Mercedes substitute, George Russell proved quickest throughout Friday Practice for the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix as teams adapted to the outer layout of Bahrain International Circuit.
Friday was in particular notable for the first time that Lewis Hamilton failed to participate in Friday Practice due to a positive Coronavirus test earlier this week, whilst Pietro Fittipaldi and Jack Aitken made their F1 debuts with Haas and Williams respectively.
Russell who had stepped up to Mercedes for this weekend however found himself fastest throughout both practice sessions as we round up the biggest incidents of throughout Practice.
Antonio Giovinazzi was first out alongside Lando Norris and Romain Grosjean’s stand-in at Haas, Fittipaldi as several drivers opted for installation laps ahead of a sixth minute Virtual Safety Car test.
McLaren’s Carlos Sainz soon afterwards set the first benchmark of a 1m 05.259 before quickly improving to 56.631 seconds, as Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo seized control at the top to lower the benchmark to 55.845 in the 21st minute.
Valtteri Bottas however trimmed that lap time to a 55.154 ahead of Max Verstappen and Alex Albon, whilst George Russell on race weekend debut at Mercedes hung around midfield placings, as he adapted to the track.
Everyone soon decided to attempt an early qualifying simulation with Russell going top on a 55.030 which was bettered minutes later by Verstappen who went fastest by 0.182s and 0.020s quicker than Bottas just moments later.
Albon however improved to go 0.037s quicker than his Dutch teammate with a 54.811 for just two minutes when Russell set a session topping time of 54.546, before Verstappen improved on his second attempt to finish FP1 in second ahead of Albon and Bottas.
AlphaTauri enjoyed a solid session with Daniil Kvyat in fifth ahead of Pierre Gasly whilst Daniel Ricciardo headed a Renault and Ferrari sandwich containing Sebastian Vettel, Esteban Ocon and Charles Leclerc to round out the top ten.
Fittipaldi finished his first F1 session in 19th ahead of Williams’ Jack Aitken who is racing in Russell’s place after the latter was promoted to Mercedes, replacing Lewis Hamilton who is sidelined with Coronavirus.
Fittipaldi was first driver on track and set an early benchmark of 56.949 which was immediately bettered by Kimi Raikkonen, Sainz, Lance Stroll, Sergio Perez then Esteban Ocon who went quickest with 55.210 before improving by 0.025s.
Vettel meanwhile suffered two spins in the opening half of this session after spinning at Turn Two before suffering a wide moment at Turn Six after locking up.
Leclerc meanwhile suffered a half-shaft failure after circa 18 minutes which saw the Monegasque forced to sit out the rest of session without posting a lap time.
Verstappen went top with 55.043 in 26th minute ahead of Ocon and Bottas before Perez switched to softs early and went fastest with a 54.866.
Ocon soon afterwards went second and 0.074s slower than Perez with Russell posting a session topping 54.713 just minutes later whilst Bottas found himself 11th after failing to set a lap time on the soft tyre within track limits despite three attempts.
Verstappen also suffered issues and eventually went second but was quickest on both soft and medium tyre in race simulations ahead of Bottas and Albon respectively.
Russell ultimately topped the session from Verstappen, Perez, Ocon, Albon, Kvyat, Stroll, Ricciardo, Gasly and Sainz, despite Sainz suffering gear sync issues in the closing stages.
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+ 0.176|
|3||Alex Albon||Red Bull||+ 0.265|
|4||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||+ 0.322|
|5||Daniil Kvyat||AlphaTauri||+ 0.465|
|6||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||+ 0.620|
|7||Esteban Ocon||Renault||+ 0.727|
|8||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||+ 0.735|
|9||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||+ 0.833|
|10||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+ 0.903|
|11||Lance Stroll||Racing Point||+ 1.012|
|12||Sergio Perez||Racing Point||+.1.170|
|13||Carlos Sainz||McLaren||+ 1.211|
|14||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||+ 1.237|
|15||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+ 1.312|
|16||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 1.532|
|17||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+ 1.584|
|18||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+ 2.218|
|19||Pietro Fittipaldi||Haas||+ 2.531|
|20||Jack Aitken||Williams||+ 2.641|
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+ 0.128|
|3||Sergio Perez||Racing Point||+ 0.153|
|4||Esteban Ocon||Renault||+ 0.227|
|5||Alex Albon||Red Bull||+ 0.323|
|6||Daniil Kvyat||AlphaTauri||+ 0.355|
|7||Lance Stroll||Racing Point||+ 0.391|
|8||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||+ 0.411|
|9||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||+ 0.420|
|10||Carlos Sainz||McLaren||+ 0.545|
|11||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||+ 0.608|
|12||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||+ 0.771|
|13||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+ 0.820|
|14||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+ 1.025|
|15||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+ 1.071|
|16||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||+ 1.117|
|17||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 1.318|
|18||Pietro Fittipaldi||Haas||+ 1.397|
|19||Jack Aitken||Williams||+ 1.547|
|20||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||No Time Set|