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Bahrain GP: Ferrari ahead of struggling Mercedes

[img]https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/onesport/cps/480/cpsprodpb/15F11/production/_100737898_raikkonen_reuters.jpg" srcset="https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/onesport/cps/240/cpsprodpb/15F11/production/_100737898_raikkonen_reuters.jpg 240w, https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/onesport/cps/320/cpsprodpb/15F11/production/_100737898_raikkonen_reuters.jpg 320w, https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/onesport/cps/480/cpsprodpb/15F11/production/_100737898_raikkonen_reuters.jpg 480w, https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/onesport/cps/624/cpsprodpb/15F11/production/_100737898_raikkonen_reuters.jpg 624w, https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/onesport/cps/800/cpsprodpb/15F11/production/_100737898_raikkonen_reuters.jpg 800w" sizes="(min-width: 900px) 50vw, (min-width: 600px) 70vw, 100vw" alt="Kimi Raikkonen" class="">
The Bahrain GP is live on 5 live sports extra and the BBC Sport websiteKimi Raikkonen headed Sebastian Vettel to a Ferrari one-two in second practice at the Bahrain Grand Prix.Mercedes appeared to be struggling - Valtteri Bottas was third and 0.563 seconds off the pace, with team-mate Lewis Hamilton 0.092secs adrift.Hamilton was blocked by Haas driver Kevin Magnussen at the last corner on his fastest lap but was already 0.4secs off the pace before that happened.
Red Bull's Max Verstappen was fifth, ahead of team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.The Australian was also blocked on his fastest lap - by Bottas.It is always hard to draw an accurate conclusion as to the competitive picture from practice and that was made even more difficult in this session because both Hamilton and Raikkonen encountered problems on their fastest laps.Raikkonen suffered a lack of front grip at the final corner and lost time, while Hamilton had his trouble with Magnussen.The world champion also had to abandon his first lap on the fastest super-soft tyres after running wide at the first corner when he locked his brakes. That would have meant his tyres were not at their absolute optimum when Hamilton did his next lap.
Trouble for impressive Raikkonen[/img]

Click to see content: Bahrain_winners
Are Red Bull actually fastest here?
Even Red Bull's pace was not necessarily their optimum. Verstappen edged Ricciardo by 0.006secs but Ricciardo would have been expected to be the faster Red Bull had he not been blocked by Bottas because Verstappen's weekend was compromised by missing the entire first session.Verstappen then ran out of sync with the other drivers - doing more laps at the start of the session to get a feel for the car, which meant the track would have been in better condition for him when he did his fast lap later in the session than others.The gap between the Ferraris was also small - Raikkonen had a slight edge on pace, as he had in the first race of the season in Australia, but was just 0.011secs ahead of Vettel.On race pace on the super-soft tyre, the Red Bulls appeared to have an advantage - they were an average of about 0.3secs quicker than the Ferraris, with Bottas about 0.1secs off the red cars and Hamilton a further 0.3secs back from that.Best of the rest was Renault's Nico Hulkenberg in seventh, ahead of the surprising Toro Rosso of Pierre Gasly and McLaren's Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne.If those positions are repeated on Saturday in qualifying, it would be embarrassing for McLaren at the home race for their chief shareholders, the Bahraini sovereign investment fund. McLaren dropped Honda engines at the end of last year - at a net cost of about $100m - claiming their lack of performance and reliability was holding back a car they said was one of the best in the field.
[img]http://www.bbc.co.uk/data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP//yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7[/img]

Keep it brief: Ferrari's Vettel arrived in the Bahrain paddock mysteriously carrying a black briefcase
[img]http://www.bbc.co.uk/data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP//yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7[/img]

Hamilton was nothing like as dominant as he was in Australia two weeks ago
Predict who will win in Bahrain
Predict who you think will finish in the top three at the Bahrain Grand Prix
[img]http://www.bbc.co.uk/data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP//yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7[/img]

Verstappen fans found little to cheer as the Dutchman ground to a halt early on in the first session
[img]http://www.bbc.co.uk/data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP//yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7[/img]

Text & audio commentary is live on the BBC Sport websiteBahrain Grand Prix coverage detailsBahrain Grand Prix first practice
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