Raikkonen fastest in final practice session in Bahrain

Arnold Nichols
April 8, 2018

This setback follows Hamilton's bitter disappointment in Australia two weeks ago, when he led the season-opening grand prix from pole position only to finish second behind Vettel. Vettel was joined by Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen on the podium.

Hamilton has to take a five-place grid penalty for changing a gearbox on Friday.

"I was very happy with both laps in the end, and very happy with the result and the way the auto was handling and responding", he added.

On race pace on the super-soft tyre, the Red Bulls appeared to have an advantage - they were an average of about 0.2secs quicker than Raikkonen, with the Mercedes a similar margin back from the Ferrari.

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 vehicle, which meant the track would have been in better condition for him when he did his fast lap later in the session than others.

Lewis Hamilton, who travelled in to the weekend favorite for victory after noticed it sailed off by an illtimed digital safety auto two weeks ago at the season-opener at Melbourne, was just fourth fastest, 0.823 minutes away Raikkonen's most useful.

In a further boost for Ferrari, the aging Kimi Raikkonen has looked sharp all weekend, leading the second and third practice.

Kimi Raikkonen
GETTYKimi Raikkonen and Ferrari were hugely unfortunate for the Finn to DNF in Bahrain

The reigning world champion was forced to settle for second in the season opener in Australia as a shrewd strategy call from Ferrari handed Sebastian Vettel victory. I know exactly what I want, and we need to work on it.

Dutchman Max Verstappen, who missed the first session due to a power failure, was fifth for Red Bull ahead of team-mate Australian Daniel Ricciardo.

"We're focusing on our selves, on the set-up mostly and try to get a better feel which at times was good, other times was not yet there".

Renault was best of the rest as Nico Hulkenberg finished while Carlos Sainz was not much further behind in eighth.

Gasly was just 1.371secs off pole in the Toro Rosso, a spectacular performance from the Frenchman, who is in his first full season in F1 after being drafted in towards the end of last season.

Pierre Gasly was ninth fastest for Toro Rosso, 1.570 seconds off the pace while Fernando Alonso completed the top ten for McLaren, trailing Gasly by a mere gap of 0.007 seconds.

At the start of qualifying, Romain Grosjean (Haas), Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin (both Williams), Marcus Ericsson and Charles Leclerc (both Sauber) were eliminated from Q1.

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