Hamilton tops opening practice in Bahrain for Mercedes

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Lewis Hamilton started the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend in perfect form as he topped opening practice in the gulf state for Mercedes.

Hamilton, who won last time out in Malaysia, seized the top spot in the closing minutes of the session, to edge out his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, as the Brackley-based outfit continued its strong start to the season,

Rosberg ended the opening practice session just two tenths shy of Hamilton, while Alonso was some four and half tenths down on the 2008 champion in third, after the Spaniard was involved in a bizarre incident in the pit lane, when his Ferrari team mistakenly sent him out with one soft tyre, and three medium tyres fitted, which forced him to abort his run.

Nico Hulkenberg, who came home fifth after a race long battle with Alonso in Malaysia, built on his positive start to the season with fourth for Force India.

Jenson Button was fifth for McLaren, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, who went straight on  in the Ferrari at turn one after a heavy lock-up on his long-run.

Kevin Magnussen was seventh in the second McLaren, the Dane having struggled with brake issues early in the hour and a half long session.

Daniil Kvyat, Sergio Perez and Sebastian Vettel rounded out the top 10 for Toro Rosso, Force India, and Red Bull respectively, the defending champion a whole 1.8 seconds slower than Hamilton’s best time.

Felipe Massa was the fastest of the Williams’ in 11th, the Brazilian having spent the majority of the session in the garage, while his temporary team-mate, compatriot Felipe Nasr, was 13th on his first appearance in an F1 practice session, a spot ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, who struggled in what was an off morning for Red Bull.

Pastor Maldonado completed 31 laps for Lotus, at the wheel of the troublesome E22, on his way to 16th overall, his team-mate Romain Grosjean was 19th in the second of the Enstone-based squad’s cars.

Like Nasr, Sauber and Caterham reserve drivers Giedo van der Garde and Robin Frijns made their first FP1 appearances of the year, the two Dutchmen 18th and 21st respectively, the latter completing 35 laps, the most of anyone during the session.

Free Practice One – Classification

1. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 1:37.502 – 14 laps

2. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:37.733  +0.231  – 13 laps

3. Fernando Alonso – Ferrari – 1m37.953  +0.451 – 17 laps

4. Nico Hulkenberg – Force India-Mercedes – 1:38.122  +0.620s – 10 laps

5. Jenson Button – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:38.636  +1.134s – 16 laps

6. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1:38.783  +1.281 – 12 laps

7. Kevin Magnussen – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:38.949  +1.447 – 15 laps

8. Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso-Renault – 1:39.056 +1.554 – 24 laps

9. Sergio Perez – Force India-Mercedes – 1:39.102  +1.600 – 21 laps

10. Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull-Renault – 1:39.389  +1.887 – 16 laps

11. Felipe Massa – Williams-Mercedes – 1:39.533  +2.031 – 11 laps

12. Jean-Eric Vergne – Toro Rosso-Renault – 1:39.862  +2.360 – 26 laps

13. Felipe Nasr – Williams-Mercedes – 1:40.078  +2.576 – 14 laps

14. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull-Renault – 1:40.406  +2.904 – 19 laps

15. Adrian Sutil – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:40.652  +3.150 – 20 laps

16. Pastor Maldonado – Lotus-Renault – 1:40.793  +3.291 – 31 laps

17. Jules Bianchi – Marussia-Ferrari – 1:40.$89  +3.387 – 20 laps

18. Giedo van der Garde – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:40.913  +3.411 – 20 laps

19. Romain Grosjean – Lotus-Renault – 1:41.036  +3.534  – 24 laps

20. Max Chilton – Marussia-Ferrari – 1:41.794  +4.292 – 20 laps

21. Robin Frijns – Caterham-Renault – 1:42.417  +4.915 – 35 laps

22. Marcus Ericsson – Caterham-Renault – 1:42.711  +5.209 – 21 laps

Image courtesy of Daimler

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