Fri: Merc, McLaren, STR, Ferrari


Nico Rosberg was unbeatable at the Sakhir on Friday, setting the pace ahead of his team-mate Lewis Hamilton while Jenson Button was the surprise in P3…

Nico Rosberg:
“I couldn’t wait to get back in the car after a great weekend in Melbourne and I felt really good out there. It’s been an encouraging first day for the team. We were very quick on one lap and also on the longer runs, so I’m really looking forward to qualifying and the race. I like this track very much. The atmosphere is great and it looks really spectacular driving under the lights in the evening. It should be an exciting weekend!”

Lewis Hamilton: “That was a good Friday overall. The car is performing really well here. There were no surprises or issues to report throughout both practice sessions, which is always a good sign. Understanding the tyres has been key to our work today as they’ll be a big factor this weekend. There’s some work to do tonight in terms of finding a few improvements from the car and also my driving style. I’m looking forward to getting back out there and making some more progress tomorrow.”

Jenson Button: 
“Today was good – FP1 and FP2 were both competitive, and it’s nice to have a car that feels good beneath me, one we can really work with and see good gains. It was only practice today, but it was a lot more fun than normal! High-fuel runs weren’t too bad either – overall it’s been a positive day. There’s still a lot of work to do tomorrow on long runs, especially on the harder compounds, when I’m sure the other cars will be more competitive tomorrow. But, we were third quickest today, and that’s a positive. There are certain areas where we need to improve, and I think we still can improve. We have to do a good job as a team tomorrow and make sure we don’t make any mistakes.

Stoffel Vandoorne: “I turned 24 on Saturday so this is a very good birthday present! Today has been great – I wasn’t expecting to drive this weekend, but I’m very happy for this opportunity. I’m going to try and do as good a job as possible for the team. I feel 100 per cent ready for this and today was a very good day for me. I haven’t driven this car before but I quickly felt comfortable in the car, progressed quite a lot through FP1 and then had quite a good feeling through FP2 as well.”

Toro Rosso:
Max Verstappen:
“A good start to the weekend. Of course there are still some things to improve, but it’s definitely been a good day – we didn’t have any problems and we had plenty of track time, so that’s very positive. You never know what other people are doing, so of course I’m still a bit cautious, but it’s looking positive here in Bahrain for us and we just need to keep improving because everybody else will.”

Carlos Sainz Jr: “It was a nice and smooth day for us today. We didn’t have any issues and enjoyed some clean running, something that’s always important to achieve on a Friday. I’m happy overall with my day. Obviously, there were many different tyre strategies out there today, so it’s very difficult to compare ourselves to the others, but I’d say we’ve done our homework and we are looking good for the rest of the weekend ahead.”

Kimi Raikkonen:
“It was a normal and pretty ok day, everything worked out fine and we did more or less what had been planned. We ran quite a few laps and it wasn’t too bad, I only had some traffic in my lap with the Supersoft tires, but apart from that it was ok. I was not really looking at what the others were doing, we ran through our own programme. Obviously, the laptimes are one thing you notice, but we’ll see what happens tomorrow. Now we have to go through the data and see how the day was. We always try to do our best, I still don’t know where it is going to end, we have to wait until Sunday to know that. Hopefully we have a good and solid day tomorrow and then we’ll go from there.”

Sebastian Vettel: “We don’t know 100% what happened. I felt out of Turn 4 that I lost drive, so I decided to stop. Obviously we don’t want to take a risk at this stage, damaging the car or the engine. It’s a shame because I would have loved to cover more laps, but that’s what it is. Obviously, it was incredibly important to do the mileage today and get the information on Friday, but it’s even more important to make sure that the car is in good conditions for the whole weekend and for the whole season. Tomorrow I think that if you want to qualify as high up as possible you have to use the Supersofts. It’s not a big secret. We saw that a lot of people were doing their homework today. As for me, I haven’t done everything I could because we had to stop, but Kimi did a lot of laps, so it’s still reasonable. Coming down to our rivals, I don’t know what they did today. I think we can still improve for tomorrow. Hopefully we can be a little bit closer, so we’ll see.”