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Mercedes dominate Friday practice ahead of Sunday's Bahrain GP
Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg finish top under floodlights at Sakhir Circuit
Reigning champion Sebastian Vettel finishes seventh fastest
Sunday's Bahrain GP will take place under floodlights for first time
Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg picked up where they left off in Malaysia completing another dominant day for Mercedes at Friday’s practice session in Bahrain ahead of Sunday’s Grand Prix.
The pair took the Formula One team’s first one-two for 59 years at Kuala Lumpur’s Sepang’s International Circuit last weekend, and are on course to repeat the feat if Friday’s practice is any guide.
Hamilton finished the day top of the standings at the floodlit Sakhir circuit with a best lap time of one minute 34.325 seconds with German teammate Rosberg 0.365 seconds behind.
“The track temperature was 38-40 degrees and then this afternoon was a lot cooler, about ten degrees, so it’s just really not trying to panic and react to the change,” Hamilton told Sky Sports News.
“We struggled a bit on the tires as everyone did.”
Rosberg was satisfied with second place and welcomed the new night racing in Bahrain.
“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,” Rosberg said.
“Visibility wise it’s very similar to Singapore. It’s a bit more difficult in the dark with the glare.”
He was also buoyed by the positive update on the health of his compatriot Michael Schumacher.
The former F1 star has been in a medically-induced coma for over three months following a skiing accident, but is now starting to have “moments of consciousness,” his agent Sabine Kehm said Friday.
“It’s fantastic to hear,” Rosberg said. “I am very happy, as is everybody else in the paddock. We know that his family would be very careful before releasing such good news. I hope he will continue to progress.”
The German currently heads Hamilton in the Drivers’ Championship after winning the opening race in Melbourne and coming second behind his British teammate last weekend.
Mercedes lead the Constructors’ Championship with 68 points ahead of McLaren who have 43 points with Ferrari currently third.
Fernando Alonso confirmed the Italian team’s current overall rank completing the third fastest lap in Friday’s practice, 1.035 seconds behind Hamilton.
Red Bull continue to struggle with the new F1 regulations. Daniel Ricciardo and reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel finished 14th and 10th respectively in the first practice before recovering to fourth and seventh under the floodlights in session two.
Williams continued their 2014 resurgence with Felipe Massa fifth fastest ahead of McLaren’s Jenson Button.
Russia’s Daniil Kvyat steered his Toro Rosso to eighth while Button’s Danish teammate Kevin Magnussen was ninth. Force India’s Sergio Perez completed the top 10.
Qualifying will take place after the third and final practice session on Saturday with the Grand Prix – the first under floodlights in Bahrain – starting at 15.00 GMT on Sunday.
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