(Photo credit: Steven Penton)
Daniel Ricciardo raised a few eyebrows setting the fastest time of the first practice session in Bahrain on Friday while Mercedes and Ferrari battled it out for the next four places. The Aussie left it late before posting a time of 1:31:060 to edge out Valtteri Bottas by three-tenths of a second.
Kimi Raikkonen was the fasted of the two Ferrari drivers coming in third just a tenth behind the Mercedes while teammate Sebastian Vettel was just a hair’s breadth back in fourth place.
The surprise performance of the first session was executed by Pierre Gasly who brought his Toro Rosso home seventh quickest in a time of 1:32:779 ahead of both Renaults, both McLarens and one Haas. The Red Bull ‘B’ team brought Honda upgrades to this race and looked to be going well on the soft tyres.
Sauber man Charles Leclerc also looked comfortable on the soft compound (despite an early spin) providing the filling for a McLaren sandwich just five-tenths behind Fernando Alonso and less than a tenth ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne.
However, the daylight run was just a warm-up for the evening session where conditions would be more akin to those on qualifying and race day.