Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2016

Mercedes lead the way again as wheel problem stops Vettel

2016 Bahrain Grand Prix second practice

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The second practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix saw another Mercedes one-two headed by Nico Rosberg – but there was a surprise in third place.

Jenson Button was best of the rest for McLaren in third place. He was over 1.2 seconds slower than Rosberg’s pace-setting Mercedes, but nonetheless this represented McLaren’s most competitive showing for a long time.

The driver who appeared most likely to get closest to the Mercedes was Sebastian Vettel. However the Ferrari driver had a scruffy run on the super-soft tyres and ended up sixth-quickest. His session ended with a quarter of an hour to go when a wheel nut worked loose on his car, forcing him to stop.

Kimi Raikkonen pipped Vettel’s time by a few hundredths of a second but he also had Max Verstappen between him and the flying Mercedes pair. Rosberg’s best effort was almost three-and-a-half seconds quicker than the best time seen in the same session 12 months ago, albeit achieved on super-soft tyres instead of softs.

The Williams and Red Bull drivers completed the top ten, edging the second McLaren of Stoffel Vandoorne down to 11th.

The session was more problematic for Haas driver Romain Grosjean. He was forced to pit after a front wing failure, then in the final minutes smoke appeared from the back of his car.

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
16Nico RosbergMercedes1’31.00138
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’31.2420.24132
322Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Honda1’32.2811.28032
433Max VerstappenToro Rosso-Ferrari1’32.4061.40531
57Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’32.4521.45138
65Sebastian VettelFerrari1’32.6501.64926
726Daniil KvyatRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’32.7031.70234
877Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1’32.7921.79139
93Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’32.8701.86923
1019Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’32.8731.87236
1147Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren-Honda1’32.9991.99830
1221Esteban GutierrezHaas-Ferrari1’33.1292.12831
1355Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso-Ferrari1’33.1772.17636
148Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’33.3842.38323
1511Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’33.4062.40535
1620Kevin MagnussenRenault1’33.4472.44634
1727Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’33.5702.56937
1830Jolyon PalmerRenault1’33.6402.63935
1994Pascal WehrleinManor-Mercedes1’33.9532.95221
209Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’34.2243.22331
2112Felipe NasrSauber-Ferrari1’34.4773.47634
2288Rio HaryantoManor-Mercedes1’34.5623.56133

Second practice visual gaps

Nico Rosberg – 1’31.001

+0.241 Lewis Hamilton – 1’31.242

+1.280 Jenson Button – 1’32.281

+1.405 Max Verstappen – 1’32.406

+1.451 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’32.452

+1.649 Sebastian Vettel – 1’32.650

+1.702 Daniil Kvyat – 1’32.703

+1.791 Valtteri Bottas – 1’32.792

+1.869 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’32.870

+1.872 Felipe Massa – 1’32.873

+1.998 Stoffel Vandoorne – 1’32.999

+2.128 Esteban Gutierrez – 1’33.129

+2.176 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’33.177

+2.383 Romain Grosjean – 1’33.384

+2.405 Sergio Perez – 1’33.406

+2.446 Kevin Magnussen – 1’33.447

+2.569 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’33.570

+2.639 Jolyon Palmer – 1’33.640

+2.952 Pascal Wehrlein – 1’33.953

+3.223 Marcus Ericsson – 1’34.224

+3.476 Felipe Nasr – 1’34.477

+3.561 Rio Haryanto – 1’34.562

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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44 comments on “Mercedes lead the way again as wheel problem stops Vettel”

  1. Was there a gust of wind blowing behind the Mclaren cause that was a stonking lap from Button.

  2. This is shaping up to be a sweet weekend for the mid-field.

    1. So this …. isn’t an April fools joke?

      1. no, f1 has delayed it’s april fools joke till april 2nd…

        1. Bwahahaha!!

    2. Yeah, expect the TV directors to concentrate on the leading duo tho…

  3. Can Rosberg win a 5th race in a row? of the great drivers in the sport, none of them have had a teammate win so many races in a row as Hamilton has.

    1. Two ways of reading it I guess. Is Hamilton not a great because he’s not laying the hurt down on his team mate, or is he a great because he has such a stiffly competitive team mate yet still delivers.

      1. @philipgb I think many among us, including myself, should give Rosberg more credit. Over the years he has shown himself a better competitor than I had anticipated in 2013. I still don’t rank him on par with Hamilton or Vettel but surely as talented as Button or Raikkonen. @kingshark will love to see me saying this.

        1. @xtwl

          I think he has more raw pace than Button or Raikkonen but I’d rate their race craft higher, though possibly not Raikkonen on current form.

          1. When it comes to race craft, Button is just too good. What Nico has is raw pace which is similar to Vettel and Hamilton.

        2. @kingshark will love to see me saying this.

          Thanks for the shoutout! :P

          He is not as good as Hamilton or Vettel, I don’t think that anyone will argue that tbh. His best season (2010) was every bit as good as Hamilton or Vettel on form, but his best tends occurs significantly less frequently.

          1. @kingshark I’d say Button’s best ever season was 2011. He rose above everyone apart from the vastly superior Vettel in the vastly superior RB7 – both drivers made everyone else look pretty average that year.

          2. @optimaximal

            both drivers made everyone else look pretty average that year.

            Given that Alonso finished only 13 points behind Button that year in a clearly weaker car, this is a bit of a stretch. But yes, 2011 was Button’s best season.

        3. Rosberg should fast be considered the best of non champions…

        4. @xtwl I think Rosberg is like 2nd tier Vettel, a driver that can deliver constant time/result but show it weakness when must do the battle n track. Doesn’t mean he’s bad because Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso is on their own tier atm. Same tier as Button and Raikkonen (before his return to Ferrari days), but I think Rosberg is still a bit behind them both.

