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

The German secured his 51st career pole with a supreme lap in the dying seconds of a tense floodlit qualifying session in which Ferrari were dominant, reported AFP. That was quite intense.

Charles Leclerc declared himself to be "so stupid" over the radio after spinning at the final corner on his last lap and ending up 19th. "The vehicle has been excellent all weekend so I am looking forward to the race".

Ferrari had both cars on the podium with Kimi Raikkonen in third, while Mercedes' second driver Valtteri Bottas had to settle for eighth in Australia, following a qualifying crash and grid penalty. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) +0.440s 6.

Best of the rest was Renault's Nico Hulkenberg in seventh, ahead of the surprising Toro Rosso of Pierre Gasly and McLaren's Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne.

But Raikkonen, the 2007 world champion, failed to improve on his final run as he struggled to find a response to his teammate's effort.

"But what can I do?" "We've got more to do overnight and in the practice tomorrow (Saturday) to five us a auto that can fight in qualifying and on Sunday".

"It feels like a dark cloud but it's not", said the 33-year-old after the race in Melbourne. The laps were getting better, but these guys in the red cars!

But first comes Bahrain where Wolff said getting the right set-up is extremely hard because two out of three practice sessions are in the heat during the day while qualifying and the race is in cooler conditions after sunset.

"We made sure that we understand what went wrong and put a process in place to make sure that we don't see a similar issue in the future".

"We've got more to do overnight and in the session tomorrow to give us a vehicle that will allow us to have a good fight in qualifying and on Sunday".

"The goal was to get P1 (pole) today but the Ferraris were just too quick". I'll try and eke out every last bit of power and strength from this auto.

"I'm ok", the Dutch driver told his team, after an initial outburst that was not appropriate for a family audience.

Indeed only his pride had taken a knock, as he stalked back to the paddock with his helmet still firmly on.

Eight minutes later, the session resumed. Lance Stroll will start dead last after setting a time 0.089s off teammate Sirotkin.

Al Faisal Al Zubair of Oman captured pole position for both of this weekend's races in the season's final round of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East, being held in support of the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The German, the victor of the season-opener in Melbourne, will be joined on the front row by his Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen.

Hamilton struggled on his supersoft qualifying simulation but is already primed for a five-place grid penalty as a result of a gearbox change, while teammate Valtteri Bottas was almost a second off Raikkonen's pace in sixth place.

Having topped FP2 as Ferrari enjoyed a comfortable advantage on Friday, Raikkonen remained fastest in FP3 and his lap time of 1m29.868s left him a full 0.525s ahead of the Red Bull pair of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo.

  • Stacy Allen