Ferrari duo Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel set the fastest lap-time in first practice at the Bahrain Grand Prix as Mercedes are playing the long game, clearly working on set-up work, and Rosberg and Hamilton set were only 15th and 16th.
Raikkonen posted a best time of one minute 37.827 seconds around the 5.412-kilometre Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, edging out four-time world champion Vettel by 0.798 seconds.
Williams’s Valtteri Bottas set third fastest lap-time ahead of Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jr and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.
The young Toro Rosso ace Max Verstappen was sixth, ahead of McLaren’s Fernando. Felipe Nasr, Daniil Kvyat and Felipe Massa rounded out the top ten behind Alonso.
The majority of the drivers paying attention on race-pace at the beginning of the session before saving their tires and posting a fastest time in the final few minutes of FP1.
McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen all are topping the timesheets at some point during the session. In the final ten minutes of FP1, Raikkonen and Vettel to post fast lap times.
McLaren had a mixed session as Jenson Button’s car stopped on the first turn of his first lap and he failed to get out again though Fernando Alonso did finish seventh.