Bahrain GP | Rosberg remains on top as Button joins top three

Nico Rosberg fastest of the day at close of play in FP2 at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

As Mercedes continued to lower the Bahrain benchmark, Rosberg held the edge over Hamilton. Nico’s fastest lap of the day was even enough to be the lap record set by Pedro De La Rosa in 2005.

But while Rosberg’s 1:31.001 is technically faster than the 1:31.447 by De La Rosa 11 years ago at the Bahrain GP, the Spaniard’s time in the 2005 McLaren – after he took the place of Juan Pablo Montoya after he injured his shoulder – was set during the race and therefore is not fully comparable.

Comparing Rosberg’s best time from today to that of his team-mate shows Hamilton to be slower in the final sector where Lewis lost two tenths to Nico. Over the course of their best laps, Rosberg was 0.016 seconds down through sector one, 0.022 up in sector two before creating the 0.241 gap at the line.

Previously, Rosberg also held a 0.210 second lead on Hamilton after early soft tyre running before the Silver Arrows broke into the 1:31’s on supersofts. Similarly, Hamilton was again slower in that run by two tenths in the final sector.

Before the Mercedes duo claimed their positions, Wehrlein had opened the lap times with a 1:35.848 before Raikkonen moved into p1 on a 1:35.164 on a set of used mediums.

Vettel then moved into third place after his first timed lap on soft tyres – 0.477s down on Rosberg – but his day would end on the back of a flatbed lorry.

Vettel had reported over the radio that he suffered a loss of drive towards the end of the session. And without the team able to talk back to him, he cruised to a stop in neutral. Shortly after, it became apparent that the issue was with his rear left wheel nut not being fully tightened yet the issue struck five laps after a practice pit stop.

Earlier in the session Williams had been running on the supersoft tyres. But unfortunately for them, they were 0.4 seconds down to soft running Mercedes’.

Whereas Jenson Button on supersoft tyres was able to move into third place. His 1:32.281 may have been one second off Hamilton, but was enough for the McLaren to end the day in third place.

Vandoorne at that point of the session had yet used the supersoft tyres and sat down in 17th, 2.2s off Button. And when he did, he was able to move up to p10, seven tenths down on Button. Stoffel would go on to end the day in 11th place.

As the session wound on, race simulations were being carried out with Rosberg’s long-run pace slightly down to that of Hamilton. A few tenths split the laps of Rosberg and Hamilton as Nico used slightly older tyres. Button and Vettel also lapped in the 1:37s, like the Mercedes’.

McLaren and Jenson were not only high up in the standings, as the Woking outfit were also high in the speed traps. In sector one, Jenson was joint top with a speed of 247km/h (level with Rosberg and Vettel), sector two saw him place joint third on 269 km/h (Mercs 271), while in sector three it was Valtteri Bottas on top with a speed of 299 km/h (Mercedes’ best 295 = 4th).

Moments after Vettel’s retirement, Grosjean’s front wing end plate flew off as the Frenchman ran wide at T13. This is the second time of the day a part has flew off his Haas after his fuel filler cap came off during FP1. This time however, his front wing failed as he drove over the rumble strip before his front wing dragged along the floor and he punctured his rear tyre.

Pos Driver Time Gap
1 Nico Rosberg 1:31.001  —
2 Lewis Hamilton 1:31.242 0.241
3 Jenson Button 1:32.281 1.28
4 Max Verstappen 1:32.406 1.405
5 Kimi Raikkonen 1:32.452 1.451
6 Sebastian Vettel 1:32.650 1.649
7 Daniil Kvyat 1:32.703 1.702
8 Valtteri Bottas 1:32.792 1.791
9 Daniel Ricciardo 1:32.870 1.869
10 Felipe Massa 1:32.873 1.872
11 Stoffel Vandoorne 1:32.999 1.998
12 Esteban Gutierrez 1:33.129 2.128
13 Carlos Sainz Jr. 1:33.177 2.176
14 Romain Grosjean 1:33.384 2.383
15 Sergio Perez 1:33.406 2.405
16 Kevin Magnussen 1:33.447 2.446
17 Nico Hulkenberg 1:33.570 2.569
18 Jolyon Palmer 1:33.640 2.639
19 Pascal Wehrlein 1:33.953 2.952
20 Marcus Ericsson 1:34.224 3.223
21 Felipe Nasr 1:34.477 3.476
22 Rio Haryanto 1:34.562 3.561