Rosberg tops first Bahrain GP practice

Sakhir (Bahrain), April 1 (IANS) Nico Rosberg and Mercedes dominated Friday’s opening practice for the 2016 Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix race, with the current championship leader topping the time by half a second ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton.

Team Ferrari were Mercedes’ closest challengers, with Kimi Raikkonen finishing the 90-minute session in the third place, but almost two seconds down on Rosberg’s leading pace.

Ferrari’s other driver Sebastian Vettel meanwhile was down in the 11th place on 1 minute 35.073 seconds – 2.7 seconds slower than Mercedes.

The Red Bull team again looked good, with Daniel Ricciardo edging teammate Daniil Kvyat by less than one tenth of a second in the fight for the fourth place.

Nico Hulkenberg was within striking distance of them throughout, taking his Force India car round in 1m 34.610s for an eventual sixth finish.

Team Toro Rosso also looked strong again, with partners Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen seventh and eighth, the pair covered by just 0.067s.

Down at Force India, Alfonso Celis made his Grand Prix weekend debut in place of Sergio Perez; he was 20th on 1m 37.287s.

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