Sebastian Vettel grabs Bahrain Grand Prix pole position in

Sebastian Vettel grabs Bahrain Grand Prix pole position in

Lewis Hamilton went into the Bahrain Grand Prix favourite to make up for the win that was snatched away from him in Formula One's season opener in Australia, but the best the Briton is now hoping for in Sunday's race is simply a respectable finish.

The Ferrari driver secured his second victory in as many races on Sunday night after holding off a late charge from Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas.

Kimi Raikkonen topped the times and escaped a grid penalty as he and Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel dominated yesterday's floodlit second free practice for this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix. Bottas, who was the only other driver to run the soft with everyone else on the supersoft, was third quickest, outpacing his teammate Hamilton by just over a tenth of a second.

The result demonstrates Vettel's early dominance as the German gets his 101st grand prix win.

After a tiresome season-opener in Melbourne, the Bahrain race was full of highlights.

Speaking after the race, Raikkonen said he was unaware there had been a problem at the stop until he was told over the radio to bring his auto to a halt.

He had earlier told his team that everything was under control but that, he recognised later with a smile, was not the reality. "If we have the same vehicle on Sunday that we had in Melbourne on Sunday, I think we'll be very close". "I'll try to improve the feeling and balance to put myself in the best position possible". "There wasn't much. At the end of the straight, Valtteri had a bit of a sniff but fortunately he ran out of laps so I'm really happy".

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Back at the very front, Vettel tried to pull away from Bottas but could only build up a gap of just over four seconds. Ferrari reported that the crewman went to the hospital and were awaiting more information.

Raikkonen and Vettel finished half-a-second clear of their Mercedes rivals in practice, and Vettel, while pleased with his team's progress, expressed caution over Friday's times.

Ferrari's pit system showed a green light to Raikkonen, indicating he could exit the pits, despite mechanics not having changed his left rear wheel. "I started ninth so third isn't bad at all". Verstappen took a pillion ride back to the pits on a scooter. "He drove into my left rear and gave me a puncture and also destroyed the diff".

Toro Rosso-Honda's Pierre Gasly took a brilliant fourth place.

The Haas team is meanwhile out for redemption after botching pitstops of Kevin Magnussen and Romain grosjean within a few minutes as they were running fourth and fifth respectively in Melbourne.

McLaren became the major casualty of Q2 as both Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne missed out the top 10 shoot-out, and also faced the fact that they were out-qualified by both Toro Rosso cars.