Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg topped the timing sheets in the first free practice session of the Bahrain grand prix.
The first ninety minutes of practice for the 2016 Bahrain grand prix took place under natural light as opposed to the rest of the weekend which will be run on the floodlights which line the circuit.
The first of the three free practice session ran without any major incident save for a few drivers locking up their front tyres as they attempt to find the limit of adhesion. With the news that Fernando Alonso is not medically fit to race this weekend came the debut of Belgian driver Stoffel Vandoorne. The highly rated rookie driver finished the first session in 18th place overall.
Sergio Perez also stood aside for fellow countryman Alfonso Celis who piloted the Force India for the practice session. The 19 year old Mexican driver was twenty-first on the timing sheets. Nico Rosberg completed twenty-four laps and set the a quickest time overall of 1:32:294 on the yellow-walled soft tyre. Teammate Lewis Hamilton was second quickest with a 1:32:799.
Ferrari split tyre strategy at the end of the session as Kimi Raikkonen set the third fastest time, a 1:34:128, on the soft tyre while Sebastian Vettel persisted with the medium compound tyre. The German ended the session in eleventh place with a quickest time of 1:35:037.
Red Bull Racing driver Daniel Ricciardo completed twenty-seven laps and set a quickest time of 1:34:461 which was the fourth fastest time overall. Team principal Christian Horner noted that the team might struggle in qualifying trim this weekend but that they have high hopes for Sunday’s race.