Bahrain GP: Raikkonen on top as Ferrari dominate second free practice

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A round-up of the main talking points from qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix, where Sebastian Vettel led a Ferrari lock-out of the front row.

Raikkonen had looked to be faster than Vettel until qualifying but the four-time champion pulled it out when it mattered.

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. Despite making a small improvement, Vettel found 0.063s more on his own attempt to sneak ahead in the closing seconds.

His hopes of chalking up a third Bahrain win on Sunday have already taken a hit, with the Briton set to drop five places on the grid for an unscheduled gearbox change on his Mercedes.

"First run in Q3, I was very happy and then I tossed it away in the last corner".

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Vettel drew first blood when he won the season-opening Australian GP ahead of Hamilton. Bottas starts third for Mercedes, but Hamilton will start in ninth place after a penalty.

Lewis Hamilton said in Bahrain on Thursday: "They said in qualifying we think that we are power-wise equal to them". It looked like a similar error, just losing control of the auto through the apex, at a race Red Bull would have hoped to have two cars putting Ferrari under pressure from the very start.

It is always hard to draw an accurate conclusion as to the competitive picture from practice and that was made even more difficult in this session because both Hamilton and Raikkonen encountered problems on their fastest laps.

But he could only manage fourth, failing to improve his time on his final lap and leapfrogged by Bottas.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen was fifth, ahead of team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.

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"The feeling was pretty much the same everywhere, but in certain zones of the track, we want to do better".

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

Esteban Ocon returned Force India to the top ten for the first time this year with a solid performance to edge the second Renault of Carlos Sainz by 0.112s.

Pierre Gasly exceeded expectations by finishing sixth on the timesheets for Toro Rosso and there was huge disappointment for McLaren, with Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne 13th and 14th respectively.

Williams completed the bottom of the timing screens, with Sergey Sirotkin 0.419 seconds adrift of Leclerc's Sauber in 19th while Lance Stroll finished as the slowest driver of the session in 20th, nearly three seconds off the pace.

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