Kimi Raikkonen fastest after Ferrari impress in early practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix

Lotus driver ahead of Red Bulls of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel in second practice

Kimi Raikkonen has thrown his hat into the ring for victory in Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix after he topped the timesheet at the end of today's two 90-minute sessions at the 5.412km track.

Winner in the season-opening race in Australia and second in China on Sunday, the 2007 world champion trails Sebastian Vettel by three points in the standings after three races.

After finishing runner-up at the desert-based Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir last year, Raikkonen would naturally love to go one better 12 months on.

On the quicker medium-compound Pirelli, with the hard rubber the other tyre to be used this weekend, the Lotus driver's best of his 31 laps was with a time of one minute 34.154secs.

The Finn was ahead of Red Bull drivers Mark Webber and Vettel, with the Australian 0.030secs adrift and the German 0.128secs down.

Webber, on the occasion of his 200th grand prix, knows he has to be as close to the front as possible given he faces a three-place grid penalty for colliding with Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne in Shanghai.

Fernando Alonso, winner in China and second quickest in the morning run behind Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa, slipped to fourth in the afternoon, but only 0.156secs behind Raikkonen.

Ferrari adopted a fine policy in the afternoon, with Alonso embarking on a long run on the hard tyre, and Massa on the medium to determine their longevity.

Given the chaotic tyre strategies and plethora of pit stops that unfolded in China, there appears to be no such concerns for this event, with a two-stop race likely to be the norm.

Paul Di Resta kept Force India in the top five, with the Scot less than four tenths of a second off of Raikkonen, and four tenths ahead of team-mate Adrian Sutil down in ninth.

In between the duo were Massa, Romain Grosjean in his Lotus and the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg, who was third quickest in the morning on the hard tyre.

Whether Mercedes have played their hand yet is unclear as team-mate Lewis Hamilton could only manage 10th fastest, 0.822secs adrift, after trailing in 13th in the morning.

McLaren appear to be facing another troublesome weekend as Jenson Button and Sergio Perez were 11th and 13th respectively, both over a second down, with Vergne sandwiched between the pair.

Marussia's Max Chilton managed to finish ahead of team-mate Jules Bianchi for the first time this season, the Briton three seconds behind Raikkonen, but 0.050secs ahead of the Frenchman in 20th and 21st positions.

Bianchi, though, was forced to make way for reserve Rodolfo Gonzalez this morning, so missing out on vital track time.

Caterham's Giedo van der Garde, who also sat out FP1 for returning Finn Heikki Kovalainen who is now reserve after being dropped as a permanent driver last season, brought up the rear, 3.816secs down.

PA

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
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