FP1, trouble for Verstappen
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H
Lance Stroll, Williams FW41 spins
Marcus Ericsson, Sauber C37
Lance Stroll, Williams FW41 spins
Carlos Sainz Jr., Renault Sport F1 Team R.S. 18
Charles Leclerc, Sauber C37
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+
Esteban Ocon, Force India VJM11
Carlos Sainz Jr., Renault Sport F1 Team R.S. 18
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB14

Ricciardo leapt to the top of the leaderboard late in the opening 90-minute session at the Sakhir circuit to go three tenths clear of Valtteri Bottas.

Kimi Raikkonen lapped within a tenth of the lead Mercedes, with Sebastian Vettel just 0.012s further back in the daylight session.

As qualifying and the race will be held after sunset, teams were happy to wait to get proper running under way.

After initial benchmarks from the Force India drivers and Ricciardo's Red Bull, Mercedes developed a monopoly on the lead position for much of the session.

Hamilton and Bottas took turns in front with Hamilton's 1m32.532s the benchmark at the session's mid-point.

When running resumed after a short break, during which track temperature fell from 42C to 39C, Hamilton made a mistake on his next soft-tyre run.

Though he improved on his second flying lap, Hamilton wound up 0.9s behind Bottas, who made the best of his new tyres and hammered in a 1m31.364s.

The two Ferrari drivers jumped into the chasm of laptime between the Mercedes drivers with 20 minutes remaining.

Red Bull's session was threatening to turn out miserably as Max Verstappen suffered a loss of power early on and Ricciardo stayed in the garage after his early foray on medium tyres.

Verstappen did not emerge again, ending the session with just two laps and no time completed as Red Bull changed his engine manifold assembly.

However, Ricciardo headed out in the final 20 minutes on soft tyres and made an immediate impact with a 1m31.060s, 0.304s quicker than Bottas.

Haas again emerged best of the rest behind the big three teams, with Romain Grosjean 1.4s off the pace in sixth and teammate Kevin Magnussen also in the top 10 in ninth as both used supersoft tyres.

Pierre Gasly complained of traction problems early in the session but recovered impressively to set the seventh-fastest time, 1.7s off the pace, with soft tyres on his Toro Rosso.

The Red Bull junior team has been given upgraded engine parts by Honda for this race after turbo and MGU-H problems were identified in Australia and was confident its car would suit the low-speed parts of Bahrain well.

Gasly outpaced several cars on supersofts, including the Renaults of Carlos Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg (eighth and 10th) and both McLarens.

Charles Leclerc was another star performer on softs.

Despite spinning early in the session the Sauber driver slotted into 12th, between the supersoft-shod McLarens of Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne as they evaluated the upgrades that were originally planned for the opening race in Australia.

ClaDriverChassisEngineLapsTimeGap
1 australia Daniel Ricciardo  Red Bull TAG 14 1'31.060  
2 finland Valtteri Bottas  Mercedes Mercedes 24 1'31.364 0.304
3 finland Kimi Raikkonen  Ferrari Ferrari 18 1'31.458 0.398
4 germany Sebastian Vettel  Ferrari Ferrari 17 1'31.470 0.410
5 united_kingdom Lewis Hamilton  Mercedes Mercedes 21 1'32.272 1.212
6 france Romain Grosjean  Haas Ferrari 23 1'32.516 1.456
7 france Pierre Gasly  Toro Rosso Honda 26 1'32.779 1.719
8 spain Carlos Sainz   Renault Renault 21 1'32.885 1.825
9 denmark Kevin Magnussen  Haas Ferrari 19 1'32.971 1.911
10 germany Nico Hulkenberg  Renault Renault 18 1'33.104 2.044
11 spain Fernando Alonso  McLaren Renault 24 1'33.223 2.163
12 monaco Charles Leclerc  Sauber Ferrari 20 1'33.278 2.218
13 belgium Stoffel Vandoorne  McLaren Renault 25 1'33.364 2.304
14 canada Lance Stroll  Williams Mercedes 22 1'33.379 2.319
15 russia Sergey Sirotkin  Williams Mercedes 29 1'33.467 2.407
16 new_zealand Brendon Hartley  Toro Rosso Honda 27 1'33.497 2.437
17 sweden Marcus Ericsson  Sauber Ferrari 22 1'33.508 2.448
18 mexico Sergio Perez  Force India Mercedes 26 1'33.662 2.602
19 france Esteban Ocon  Force India Mercedes 23 1'33.794 2.734
20 netherlands Max Verstappen  Red Bull TAG 2  
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