Raikkonen sets early practice pace in Bahrain

Kimi Raikkonen was fastest in the opening free practice session at the Bahrain International Circuit ahead of Scuderia Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel in a relatively quiet session on Friday.

The Finnish driver, seeking his first victory since returning to the team at the beginning of 2014 following two years with Lotus, set a best time of 1m37.827s in almost fifty degree heat, beating his team-mate by just over two tenths of a second.

In a strange turn of events, regular pacesetters Mercedes were languishing down in fifteenth and sixteenth position, with Nico Rosberg ahead of Lewis Hamilton, as they seemed to concentrate on long runs, and with both qualifying and the race set to take place in noticeably cooler conditions, times will not be reflective on overall pace this weekend.

Valtteri Bottas was third quickest in the leading Williams Martini Racing machine, just ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr, who turned his first laps of the Sakhir circuit in the session and took a positive looking fourth fastest time for Scuderia Toro Rosso.

Daniel Ricciardo was fifth for Infiniti Red Bull Racing ahead of the second Toro Rosso of Max Verstappen, while Fernando Alonso was an encouraging seventh for McLaren-Honda.

Felipe Nasr was eighth in the leading Sauber, ahead of the second Red Bull of Daniil Kvyat, while Felipe Massa completed the top ten in the second Williams, just beating the Sahara Force India of Sergio Perez by 0.003s.

Whereas Alonso was seventh, the second McLaren of Jenson Button did not set a time after spinning at turn 1.

Bahrain Grand Prix Free Practice 1 Times

17Kimi RaikkonenFINFerrari1m37.827s
25Sebastian VettelGERFerrari1m38.029s
377Valtteri BottasFINWilliams-Mercedes1m38.390s
455Carlos Sainz JrESPToro Rosso-Renault1m38.447s
53Daniel RicciardoAUSRed Bull-Renault1m38.455s
633Max VerstappenNEDToro Rosso-Renault1m38.504s
714Fernando AlonsoESPMcLaren-Honda1m38.598s
812Felipe NasrITASauber-Ferrari1m38.628s
926Daniil KvyatRUSRed Bull-Renault1m38.661s
1019Felipe MassaBRZWilliams-Mercedes1m38.790s
1111Sergio PerezMEXForce India-Mercedes1m38.793s
1213Pastor MaldonadoVENLotus-Mercedes1m38.842s
1327Nico HulkenbergGERForce India-Mercedes1m39.187s
1430Jolyon PalmerGBRLotus-Mercedes1m39.283s
156Nico RosbergGERMercedes1m39.293s
1644Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes1m39.532s
179Marcus EricssonSWESauber-Ferrari1m39.534s
1828Will StevensGBRManor-Ferrari1m42.973s
1998Roberto MerhiESPManor-Ferrari1m44.265s
2022Jenson ButtonGBRMcLaren-HondaNo Time