Sebastian Vettel retained his advantage during second practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix, after edging out Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas by 0.041s, whilst Red Bull closed the gap to top teams Mercedes and Ferrari.
The German’s fastest lap was a 1.31.310, which set him 0.041s clear of closest rival Valtteri Bottas. Meanwhile, after struggling for the first two races, Red Bull showed signs of having a much better weekend, with this rear-limited Bahrain International Circuit believed to favor the Milton Keynes based team better. Ricciardo was third place, and just 0.066s off championship leader Vettel, who headed the session.
Whilst Vettel headed the time-sheets, as the German started his timed lap, he was hit with reliability problems, which follows a similar problem to that of his team-mate, who was stranded out on track during the morning session.
Hamilton, who was some two tenths slower than Vettel, didn’t get a full trouble free lap on the super-soft tyre, and his tyres were considerably worn out when he got his clean lap. Upon his first attempt, the Brit ran wide at turn 1 and aborted his lap, and on his second go, he was blocked by Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg in the middle sector.
With Vettel able to get his car back to the pit-lane after the failure, Ferrari rectified the problem on the car, and the German headed onto the track with some 25 minutes to go in the session.
Renault Formula 1 team showed impressive form with Nico Hulkenberg, and despite his spit with Lewis Hamilton, was sixth fastest, and just 0.5s off pace-setter Vettel.
Unlike his team-mate, Max Verstappen continued to struggle in his Red Bull, as after running excessively wide around the final corner, he had the sit in the garage while his team changed his floor.
It was a much troubled session for Toro Rosso, as Carlos Sainz was forced out during the opening stages of the session, whilst Kvyat complained of the car being “undriveable”.
The T-Wing became a talking point, after Valtteri Bottas’s T-Wing fell off for the second race running, and many have argued that the aerodynamic device should be banned on safety grounds.
However, with there being a good aerodynamic benefit, various teams – in particular the front-running ones – are not keen to agree on a ban.