Bahrain GP: Mercedes fastest in FP1

Mercedes ended the first practice session of the Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix fastest, with nearly a second separating Lewis Hamilton in first and Sergio Perez in third.

It was a relatively quiet session in terms of drama, and Hamilton topped the timesheet for the majority of the hour and a half, setting a best time of 1m29.033s, 0.449s faster than his teammate, Valtteri Bottas.

Perez ended up third continuing his strong pace that he showed in the Turkish Grand Prix, while Carlos Sainz was fourth fastest in his McLaren.

Pierre Gasly was the fastest of the two AlphaTauri drivers and managed to end up fifth fastest, making him the quickest Honda powered driver in the session.

Max Verstappen had a subdued session, ending up 1.261s down on Hamilton’s best effort, to end up sixth, while Alex Albon was just 0.007s further back in seventh.

Esteban Ocon sat out the early part of the session, after suffering what appeared to be a suspension issue, but he was able to return to the track and ended up eighth fastest.

Lance Stroll ended up ninth, setting his best time on the soft compound tyre. He will be looking for an improvement in the afternoon after being over four tenths slower than teammate Perez.

Another driver who will be looking for an improvement as the weekend goes on is Daniel Ricciardo.

The Renault driver was tenth fastest, just over a tenth slower than Ocon, but his time was set on the medium compound, while Ocon’s fastest time was set on the hards.

Ferraris form has improved in recent races, but both cars were still outside of the top ten with Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel ending up 11th and 12th.

Robert Kubica, who was taking Kimi Raikkonen’s place for free practice one was 13th, while Roy Nissany, who was in George Russell’s car was slowest of all, 3.7s slower than Hamilton’s best effort.