Nico Rosberg impresses for Mercedes during Bahrain Grand Prix practice

 

Nico Rosberg was fastest in today's second practice session for Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver, fresh from his maiden grand prix win after taking the chequered flag in China, posted a lap time of one minute 32.816secs in the afternoon.

Red Bull duo Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel were second and third behind the German, clocking times of 1:33.262 and 1:33.525, respectively.

Fourth place went to McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, with Mercedes' Michael Schumacher fifth and Jenson Button sixth in his McLaren.

The Force India drivers, having impressed in the morning, did not compete in the second session due to safety concerns.

Earlier, Hamilton had led the way in the first practice session for the third consecutive race.

After topping the timesheet in Malaysia and China at the end of the opening 90-minute session, Hamilton again proved to be the man to beat on a Friday morning.

With Formula One returning to the Bahrain International Circuit for the first time since 2010 following the cancellation of last year's race due to violent anti-government protests, Hamilton was quickly on the pace.

The current championship leader recorded a best time of 1:33.572secs on a track that has reverted back to its 2004-2009 configuration in the wake of a failed experiment in 2010 when it was lengthened.

In his McLaren, the 27-year-old finished 0.305secs ahead of reigning world champion Vettel, with Paul di Resta third for Force India.

The Scot, however, did apparently run on the softer option tyre, compared to the harder medium compound used by those around him, with team-mate Nico Hulkenberg doing similar and winding up sixth.

The duo finished 0.578secs and 0.77secs behind Hamilton, with Rosberg fourth in the morning and Button fifth.

Di Resta and Hulkenberg did not take part in the second practice session, however.

Deputy team principal Bob Fernley decided it would be safer for his staff to leave the track in the comfort of daylight rather than risk returning to their hotel in the dark.

The decision comes in the wake of four team members being caught up in a petrol-bomb incident en route to Manama from the Bahrain International Circuit on Wednesday.

It means all team members will now leave the track and be back in their hotel before it gets dark, when a number of violent protests are again expected to take place across the Gulf island.

PA

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