• Lewis Hamilton topped the opening practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
• Hamilton was followed by team mate Valtteri Bottas.
• Hamilton set a fastest time of 1:29.033.
• For more motoring stories, go to www.Wheels24.co.za
Teams and drivers took to the track for this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix. At the end of the first practice session, it was Lewis Hamilton who topped the times, followed by Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Perez. Sunday's race will be the 15th race of the heavily adjusted Covid-19 affected season that saw several races fall by the wayside.
The first practice session went about as smoothly as a train on rails, with only a few incidents rearing their heads. Early on in the session, Haas driver Romain Grosjean spun off the track, leaving his front tyres badly damaged. So much so that the tyres' wiring showed. This was followed up by Charles Leclerc who also spun after losing his car's rear.
It was expected that Ferrari, and especially Leclerc, would be on the pace this weekend - given his strong performance at last year's race. With Ferrari's sluggish pace this year and an inferior package, the team struggled to drag itself out of the bottom 16. This should be an indication of what to expect from the team over the remainder of the race weekend, but one should not discount them from finishing in the points on Sunday.
In what came as no surprise, Hamilton and his Mercedes-AMG team mate Valtteri Bottas had the strongest pace in the session. Hamilton topped the times with a 1:29.033. His speed was expected on the back of his championship-winning race last time out in Turkey. The champion was on the button from the moment the session got underway and never relinquished any pace as the session drew on.
The second practice session will get underway later this afternoon (17:00 SA time) and will see teams testing the long-run pace of their cars. With the sun setting fast in Bahrain, the floodlights will come out, and the session to take place under much cooler temperatures.