Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying session 2

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel topped a tentative first practice to begin Formula One's Bahrain Grand Prix on Friday, as the drivers sought to negotiate scorching conditions.

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany steers his vehicle during the first practice session for the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix, at the Formula One Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, Bahrain, Friday, April 14, 2017. The.

With Bottas splitting the two former Red Bull teammates, the Finn played down the threat from Ricciardo as he feels there is more performance to come from Mercedes and Ferrari on Saturday.

Four-time champion Vettel was third fastest for Ferrari, unable to make an impact on the two Mercedes men who took the front row.

Back on track, it was Sergio Perez who had moved to the top of the standings in the Force India, although Vettel was able to usurp him on the soft compound.

"Valtteri found some great pace", Hamilton said.

Hamilton and Vettel are level on 43 points in the championship race with one win each.

Hamilton looked set for a seventh consecutive pole going into the final Q3 run with a slender lead over Bottas.

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Although not as hot as Friday, drivers still had to deal with afternoon track temperatures of 37 degrees Celsius (99 degrees Fahrenheit) during P3. Daniil Kvyat (Russia) Toro Rosso - Renault 1:30.923 12.

Raikkonen's session ended early after his Ferrari sustained engine damage before he could even complete a timed lap.

Raikkonen's solitary walk through the arid landscape in overalls and helmet, before being collected by a scooter, was an arresting sight - if also typical of a driver with "Iceman" tattooed on his left arm.

Ferrari was quick despite problems.

Haas driver Kevin Magnussen and Sauber's Marcus Ericsson were 16th and 17th ahead of Pascal Wehrlein.

After winning last weekend's Chinese Grand Prix, where Vettel finished second, Hamilton could be seen driving up alongside the German's auto and giving him the thumbs-up. Esteban Ocon wound up 14th for Force India, citing a lack of grip on his final Q2 lap as he finished two seconds off the pace.

The second session is the only representative running teams get before qualifying on Saturday as it starts at 18:00 local time and ends after dark.

Bernie Ecclestone, the sport's one-time long-serving ruler, is back for the first time this weekend after being ousted by new owners Liberty Media. The 86-year-old Ecclestone was in charge of the sport for almost 40 years before relinquishing control to USA sports and entertainment firm Liberty Media in January.


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