Monday 25 March 2019

Hamilton flounders for fifth


Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton finished only fifth in first practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix as Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo set the pace.

Defending champion Hamilton, who is bidding to bounce back from his opening-day defeat to Sebastian Vettel in Australia a fortnight ago, was more than one second adrift of the front runners.

Hamilton made a mistake on his speedy lap under braking at turn 10 and ended the 90-minute session at the Bahrain International Circuit 1.2 sec down on Ricciardo.

Ricciardo's pace suggests his Red Bull team could take the challenge to Mercedes and Ferrari this weekend. But his time should be treated with a degree of caution given that the soaring heat is not representative of the cooler conditions for qualifying and the race which both take place in the evening.

Nevertheless, Ricciardo will be pleased to sit at the top of the order, with his best lap of one minute and 31.060 seconds enough to see him finish ahead of Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas, with Kimi Raikkonen in third and Vettel fourth in the sister Ferrari.

Ricciardo was 0.304 sec clear of Bottas, with both Raikkonen and Vettel within half-a-second of the Australian.

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