Kimi Räikkönen Fastest On Day One of 2018 Bahrain Grand Prix Weekend
Formula 1’s Iceman stayed cool, keeping his teammate at bay.
After Friday practice for the second round of the 2018 Formula 1 season in Bahrain, Ferrari's Kimi Räikkönen proved himself fastest so far. In a two-factor reversal of the relationship between Ferrari and Mercedes these past few years, Ferrari is showing strong straight-line performance, as opposed to Mercedes' strength in corners, and Kimi is standing up to a teammate for the first time since 2013 when he finessed Romain Grosjean at Lotus.
Ferrari's performance may in part be buoyed by the debut of a reported new floor, delivered in the middle of the first free practice session.
Ferrari is not the only team to debut upgrades in Bahrain: McLaren and Force India both brought new front wing designs, though the latter brought only a single wing, for Sergio Perez.
Mercedes' previously unchallenged reliability has already taken a hit, with Lewis Hamilton switching transmissions Friday evening according to Motorsport. The replacement is due to a reported hydraulic leak, one which is alleged to have almost ended his race in Australia. As a result of the change, Lewis Hamilton's race performance will be handicapped by a five-place grid penalty.
- Kimi Räikkönen/Ferrari - 1:29.817, -1.641 from FP1
- Sebastian Vettel/Ferrari - 1:29.828, -1.642 from FP1
- Valtteri Bottas/Mercedes - 1:30.380, -1.018 from FP1
- Lewis Hamilton/Mercedes - 1:30.472, -1.800 from FP1
- Max Verstappen/Red Bull - 1:30.745, no time in FP1
- Daniel Ricciardo/Red Bull - 1:30.751, -0.309 from FP1
- Nico Hülkenberg/Renault - 1:31.220, -1.884 from FP1
- Pierre Gasly/Toro Rosso-Honda - 1:31.232, -1.547 from FP1
- Fernando Alonso/McLaren - 1:31.282, -1.941 from FP1
- Stoffel Vandoorne/McLaren - 1:31.422, -1.942 from FP1
- Romain Grosjean/Haas - 1:31.591, -0.925 from FP1
- Carlos Sainz/Renault - 1:31.601, -1.284 from FP1
- Esteban Ocon/Force India - 1:31.809, -1.985 from FP1
- Sergio Perez/Force India - 1:31.868, -1.794 from FP1
- Kevin Magnussen/Haas - 1:31.969, -1.002 from FP1
- Charles Leclerc/Alfa Romeo Sauber - 1:32.372, -0.906 from FP1
- Lance Stroll/Williams - 1:32.382, -0.997 from FP1
- Sergey Sirotkin/Williams - 1:32.474, -0.993 from FP1
- Marcus Ericsson/Alfa Romeo Sauber - 1:32.733, -0.775 from FP1
- Brendon Hartley/Toro Rosso-Honda - 1:32.908, -0.589 from FP1
Small coincidences can be found between both McLaren and Ferrari drivers' improvements between FP1 and FP2, with both teams having drivers within 0.140 seconds of each other, and seeing improvements a thousandth of a second apart, with the leading driver improving by a time ending with 41 and the trailing driver improving by a time ending with 42.
Ferrari is repeating its weekend in Australia as Kimi is outperforming Sebastian so far this weekend, against expectations formed from their three seasons together. With Lewis Hamilton appearing out of contention for the win, Kimi Räikkönen's first victory since 2013 may be available to him. His teammate is close enough to him that a first-corner scrap almost looks inevitable.