Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2015

Raikkonen, Ferrari fastest in first Bahrain practice

2015 Bahrain Grand Prix first practice

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Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2015Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel set the pace in scorching conditions during the first practice session of the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend.

Raikkonen was the only driver to break the 1’38 barrier during a session in which Mercedes appeared to be focusing solely on longer runs.

It was a typically hot and dry start to the weekend, with ambient temperatures hovering around 36°C as the session began.

There was immediate drama when Jenson Button spun his McLaren at Turn One during his first flying lap, with the car appearing to seize up on entry to the corner and stopping facing backwards towards the apex.

McLaren attempted to replace the battery on Button’s car, but were ultimately unable to get the British driver back out for another run in the session.

There were also problems for Sebastian Vettel as the Ferrari driver was told to slow the car and stay in gear when the team discovered a problem with the SF-15T.

The Mercedes were the first to attempt a long run on the Medium tyres with both cars running consistently around the 1’40 range. Hamilton was heard complaining of a burning seat during his extended run.

There was little in the way of drama or incident during the session. Pastor Maldonado ran very wide exiting the final corner, while multiple drivers suffered lock-ups into the tricky braking zone of Turn Ten.

Sebastian Vettel made it back out with around 30 minutes of the session remaining but while it initially seemed as though the problem remained at first, the Ferrari was soon up to speed.

Vettel lowered the benchmark to a 1’38.029 before Kimi Raikkonen followed his team mate to set the quickest lap of the day with a 1’37.827.

Toro Rosso showed pace with both cars in the top ten and there were positives for McLaren too with Fernando Alonso ending the session only seven tenths adrift of the fastest time.

Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton ended the session in P15 and P16 respectively, but covered almost 50 laps between them. Jolyon Palmer logged over 30 laps during his second First Practice appearance of the season in the Lotus.

Pos.No.DriverBest lapLaps
17Kimi Raikkonen1’37.82713
25Sebastian Vettel1’38.02912
377Valtteri Bottas1’38.39023
455Carlos Sainz Jnr1’38.44714
53Daniel Ricciardo1’38.45517
633Max Verstappen1’38.59822
714Fernando Alonso1’38.59818
812Felipe Nasr1’38.62817
926Daniil Kvyat1’38.66117
1019Felipe Massa1’38.79021
1111Sergio Perez1’38.79315
1213Pastor Maldonado1’38.84223
1327Nico Hulkenberg1’39.18720
1430Jolyon Palmer1’39.28331
156Nico Rosberg1’39.29323
1644Lewis Hamilton1’39.53222
179Marcus Ericsson1’39.53421
1828Will Stevens1’42.97312
1998Roberto Merhi1’44.26515
2022Jenson ButtonNo time2

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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46 comments on “Raikkonen, Ferrari fastest in first Bahrain practice”

  1. Maybe Nico has actually lit a fire under under Lewis!

  2. There are some news saying Ferrari is or will use a 2nd PU this weekend! So not sure what to think about Vettel’s problem already! The rest was just Mercedes giving everyone an opportunity to have some fun :P

    1. It’s already been confirmed by the FIA, that both Ferraris will use their 2nd ICE this weekend.

    2. @key75 I think it ought to be the same problem Kimi had in shanghai, Ferrari apparently have had some issues with the discs. Whatever the problem was Sebastian didn’t pit on his 2nd medium stint, that said he did avoid to high top speeds and a heavy breaking periods, so there’s only 2 clues, it’s either regen or brakes.

      1. @peartree Yeah, I noticed that too! Thanks for the possibilities. Let’s hope it gets solved for Sunday.

        1. @key75 I guess FP2 has solved the riddle, the problem is indeed with the brakes.

          1. @peartree Maybe but this can also be the problem about the crash.

          2. @key75 Marc Surer must be a psychic. I can see the rim moving on the insert, but that can be caused by 2 issues, wheel not properly attached or the disc insert breaking. Now the fact that Seb got to complete an in-lap tells me that the wheel must have been well tight, so I assume there was a small explosion inside the wheel fairing.

          3. @peartree Thanks for giving your inside! Always learning with different opinions!

  3. I suspect Mercedes are trying to dial in a setup that’s kind to the tyres without concerning themselves too much about qualifying pace as they probably already know they have that sown up.

    This hot seat issue is odd. I’ve not heard Rosberg complain about it and that they still haven’t solved it is bizarre.

    1. @philipgb Perhaps Lewis car is lower and therefore scraps more on the asphalt.

      1. @peartree Or Rosberg has found a new innovative way to get under Lewis’ skin. Although it doesn’t seem to be working. Lewis is on fire!


  4. Mercedes fine tuning there cars for hot temperatures so that they can prepare for there approach regarding tyre wear which they will surely suffer in this race. No Performance run at all and neither are required in FP1 for Bahrain so results are easy peasy and of no Importance.

