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Lewis, Nico keep Merc's star shining

2014-04-05 10:09

LIGHTS, ACTION - FORMULA 1: The Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen is dwarfed by the floodlights of Bahrain's Sakhir circuit during second practice for the April 2014 Bahrain Formula 1 GP. Image: AFP/Marwan Naamani

MANAMA, Bahrain - Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg hammered home Mercedes' early-season dominance on Friday (Apl 4 2014) with the fastest lap times in the first and second practice sessions for the floodlit 2014 Bahrain Formula 1 GP.

Hamilton, winner in Malaysia the previous weekend, clocked 1min34.325 in the evening second spell and 1min37.502 in the earlier session.

2014 F1 championship leader Rosberg, who won the first race, in Australia, of the 2014 season was second on 1min37.733 in the first session and second again in the evening with 1mi34.690.

'IT'S SPECTACULAR'

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, who’s won three times here, was third-fastest overall on 1min35.360, more than a second behind Hamilton.

Rosberg said he was looking forward to racing at night. "It's spectacular. Even on track it's very impressive. It's good, especially for TV viewers. It's going to be great to watch.

“Visibility-wise it's very similar to Singapore. It's a bit more difficult in the dark with the glare."

Defending champion team Red Bull, which has struggled with the technical changes required for 2014, toiled in the afternoon period with four-times Drivers’ champion Sebastian Vettel down in 10th. His Australian team mate Daniel Ricciardo was 14th but both had a considerably stronger evening session.

Ricciardo, disqualified in Australia and a non-finisher in Malaysia, was fourth-fastest in the evening on 1min35.433; Vettel edged up to seventh, 1.281sec behind 2008 champion Hamilton.

Vettel said later: "It was a solid day for us - we didn't have any problems with the car. We're still learning a lot in terms of reliability and car set up so it's important to do laps and not to have any problems.”

Alonso believed night racing added to the challenge: “After many daytime races it was really strange to be running here in the dark, even if it was not very different to the other night races. We just have to get used to it.”

ALL THE TOP 10

Felipe Massa, a Brazilian with two career wins in Bahrain while with Ferrari, was the top Williams performer. His 1min35.442 was good enough for fifth. Jenson Button, taking part in his 250th GP, was sixth in the leading McLaren on 1min35.528.

After Vettel, the top 10 was completed by Russia's Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso), Denmark's Kevin Magnussen (McLaren) and Sergio Perez (Force India) whose team mate Nico Hulkenberg made fourth-fastest in the afternoon but dropped back to 13th in the evening.

The Lotus duo of Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean were 17th and 18th respectively. Marussia and Caterham filled the last four spots.
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