Bahrain GP: Sebastian Vettel fastest, Ferrari clear of Mercedes
Advantage Ferrari at the Bahrain GP? Vettel leads Ferrari one-two with Mercedes more than half a second behind; Renault ahead of Red Bull; Watch Bahrain GP qualifying on Sky F1, Saturday at 3pm
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 30/03/19 1:12pm
Ferrari continued their storming start to the Bahrain GP weekend in Practice Two, once again enjoying a clear advantage over Mercedes as Sebastian Vettel topped the timesheets ahead of Charles Leclerc.
In near-identical conditions to what drivers will experience in qualifying and the race, Vettel led another Ferrari one-two as he edged out Leclerc by just three hundredths of a second with an impressive 1:28.846.
And crucially, Ferrari were more than half a second clear of Mercedes under the lights in the desert.
Lewis Hamilton led the world champions' charge in Friday's second practice session, finishing third and 0.603s behind Vettel, while the in-form Valtteri Bottas was one tenth further back.
When's the Bahrain GP on Sky F1?
Sunday's race underway at 4.10pm, Qualifying at 3pm - exclusively live on Sky Sports
But Mercedes couldn't match their rivals' qualifying simulations on soft tyres and it is Ferrari, so disappointing in Melbourne's season-opener, who appear to be the team to beat in Bahrain.
"It's a completely different Ferrari to what we saw in Melbourne," admitted Mercedes boss Toto Wolff to Sky F1.
"You can see the enormous straight-line power of the Ferrari, it is where they are making all the gains up."
Adressing Ferrari's strong winter testing, Wolff added: "In terms of pure pace, it's definitely more Barcelona than it was in Melbourne."
Watch Practice Three and the all-important qualifying on Sky Sports F1 on Saturday. P3 at 12pm, qualifying at 3pm with build-up from 2pm.
Renault ahead of Red Bull
The size of Ferrari's lead was surprising - and Red Bull provided another timesheet shock from P2.
The Honda-powered team, hoping to fight for victory this weekend, ended the session behind Renault as Nico Hulkenberg, boosted by a raft of upgrades, finished fifth and within striking distance of the Mercedes.
Red Bull missed the window with their tyres and Max Verstappen was sixth after a sloppy lap by his standards, while Pierre Gasly really struggled down in 12th.
After a quiet first practice, Haas delivered the sort of performance their midfield rivals were expecting on Friday evening, with both Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean in the top 10.
Lando Norris, meanwhile, continued McLaren's encouraging start to the weekend by finishing eighth, one tenth ahead of his more experienced team-mate Carlos Sainz, who was 11th and behind Daniil Kvyat.
Unlimited F1 on Sky Mobile
Watch every practice, qualifying and race without using your data. From just £6 a month
Daniel Ricciardo still appears to be struggling to settle in at new team Renault, finishing well adrift of Hulkenberg again. While the German was up in sixth, Ricciardo finished down in 15th, well over a second behind.
Alfa Romeo will also have expected more than 16th and 18th for Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi, while Williams were 19th and 20th again.
George Russell was three seconds off the leading pace in the lead Williams, but the British rookie did outpace Robert Kubica by more than a second.
Bahrain GP Practice Two Timesheet
|1) Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||1:28.846|
|2) Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+0.035|
|3) Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+0.603|
|4) Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||+0.711|
|5) Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||+0.823|
|6) Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+0.879|
|7) Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+1.154|
|8) Lando Norris||McLaren||+1.171|
|9) Romain Grosjean||Haas||+1.222|
|10) Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||+1.247|
|11) Carlos Sainz||McLaren||+1.346|
|12) Pierre Gasly||Red Bull||+1.583|
|13) Alex Albon||Toro Rosso||+1,612|
|14) Sergio Perez||Racing Point||+1.870|
|15) Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||+2.002|
|16) Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||+2.242|
|17) Lance Stroll||Racing Point||+2.283|
|18) Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+2.298|
|19) George Russell||Williams||+3.058|
|20) Robert Kubica||Williams||+4.086|
Sky Sports F1 is the home of live and exclusive F1 - and new and existing customers in the UK can now get the channel for just £10 extra a month, our best-ever offer. Find out more here to watch the 2019 season live