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F1 Bahrain GP: Hamilton leads Mercedes 1-2, Verstappen sixth in second practice

Lewis Hamilton headlined Formula 1's second practice session ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix over Mercedes team-mate George Russell, as reigning champion Max Verstappen was sixth fastest.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W15

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

The Briton set the early benchmark in the session on soft tyres and subsequently cranked up the dial with a 1m30.374s to put distance between himself and the rest of the field.

Russell slotted in behind to sit second, despite enduring a difficult opening to the session and could not match the first lap Hamilton had set as he lacked traction in the opening sector.

On a different run after taking another set of soft tyres, Russell moved up the order to set a 1m30.580s and move ahead of then-runner-up Carlos Sainz, who was subsequently displaced by a lap from Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso.

Oscar Piastri was fifth fastest thanks to his session-best middle sector, which ensured Verstappen could only end the session in sixth - just 0.477s off Hamilton's best.

As the second practice session was at 6pm, at the same time of day that Saturday's race will take place, the conditions were more representative of those expected in the key sessions across the rest of the weekend.

That said, temperatures were uncharacteristically low at an ambient 17.2 degrees celsius, with a crosswind across the straight.

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR24

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR24

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

The field was split on the opening runs between the medium and soft compounds, and the traditional frontrunners opted for the red-walled Pirelli rubber to kick off their sessions.

Sainz was first to take the times into the 1m31s, but was swiftly beaten by Sergio Perez's 1m31.629s amid the early flurry of times.

Charles Leclerc then posted a 1m31.578s to go top, but this was comprehensively beaten by Hamilton's opening gambit: a 1m30.751s. Alonso then split the top two with a 1m31.035s.

Max Verstappen's opening lap was half a second away from Hamilton's benchmark and, although he later improved on the same set of tyres, he could not make any concerted inroads into the seven-time champion's time.

Verstappen's ultimate best, a 1m30.851, would not have been enough to beat Hamilton's initial soft-tyre time.

These soft-tyre laps rounded out the first half-hour, with the second dedicated towards longer runs in preparation for the race - a vital component of the teams' preparation given that FP3 will not be a representative session.

The order was set with no further improvements,, and Nico Hulkenberg had fired his Haas into seventh place with a time just 0.03s shy of Verstappen, and 0.007s clear of Lance Stroll's Aston Martin.

Leclerc and Perez completed the top 10, ahead of Alex Albon, who only did one hot lap on a fresh soft tyre having circulated at the start on a set of mediums.

He had been joined among the middle of the order by team-mate Logan Sargeant, but FP1 headliner Daniel Ricciardo split the two Williams drivers.

Lando Norris sat at the bottom of the timing boards having abandoned his initial soft-tyre lap, and further difficulties prompted him to ask for a steering wheel switch for the remainder of the session.

Bahrain GP FP2 results

   
1
 - 
4
   
   
1
 - 
2
   
Cla Driver # Chassis Engine Laps Time Interval km/h
1 United Kingdom L. Hamilton Mercedes 44 Mercedes Mercedes 25

1'30.374

  215.584
2 United Kingdom G. Russell Mercedes 63 Mercedes Mercedes 23

+0.206

1'30.580

0.206 215.093
3 Spain F. Alonso Aston Martin Racing 14 Aston Martin Mercedes 22

+0.286

1'30.660

0.080 214.904
4 Spain C. Sainz Ferrari 55 Ferrari Ferrari 25

+0.395

1'30.769

0.109 214.645
5 Australia O. Piastri McLaren 81 McLaren Mercedes 27

+0.410

1'30.784

0.015 214.610
6 Netherlands M. Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1 Red Bull Red Bull 25

+0.477

1'30.851

0.067 214.452
7 Germany N. Hulkenberg Haas F1 Team 27 Haas Ferrari 23

+0.510

1'30.884

0.033 214.374
8 Canada L. Stroll Aston Martin Racing 18 Aston Martin Mercedes 26

+0.517

1'30.891

0.007 214.357
9 Monaco C. Leclerc Ferrari 16 Ferrari Ferrari 26

+0.739

1'31.113

0.222 213.835
10 Mexico S. Perez Red Bull Racing 11 Red Bull Red Bull 26

+0.741

1'31.115

0.002 213.830
11 Thailand A. Albon Williams 23 Williams Mercedes 26

+0.959

1'31.333

0.218 213.320
12 Australia D. Ricciardo RB 3 RB Red Bull 26

+1.142

1'31.516

0.183 212.893
13 United States L. Sargeant Williams 2 Williams Mercedes 27

+1.341

1'31.715

0.199 212.431
14 Denmark K. Magnussen Haas F1 Team 20 Haas Ferrari 27

+1.390

1'31.764

0.049 212.318
15 Japan Y. Tsunoda RB 22 RB Red Bull 29

+1.507

1'31.881

0.117 212.048
16 France P. Gasly Alpine 10 Alpine Renault 25

+1.577

1'31.951

0.070 211.886
17 Finland V. Bottas Sauber 77 Sauber Ferrari 24

+1.627

1'32.001

0.050 211.771
18 France E. Ocon Alpine 31 Alpine Renault 25

+1.653

1'32.027

0.026 211.711
19 China Z. Guanyu Sauber 24 Sauber Ferrari 28

+1.674

1'32.048

0.021 211.663
20 United Kingdom L. Norris McLaren 4 McLaren Mercedes 25

+2.234

1'32.608

0.560 210.383

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