    Ferrari looks strong and I believe “Game On between Merc and Ferrari”

  5. Willem Cecchi (@)
    17th April 2015, 14:08

    Mercedes will control this race with ease as the cooler night temperatures will nullify the Ferrari’s superior tyre management.

    1. It’s still going to be hot during the race, and soft/med tires may turn out to be a rather aggressive choice.

      1. well I’d say if Pirelli want to make this championship exciting, they NEED to be agressive with tyre choices for every weekend.

        1. ..and Hamilton will start complaining again that the softer tires are about to explode so too dangerous for the

    2. Nullify?! Just because the temperatures are dropping, it doesn’t mean the track-surface is less abrasive. It’s still eating the rear tyres.

      1. @srga91 Don’t hold me to it, but Mercedes suffer most during thermal degradation.

  6. Mercedes clearly know where their weakness is, it is unusual to do long rungs in the first practice but they know that when it is hot their tires won´t last as long as they do in that Ferrari, so I bet they were collecting data maybe not too much for this weekend but keeping in mind the warm conditions when the calendar returns to those “normal” day time races. I bet in FP2 they could be half a second ahead again.

  7. As a Ferrari fan, good news is sad news. They finally produce a car in which Alonso would storm to the title and they’re left with two mediocre drivers. Imagine what times Fernando could’ve pulled out of this beast.

    I bet Arrivabene is silently kicking himself.

    1. I am an Alonso fan, yet I wouldn’t rank Vettel and Raikkonen as ‘mediocre’ drivers, especially Vettel. But I do agree that Alonso probably could have challenged the Mercedes a bit harder, possibly even becoming championship if he suffers from better reliability. As 2010 and the beginning of 2013 proved, give him a decent car, and he can be unbeatable. Not to mention how Alonso in a Ferrari would terrify Wolff and Lowe!

      1. But I do agree that Alonso probably could have challenged the Mercedes a bit harder

        Or perhaps no, we don’t know how that cars suits him even if he is a very adaptable driver

      2. If you claim Kimi and Vettel to be mediocre drivers than all I can say is, you’re knowledge of F1 is to put kindly clueless. Vettel has 4 titles to show for it (and no mass dampers to help) while Kimi has been extremely successful at every team he’s raced including the, until then, not so good Lotus. What happened last year was solely based on the fact that the Ferrari was developed under Alonso’s input and for Alonso. The proof of that is this years car (and NO! its not all just because Ferrari underwent a major office shake up). Kimi has been top of the heap since coming to F1 and has the people at Ferrari say, last year’s difference between them was a lot smaller than the results show.

    2. They finally produce a car in which Alonso would storm to the title and they’re left with two mediocre drivers. Imagine what times Fernando could’ve pulled out of this beast.

      No, this is not a post from a Ferrari or even an F1 fan, it is a post from someone that wants to start a flame bait

    3. Raikkonen and Vettel are NOT mediocre drivers. What universe are you living in? Alonso is in the same league as them, and it is a very small league.

    4. Watched the 2008 Brazilian GP recap on BBC today. Vettel pressured Hamilton the whole race in a Toro Rosso … saying he is mediocre is madness.

    5. Other than calling them mediocre, I agree with you and @mashiat. Neither driver is as good, and I feel sorry for Alonso, who is probably also kicking himself.

  8. This session does not matter; race is later in the day with totally different track conditions.

  9. practice 2 will be more to Merc’s liking as the sun gets lower the track will be closer to race temperatures,
    so why bust your gut on a overheated track that has no comparison to the Race,
    Sunday is a day/nighter not 2pm in the afternoon..

  10. While it is just Friday’s free practice, it’s still impressive from McLaren.

    1. Sure, especially the 2 laps from Jenson!!!

      1. @psynrg Alonso lapped the track in 1.38,598, Button did it in no time! They sure are fast!

    2. The Blade Runner (@)
      17th April 2015, 15:42

      As a McLaren fan I’m saying nothing until Q1!

  11. Engine suppliers are supposed to make their engines last for about 5 races, I wonder what’s making Ferrari so impatient?

    Ferrari has only made it 3 races before this second engine, so they must make this engine last for about 7 races to regain the balance. Including Bahrain, the next 7 races are Bahrain, Spain, Monaco, Canadian, Austrian, Britain, Hungary, some of them are very engine-dependant (Canada, Austria,…). I hope Ferrari’s engine management is as good as their tyres management.

    1. I believe the rules only stipulate that they have 4 engines, not that they must be run in consecutive races, therefore Ferrari (or any team) could chose to use a second engine in Bahrain and revert to the first engine for a less demanding race such as Monaco.

  12. Why can’t A billion dollar company like Mercedes fix a burning seat?

    1. I refer you to the old Germanic fairytale “The Princess and the Pea” (Just kidding)

      1. Heh 😉
        Thats a HC Andersen fairytale though.

    2. Because money is not the only cost of doing it.

  13. Live life to the Max…. Holland represent! Can’t wait to see some great overtakes again! :p

  14. Mercs clearly ‘sandbagging’

    1. 10 points for stating the obvious

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