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"Yesterday our race pace didn't look bad in second practice but it wasn't as good as it was in FP1 or what it is now so it is encouraging to know that I believe our auto will be better than it was yesterday".

Kimi Raikkonen has topped the leaderboard ahead of Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel in the second practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

But Lewis Hamilton's hopes of victory on Sunday have taken a major dent after he was hit with a five-place grid penalty.

It all leads up to Sunday's race, which starts at 4.10pm BST and where Hamilton and Vettel will again expect to lead the pack.

The Australian clocked 1 minute, 31.06 seconds on the 5.4km desert circuit. "Basically we were doing another lap to get the engine to learn a little bit more in order to optimise its settings".

Red Bull Racing's Ricciardo wasn't in the mix during the beginning of the first practice session of the weekend, but in the final 30 minutes set a lap-time of 1m31.060s to go ahead of everyone else.

In a boost for Ferrari, both Mercedes cars were more than half a second slower than the best lap set by Raikkonen.

The Australian was 0.3 seconds quicker than Bottas and 0.4 seconds faster than Raikkonen.

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His time in the Friday afternoon session was not representative of his actual pace, however, as Hamilton locked up in his Mercedes while on his fastest lap before then reporting his tires were "dead".

Verstappen's auto ground to a halt on the final strait, and his humiliation was complete when he had to push the Red Bull - with the help of the martials - back to the garage amid 30 degree heat in the Gulf desert.

It was another blow for Verstappen, who spun his vehicle early into the season-opening Australian GP two weeks ago.

And Verstappen says the reason he was out on track was to try and solve a mapping issue that had been costing him time when trying to run in qualifying specification.

"Not the amount of running I wanted but I think second practice was really decent in the long run", Verstappen said.

In Saturday's qualifying, but it sent with an extra 150 horsepower as Verstappen exited the second area, causing his vehiclersquo;s rear brakes to break grip using the track and also pitch him off.

"I'm always excited for the race".

Vettel won in Melbourne, profiting from an error by Mercedes to finish ahead of Hamilton.


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