Hello, and welcome to this live blog as we go through the second practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
What have we learnt from FP1?
Mercedes are running the exact same car from pre-season testing… and its stability is questionable.
Red Bull looks like it is stuck to the ground.
This is how today’s earlier practice session ended. Max Verstappen was 0.298 ahead of Valtteri Bottas in the Mercedes. Lando Norris in the McLaren finished third, five tenths off the Dutchman’s Red Bull
Who else is a big fan of the new F1 intro? If I’m already not hyped on Sunday, I know that will do the job.
This is an important session, as the light fades and the conditions become what we expect for the race, teams need to be out quickly to get their race pace set. As practice is now just one hour, expect a hectic session!
Crofty returns on the commentary, partnering KC and Paul Di Resta. How good was Natalie Pinkham earlier, complete breath of fresh air.
Big session for this lad!
We’re green and underway for FP2. A lot of cars already on track.
A Ferrari, McLaren, Haas, Aston Martin all at the end of the lap trying to jostle for position.
All 20 cars are out on track, I told you it was going to be hectic!
Nikita Mazepin spins… Nikita Maze-spin… I’m not sorry
“The balance is all over the place,” Mazepin says on the team radio.
New track limits. Turn 4 will be policed during practice and qualifying. During the race it will not be policed, the gravel will be the limit.
Martin Brundle can smell the cars.
This is the amazing insight I love to hear from him.
10 minutes gone, Verstappen is two tenths clear of Sainz.
Of course, Bottas goes purple in the first and third sector and is now three tenths up.
Raikkonen has dropped it and hit the wall, he’s still going, minus a front wing.
Hamilton now goes purple in all sectors, now +0.242. It’s all happening!
Just drops the rear on the exit of T2, it’s a mighty whack against the barrier and he’s limping back to the pits. Don’t expect him out again for a while.
Too much sport, not enough screens! Ben Stokes has been caught and is out for 99, agonisingly close to a deserved hundred. England closing in on tying the series.
Top three is Hamilton, Bottas, Verstappen. Same same, but different, you know?
Russell in eighth, just a second off Hamilton. I’m trying not to get too ahead of myself.
Vettel goes third with a run of the softs.
Both AlphaTauri’s move to second and third, on softs. Tsunoda under a tenth behind Hamilton who was on the mediums.
Jos Butler has been bowled for a duck, it is never easy, is it?
Cricket might hurt me, but F1 will always have my back. Action packed. Sainz went quickest, before Hamilton regained first, but only just, the soft doesn’t hold up throughout the lap.
Haas fans… look away. Schumacher four seconds slower than Hamilton, Mazepin, 5.4.
We’re into the 30’s. Lando Norris goes quickest with a 1:30.9.
Verstappen goes purple in the final sector, 30.8. We have a race on our hands, the field has tightened up. Are you sure we need new regulations?
Andreas Seidel saying that McLaren purposely did no low fuel runs during testing, this is Ricciardo’s first proper flying lap. He’s a few tenths down, expectedly. He’s only going to improve more as he gets used to the car.
This was Kimi’s spin.
At a bit of a lull. Have been a bit surprised to see so many quali runs. Expected to see more medium stints, apparently quali pace is more important at the moment. Can see why, its very tight all the way down the field.
I loved this.
We’ll see if we manage to beat this in 20 minutes time.
Current order is Verstappen, Norris, Hamilton, Sainz, Bottas and Ricciardo.
Sainz fastest in sector 1, maybe their engine is back up to standard.
Stop. This is the best thing to happen today.
Thought I’d show you the best livery on the grid.
15 minutes left, back on medium tyres for the majority of the field.
Raikkonen is back on track after his earlier escapades.
Schumacher trying the hards, I don’t know about that one fella.
I count 17 cars on track.
Mick finishes with a 1:39.0. Hards aren’t the one.
Max and Lewis both doing 36.4’s on race pace. Sunday cannot come soon enough.
Bottas struggling for grip, he’s had a lot of laps deleted for track limits. Poor grip with five minutes to go is not good. Have to hope that Anthony Davidson can do some work.
England win the cricket as well, today is a good day.
Hamilton has a little moment.
Top 15 within a second on soft runs earlier, just the Williams and Haas pair outside of the second. Russell said that the Williams has made steps forward, but the car doesn’t favour the windy Bahrain.
Bottas: “It’s undriveable.” Eek.
Session is over. Verstappen takes the flag in first. It is McLaren of Lando Norris just under a tenth off the Red Bull, look for them to be rapid tomorrow evening. Sainz in fourth behind Hamilton. This is going to be interesting.
Bahrain is a perfect season opener. Better than Melbourne, there, I said it.
There is quite a gap… I expect Williams to close the gap on different, less windy, circuits, hopefully. BUT, look how close everyone else is.
Final standings for FP2
Four teams in the top four, this is what everyone wants to see.
This season is going to great.
That’s it from me today. The final practice session starts at midday tomorrow before what will be a close qualifying session at 3 o’clock. I can’t wait.