          1. “a driver that can deliver constant time/result but show it weakness when must do the battle n track”

            @sonicslv Surely that last part is only about Rosberg? I mean just look at his start in Melbourne and his overtake on Hamilton in the same race, that hardly shows any lack of spatial awareness or balls to overtake…

            Saying Vettel can’t overtake like Hamilton can is just plain nonsense to me. On speed Rosberg is just a tad below Hamilton and Vettel but it is as you say his racecraft that has let him down on several occasions. Though his move on Perez was pretty impressive coming out of the pits.

          2. @xtwl Vettel doesn’t really good at on track battles too. He do it better than Rosberg, but he never show the race craft that Hamilton, Alonso, or Button usually shows. His Monza pass against Alonso is great, but other than that, against a car that quite competitive he still looks bad or doing errors like in Australia.

          3. @sonicslv I’m sorry but that is just plain nonsense. In Australia he knew he would only have one chance on the few last laps, he was pushing to get that done. It’s a whole lot easier to stay behind a Torro Rosso for 10 laps asking the team to come up with a different strategy of course… People who are ‘not that good’ as Alonso or Hamilton don’t make moves like Vettel has in the past…

          4. @xtwl Well we talking about high level race craft here. Trying alone is not enough, you need to succeed at that too. Hamilton proven himself in his McLaren days, Button usually goes under people radar because his passes are so calculated that he only doing one attempt at it and succeed. Vettel in the other hand, makes his position worse. Is he pressed by the laps running out? Yes. Is it calculated gamble because he knew no one will take that 3rd position even if he botched it? Maybe. But all that doesn’t make he has good race craft. When you compare at the world champions at the grid today, Vettel is the worst of them when it comes to race craft (Raikkonen was mega before he re-joined Ferrari).

          5. @sonicslv Now you’re just making me laugh. Just go to Youtube and look at some of his overtakes, they are twice as spectacular as any move I’ve ever seen Button do. His pass on Button in Abu Dhabi 2012 is just brilliant for example, how he positioned his car in both Hungary 2015 and Melbourne 2016 at the start shows superb spatial awareness and skill.

            Is he pressed by the laps running out? Yes. Is it calculated gamble because he knew no one will take that 3rd position even if he botched it? Maybe.

            And that is not unique to Vettel but every single driver does it. If they can risk a bit more in the last few laps because they know their current position is secure why not go for it?

    2. Prost did in fact have a team-mate who won four races in a row, but then it was Senna…

    3. Rosberg has shown all through his career to be a very strong driver. He performed well while at Williams hence his migration to Merc. As someone once said here, Nico ‘drove circles around’ MS when both were paired together. I believe without Hamilton in the team, Nico would have walked the last 2 Mercedes championships.
      I think it speaks more about Hamilton’s skills to have beaten a driver as good as Nico is.

      1. That’s what I’ve been seeing.

  4. last year in q3 it was Hamilton ahead of Ferraris Vettel by .3 seconds with Rosberg behind. I hope it is that close this year in Q3 also. practice has shown 2 things, Rosberg is on form again, and that Raikonnen is too slow in the Ferrari. Ferraris challenge is all down to Vettel, Raikonnen looks unlikely to ever win again looking at his pace of the past 2 seasons plus.

    1. I also never thought he would win in the Lotus either and he did it twice with some help.

      1. yeh,,, it was because he is too slow, so that helped tyre preservation when driving the Lotus. if he was faster, he would not have got that good tyre degredation rate he had at lotus which helped him to 2 unlikely wins.

        1. By that logic Manor would never have to stop…

    2. Bit premature to suggest he’s lost his pace; he was on vettel’s tail in Australia before he retired, and is probably on a low power engine mode after the turbo failure in the previous race.

    3. Vettel was very scrappy in FP2, and Hamilton was slow. I wouldn’t bet all money on my money on either of these two winning, unless they are sandbagging.

      1. *all my money
        How the hell did I manage to type that?

  5. So all the hype about Merc being wrong with their tyre choice should be off now as Ferrari used their extra 2 sets of Mediums allocated for each of their drivers. I can see a normal stop strategy will be SS,M,S for race leaders, SS,S,M for close followers.

  6. Mercedes in FP2 1.5 seconds faster then their qualifying time last year, but McLaren 2.8 seconds faster then there time last year in qualigying, and also in fp2 McLaren are already .3 faster then pole last year! MASSIVE step for McLaren Honda, well done! Ferraris times today were NOT representative, only .4 seconds faster then this time last year (but more time to come obviously- maybe 1 to 1.5 seconds more). Q3 this year should be good, quite close at the front, and with McLaren making a welcome return back with Honda for the first time in q3.

  7. It’s seems that Verstappen is also not in the mood to take any hostages, he killed today his teammate. The only right way to respons after AustraliĆ«.

    1. Agreed….Max apologie to the team, but his mind is in rage mode

    2. Hehe killed is an impolite word.. But 0.6s is quite a nice gap… Maybe he can fight for podium…

  8. The highlight for me in FP2 was seeing Vettel at trackside, looking at the other cars and trying to learn something. Reminded me of Horner calling him ‘sponge’ during his RBR days…

  9. Is there anything to say about the fact that the slowest 4 drivers did not use any SS in FP2??

    If there is a 1 sec diff between compounds, would that not mean the Manors and Saubers are ahead of the FI and Renaults? Equal to Haas??

    Am I just stunned or not reading correctly? Can someone tell me if my logic is flawed, if so, what am I missing here?

    1. Inded, they are quite fast… There is no way to tell where they might qualify…

  10. That sky, though.

    1. yeah, it’s all about the red this weekend ;)

  11. Did Wehrlein beat the saubers on merit? Or did he use softer tyres than them?

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