Red Bull F1 team has up and down day in Bahrain qualifying

Dean Simpson
April 9, 2018

Raikkonen and Vettel were up front in Friday's second practice as cooler temperatures and nightfall matched the conditions for Sunday evening's race.

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen was third 0.398 seconds off Ricciardo's pace.

Defending champion Lewis Hamilton had to settle for fifth.

It all leads up to Sunday's race, which starts at 4.10pm BST and where Hamilton and Vettel will again expect to lead the pack. "Basically we were doing another lap to get the engine to learn a little bit more in order to optimise its settings".

In a boost for Ferrari, both Mercedes cars were more than half a second slower than the best lap set by Raikkonen.

The Finn was summoned to the stewards afterwards for an unsafe release from the pits but escaped a grid penalty with Ferrari picking up a 5,000 euro (US$6,136.50) fine instead for the misdemeanour.

"We were decent yesterday", Daniel Ricciardo said after qualifying fifth, which will become fourth with Hamilton's penalty.

Max Verstappen's hopes of kick starting his 2018 F1 season in Bahrain suffered a serious setback after his Red Bull malfunctioned on the opening lap of first practice.

The Australian was 0.3 seconds quicker than Bottas and 0.4 seconds faster than Raikkonen.

"I got traffic on the first lap so I had to go for the second lap, and for sure there's a bit of lap time there".

Ricciardo's team-mate Max Verstappen crashed out of qualifying's first session but Ricciardo was keen to congratulate Red Bull's junior team, Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda.

Verstappen's crash in qualifying in Bahrain has come just two weeks after the Dutchman also spun in the Australian Grand Prix, but team boss Christian Horner has denied suggestions that the youngster is pushing too hard.

While on Thursday Hamilton turned up at the circuit in shorts, t-shirt and cap with a relaxed smile, this time the British driver was wearing Mercedes team gear and a much more serious expression.

"Well I studied the data immediately when I came out of the auto because for me it was also a big surprise what happened", Verstappen said.

Verstappen headed into the qualifying session with the hope he could get his auto high up on the grid for tomorrow's race.

Vettel won in Melbourne, profiting from an error by Mercedes to finish ahead of Hamilton.

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