F1 2018 Bahrain Grand Prix: Friday practice classification

F1 2018 Bahrain Grand Prix: Friday practice classification

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.

It was feared he would be punished for an unsafe release - because his front right wheel was not attached properly - and given a grid penalty, but instead Ferrari were fined €5 000.

Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen claimed the 1-2 at the Bahrain International circuit on Friday night with the Finn edging his team-mate by 0.011s.

Hamilton finished fourth fastest and his five-place grid penalty means he will drop down to ninth.

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

The Ferrari duo of Kimi Raikonnen and Sebastian Vettel were fourth and fifth respectively and between 0.3-0.5secs down on Hamilton's time ahead of Saturday's qualifying.

In terms of history at this track, Sebastian Vettel won in 2017 for Ferrari and Valtteri Bottas put his Mercedes on pole. "Ferrari have done a great job this weekend, they've got the pace and it's been a hard weekend for me overall in general".

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Hamilton was disappointed that the incident cost him a very possible victory but Vettel was also not fully satisfied with his vehicle which lacked Mercedes' pace. It looked like a similar error, just losing control of the vehicle through the apex, at a race Red Bull would have hoped to have two cars putting Ferrari under pressure from the very start.

The earlier session offered little insight into what might happen in Sunday's race given it took place in daylight, but Ricciardo proved strong late on to usurp Bottas and Raikkonen. "If we look purely at lap times it was OK, but that doesn't tell you much; It's only the first day and it's impossible to know what the others were doing".

"It is a very different circuit, different tarmac, different temperatures, so for sure we need to understand completely why".

Daniel Ricciardo was fifth for Red Bull while his teammate Max Verstappen crashed in the opening part of qualifying, losing the vehicle under acceleration out of the tight second corner. It looked like we were a bit quicker than the rest but it depends a bit on the programme.

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.

Renault continued their solid start to the season with Nico Hulkenberg sixth and Carlos Sainz 10th as Esteban Ocon signalled Force India's improvement by making Q3 in eighth.

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