Red Bull's Verstappen gets more power than bargained for

Red Bull's Verstappen gets more power than bargained for

Max Verstappen's hopes of kick starting his 2018 F1 season in Bahrain suffered a serious setback after his Red Bull malfunctioned on the opening lap of first practice.

"Yesterday our race pace didn't look bad but I think our auto in FP2 wasn't as good as it is now, so it's encouraging to know that our vehicle should be even better tomorrow and hopefully it puts us in the fight".

World champion Lewis Hamilton was fifth.

Raikkonen and Vettel were up front as cooler temperatures and nightfall matched the conditions for Sunday evening's race.

The 28-year-old lapped the 5.4km Sakhir Circuit with a best time of one minute 31.060 seconds that put him 0.304 seconds clear of last year's Mercedes pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas.

"We know that is tougher for us in the race than on one lap performance", said Gasly.

In a boost for Ferrari, both Mercedes cars were more than half a second slower than the best lap set by Raikkonen, who would be investigated by race stewards for an unsafe vehicle release following a pitstop.

Having set an initial time good enough for fourth in the first part of qualifying, Verstappen was looking to improve his time but instead found the wall. With such fine margins, any one of the three teams could prove to be quickest during Sunday's race. The British driver had a tricky session, twice taking his Mercedes too wide on corners and finishing more than one second behind Ricciardo.

Vettel snatched an opportunistic win from Hamilton in Formula One's season opener in Australia two weeks ago, taking advantage of a timely virtual safety auto to pit and stay ahead of the Briton who had led from pole.

Team-mate Max Verstappen did not log any substantial mileage in FP1, spending most of the session in the garage with an electrical problem, before beating Ricciardo to fifth place in FP2 by 0.006s. "It meant that I spent the beginning of the second session searching for the balance of the vehicle", Verstappen said.

"That's also what happened to me in third practice". It was not as much as in the practice but there were still problems on the straight, just not the deployment I wanted, so the team told me to do another lap to try and calibrate it better.

Hamilton blitzed the competition in Melbourne qualifying, but a team strategy error saw him beaten in the race by main title rival Sebastian Vettel.

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