F1 Bahrain GP Live Commentary and Updates - FP1 and FP2

Live commentary and updates from the Bahrain Grand Prix's Friday FP1 and FP2 sessions

F1 Bahrain GP Live Commentary and Updates - FP1 and FP2

By: Jake Boxall-Legge, Stephen Lickorish

Summary

  • FP2 is currently underway
  • Verstappen leads from Norris, Hamilton
  • Raikkonen hits wall on exit of turn 2
  • Friday practice sessions cut down to one hour

Leaderboard
1. Verstappen, Red Bull
2. Norris, McLaren
3. Hamilton, Mercedes
4. Sainz, Ferrari
5. Bottas, Mercedes
6. Ricciardo, McLaren
7. Tsunoda, AlphaTauri
8. Stroll, Aston Martin
9. Gasly, AlphaTauri
10. Perez, Red Bull

Status: Stopped
That's all from us today - but make sure to keep an eye on Autosport.com for all the reaction from FP2 and we'll see you tomorrow for the build-up to qualifying from shortly before 12pm GMT. TTFN!
 
In case you missed any of the action, here's a full wrap-up of events courtesy of ALEX KALINAUCKAS - who is no doubt relieved that the end of the session saw no significant changes.

Report here.
That said, if Norris and McLaren can continue their promising Friday form, then perhaps it won't be Mercedes that Verstappen has to look out for after all...
So what did we make of that? Verstappen will be feeling pretty pleased tonight, but would ideally want Perez to be a bit closer come qualifying tomorrow to avoid the situation we've seen so often in recent years where Red Bull get snookered on strategy by Mercedes.
 
Raikkonen only managed 15 laps after his accident and takes P16 from Russell, Schumacher, Latifi and Mazepin bringing up the rear for Haas.
Perez rounds out the top 10 on his Red Bull bow, with Ocon just pipping Leclerc to P11. Giovinazzi beat world champions Vettel and Alonso to 13th in 'Class C' pole.
Tsunoda comfortably tops the rookie class in seventh as the best AlphaTauri, two tenths quicker than Gasly with Stroll's Aston Martin in-between them.
Bottas was only just over a tenth behind his team-mate, but it's good enough only for P5 with Ricciardo completing the top six for McLaren.
Hamilton is third, a little over two tenths behind Verstappen with Ferrari new-boy Sainz breathing down his neck in fourth.
No improvements in the closing moments means Verstappen completes his Friday lock-out, with Norris an impressive second just 0.095s in arrears on an encouraging first day for McLaren back with Mercedes power.
The checkered flag is out, and that's the end of what has been a fascinating FP2 session.
Alonso has a big old lock-up into the downhill Turn 10 hairpin. The Alpine looks a bit of a handful, not too dissimilar to the last F1 car Alonso was fortunate enough to drive back in 2018...
Four different constructors in the top four places as the session draws to a close. Book me in for one of those in qualifying tomorrow, please.
 
Hamilton's last lap was around 1s off Verstappen on the mediums in the high 38s. We don't know how much fuel they're running, but does Bottas' struggles at Turn 4 point to an underlying issue for Mercedes?
Not content with the hat-trick, Bottas nets a fourth. Calm down Arshavin...
 
Bottas has racked up quite the tally of lap deletions. That's three in a row now for running too wide at Turn 4.
Are we likely to see any further improvements at the sharp end in the final 10 minutes? At the moment, no.
There's less than 1s currently between the top 15 cars, with Alonso at the tail end of that bunch. If it's anything like this tomorrow, then the fight to make Q3 will be tantalising...
The Finn only moves up one place, but it's at the expense of Russell - the gap four tenths between them. Alfa Romeo looks like it may have taken a step forward this year, albeit perhaps not as ginormous as the one it made 20 years ago to claim an improbable fourth in the 2001 constructors championship. One of its drivers that year? You guessed it - Raikkonen.
Raikkonen has finally emerged from the garage with just under 15 minutes to go in the session and is running in a set of softs on what appears to be low fuel.
For those who like to know these things, Verstappen has the fastest sector time in two and three, but it's Sainz who is quickest through sector one, which consists of mostly straights. Has Ferrari sorted out its power unit woes after all?
Seeing Oracle on the side of the Red Bull brings back vibes:

 

Nobody running the soft tyre currently on track to improve, which suggests teams are also simulating running with fuel in the opening laps of the grand prix.
Still no sign yet of Raikkonen, who only has six laps on the board in the session after his earlier prang. That will set him back somewhat for qualifying tomorrow.
Giovinazzi may be giving us a clue as to his race strategy - the Alfa driver is the only man out on track currently using the hard tyres. Alfa typically went long at the start of races after being knocked out in Q1 last year, so you wouldn't bet against it doing something similar this weekend.
Verstappen and Bottas have also bolted on a set of mediums for what we presume will be a race simulation run.
Sainz has gone out on another set of softs, so too Gasly as both seek to move up the standings. Stroll, Vettel and Alonso meanwhile are shod with mediums.
As Russell ends a medium tyre run and switches to softs, Latifi heads out for a medium run of his own. The Canadian has done the most laps of anyone to date, with 14.
Sparky.

 

In the Class C battle, Giovinazzi is currently quickest for Alfa in P13 ahead of Russell, Raikkonen (still in the garage), Schumacher, Latifi and Mazepin.
It's been a little while since we've had any track limits violations to talk about, so Ocon kindly provides one by throwing away a 1m32.451, to be swiftly followed by rookie Schumacher.

The top three are all in the pits at the moment after that flurry of changes on the leaderboard. With just under half an hour remaining in the session, the top 10 is as follows:

1. Verstappen
2. Norris
3. Hamilton
4. Sainz
5. Bottas
6. Ricciardo
7. Tsunoda
8. Stroll
9. Gasly
10. Perez

Ricciardo has his first low fuel qualifying sim run and jumps up to P6, a 1m31.230s for the McLaren new-boy.
Speaking of intra-team battles, F1 returnee Alonso has posted his best time yet for Alpine on a 1m31.770s to go P14, a tenth behind Ocon who is P10.
His thunder is stolen though by Verstappen, who turns up the wick with a 1m30.847s. Bottas improved his time, but only to fifth on a 1m31.218s.
Our question about the first man to breach the 1m30s is answered by Norris, who advances past Go and collects £200 with a 1m30.942s.