Daniel Ricciardo quickest, Max Verstappen hits trouble
Bahrain Grand Prix - FP1

Daniel Ricciardo quickest, Max Verstappen hits trouble

Red Bull had a mixed start to the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend as Daniel Ricciardo went quickest in opening practice after teammate Max Verstappen hit an early issue with his car.

Ricciardo's lap in the closing portion of the session, a 1:31.060, put him clear of Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas by 0.3s. It will be an encouraging lap time for Red Bull, which remains convinced it was unable to show its true pace during the Australian Grand Prix, although it is always worth noting engine modes are turned down during opening practice sessions.

FP1 in Bahrain is also held in daylight, a contrast to qualifying and the race, which are held in the evening under floodlights, meaning it is one of the least representative sessions of the year.

Of more concern to Red Bull would be the fact Verstappen slowed on track early in the session. The Dutchman helped the Sakhir marshals roll his car back to the garage, where it remained for the rest of the session. It was later reported to have been an electrical issue which sidelined his car.

Bottas finished ahead of the two Ferrari drivers, with Kimi Raikkonen leading teammate Sebastian Vettel. Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton settled for fifth, nearly a full second slower than Bottas' best time and 1.2s off Ricciardo's benchmark. Hamilton appeared to be unhappy with his car's handling on his quickest flying lap and had a big lock up at Turn 10 during the session, going wide across a run-off area.

Romain Grosjean continued to show good pace in the Haas, finishing sixth. The American team is hoping to convert its pace into a strong haul of points this weekend after squandering a golden opportunity to record its best-ever result with two pit-stop errors in Australia.

Pierre Gasly, running a Toro Rosso fitted with new Honda parts after his Australia DNF, was seventh, ahead of Carlos Sainz, who had complained early in the session his car was "an absolute mess". Kevin Magnussen was ninth, marginally ahead of Nico Hulkenberg in the other Renault, suggesting another close fight between those two cars is on the cards later in the weekend. McLaren will hope to make that a three-way battle after missing out on Q3 in Australia, but Fernando Alonso could only manage 10th ahead of Sauber's Charles Leclerc and teammate Stoffel Vandoorne.

Williams drivers Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin were 14th and 15th, split by less than 0.1s. Toro Rosso's Brendon Hartley was 16th ahead of Marcus Ericsson.

Force India has introduced more upgrades for this weekend after a disappointing start to the season, but could only manage 18th and 19th after spending the majority of the session on the medium tyre.

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