F1: Lewis Hamilton continues to set the pace as Mercedes finish Bahrain Grand Prix practice in dominant form

The Malaysian GP winner was over two-tenths quicker than his team-mate Nico Rosberg in the first session

Lewis Hamilton dazzled under Bahrain's newly-installed floodlights to offer up the prospect of him claiming back-to-back wins for the first time in four years.

Five days ago at the Sepang International Circuit Hamilton fired up his Formula One world championship challenge with the 23rd victory of his career.

After retiring after just two laps into the season-opening race in Australia last month, Hamilton and his Mercedes ran faultlessly in the heat and humidity of Malaysia en route to a lights-to-flag win.

Buoyed by that success, and with Mercedes clearly in possession of the best car at present at the start of the new V6 power-unit era, Hamilton comfortably topped the timesheet in Bahrain.

The country is staging its 10th anniversary of the race, and by way of celebration is now a night event for the first time alongside Singapore and near-Middle Eastern neighbour Abu Dhabi.

Hamilton led the way in the first practice session, albeit run in the middle of the afternoon and with conditions hardly representative of what is to unfold in qualifying and the race, which start at 6pm local time (4pm UK).

The time was a fairly pedestrian one minute 37.502secs, but with the lights turned on and the faster soft-compound Pirelli tyres strapped on to the car, Hamilton went 3.2secs quicker.

That is comparable to the quickest time from FP2 a year ago, albeit with the slightly slower medium rubber the best tyre then.

Only team-mate Nico Rosberg was remotely in touching distance of Hamilton, and even then the German was 0.365secs adrift.

Rosberg, however, is under investigation by the stewards after Force India's Sergio Perez was forced to swerve out of the way of the slow-moving German early in the session when he was on the racing line.

As for the rest, they were all at least a second off of Hamilton's pace, highly unusual for a second practice session, underlying the advantage Mercedes have over their rivals at present.

As in FP1, Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was the quickest of the chasing pack in his Ferrari in the second session, albeit 1.035secs down.

The double world champion was followed by Daniel Ricciardo in his Red Bull, but suffering yet another fuel sensor failure - the reason behind the appeal of his disqualification from his second place in the season-opening race in Australia.

Williams' Felipe Massa, who along with team-mate Valtteri Bottas sat in the garage for half of the session until the track improved, was fifth on the timesheet, 1.117secs adrift.

McLaren's Jenson Button and reigning four-times champion Sebastian Vettel were sixth and seventh quickest, but with both 1.2secs down.

Rookies Daniel Kvyat and Kevin Magnussen were next up for Toro Rosso and McLaren respectively, with Perez completing the top 10, 1.5secs back.

Marussia's Max Chilton was down in 20th, and with his session ending 40 minutes early due to a left-front brake disk failure on his car that forced him into a 360 degree spin on the approach to the right-hander turn four.

The Caterhams of Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson brought up the rear, with the latter's session ending with a technical failure of his own that forced him to park the car on the side of the track.


Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Arts and Entertainment
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
Life and Style
Dale Bolinger arranged to meet the girl via a fetish website
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
Life and Style
The Commonwealth flag flies outside Westminster Abbey in central London
Arts and Entertainment
Struggling actors who scrape a living working in repertory theatres should get paid a 'living wage', Sir Ian McKellen has claimed
Skye McCole Bartusiak's mother said she didn't use drink or drugs
peopleActress was known for role in Mel Gibson film The Patriot
Arts and Entertainment
tvWebsite will allow you to watch all 522 shows on-demand
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor