Bahrain GP qualifying as it happened

Text and video highlights of qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix, where Nico Rosberg has taken pole position.

5 April 2014 Last updated at 12:31

Get involved

To get involved contact us in any of the following ways

  • Send us a text: 81111
  • Twitter:#bbcf1

As it happened

  1. 17:55: 
    Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg

    It's so close between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton this year. They have one race win apiece in 2014 while Hamilton has two poles to Rosberg's one.

    However, crucially Rosberg holds a 18-point lead over Hamilton in the drivers' standings after Hamilton retired in Australia.

    Rosberg came out on top in qualifying today, but who will take the spoils when the points are on offer on race day?

    Join me tomorrow from 15:00 BST to begin building up to the 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix. Lights go out at 16:00. Until then, it's goodbye from me.

  2. 17:49: 

    Also, check out the BBC Sport Facebook page for all the best images from final practice and qualifying.

  3. 17:46: 

    Here's Andrew Benson's qualifying report. Keep an eye on the website for video highlights of the session. They'll also be highlights on BBC Two at 21:00 BST.

  4. 17:41: 

    Sergio Perez, in the Mercedes-powered Force India, is well-placed if fifth, which will become fourth, as the Mexican looked strong in terms of race pace in practice. That podium is very much within grasp for him too.

  5. 17:37: 

    It was a good effort from Valtteri Bottas, who equalled his best grid slot of third with a fine drive in qualifying. (He'll move up a place from fourth once Daniel Ricciardo's penalty is applied). The last time the Finn was P3 was in last year's Canadian Grand Prix. But that was in the wet - this time Bottas has a really good chance of finishing on the podium.

  6. 17:31: 

    Fernando Alonso, who will start ninth: "Not an easy qualifying - we were losing power and the car seemed slower on the straights. I did a 1min 34.5 in Q2 and a 1min 34.9 in Q3 with less fuel, so we need to check what's happening - maybe the floor is damaged because we are losing a lot of time on the straights. We are nearly out of the points already in ninth - we have nothing to lose. We know the Mercedes engines are good here and we have a threat from behind from Vettel and Hulkenberg, so it will not be easy."

  7. 17:25: 
    Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Daniel Ricciardo

    Lewis Hamilton dominated all three practice sessions, but it was Nico Rosberg who nailed the lap when it mattered, the German taking his first pole position since last May's Monaco Grand Prix.

    BBC F1 analyst Allan McNish

    "Wow, an exciting qualifying. Tomorrow's battle will be tense, Force India and Williams will be looking for that last podium place. And the inter-team battle for victory swings each session between Hamilton and Rosberg. Not sure which way that will go tomorrow."

    GET INVOLVED- #bbcf1

    Dan: Some of the best eras featured well matched team-mates in dominant cars. Only a dominant driver turns it boring.

    Nat: Did Vettel accidentally get into Webber's, oops, Ricciardo's car?

    Efuwape: Vettel is a good driver but not exceptional. The Red Bull car has been the secret these year. Alas we are seeing how good he is.

    Nico Rosberg

    A final word from Nico Rosberg: "Starting from pole is a great thing but it's a whole different story tomorrow. The challenge waiting us is tyre degradation but I'm confident. I had some good runs yesterday so I'm confident I can stay ahead in tomorrow's race."


    Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, who will start 13th: "Really pleased with the performance. At moment it's the best anyone else can do behind the two guys alongside me. Still got ground to make up, but I'm pleased with how well qualifying went tonight.

    "It's been tricky with the temperature dropping a lot for the evening sessions - as you saw in P3 we were a long way off and we turned it around this evening - it's nice to close the gap. Tomorrow of course I don't stay at the front from here, so there's work to do. We've got top guys in the office back there to get me back up there. It's close between two and three stops and a bit of room to get back from there."


    Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton, who qualified second: "I am not disappointed, congratulations to Nico and he has done a great job this weekend, he is improving and picking up the pace. I locked up in the last lap but generally I am happy for the team."

    Nico Rosberg

    Mercedes' Nico Rosberg, who starts on pole: "It has just worked well through the weekend, finding my way, making progress and getting through some issues. The challenge this weekend is that free practice were in such hot conditions, and you have to guess, sort of, for the cold conditions [for qualifying]. It worked out well. I felt comfortable and got my laps together. I'm very happy. I have good memories of this track, winning the GP2 championship and starting my first race in F1. I enjoy coming here and again today, it's suited me."

  14. 17:10: 

    It's time to hear from the top three drivers...

  15. 17:08: 

    Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo pose for the top three photo. Rosberg is beaming, while Hamilton struggles to raise a smile. He knows that pole was the one that got away.

  16. 17:07: 

    1) Rosberg 2) Hamilton 3) Ricciardo 4) Bottas 5) Perez 6) Raikkonen 7) Button 8) Massa 9) Magnussen 10) Alonso

    11) Vettel 12) Hulkenberg 13) Kvyat 14) Vergne 15) Gutierrez 16) Grosjean

    17) Pastor Maldonado 18) Adrian Sutil 19) Kamui Kobayashi 20) Jules Bianchi 21) Max Chilton 22) Marcus Ericsson

  17. 17:06: 

    Kimi Raikkonen outperforms Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso, qualifying sixth, six tenths clear of the Spaniard.

  18. 17:05: 

    Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo stars once more in qualifying, but he'll start 13th, not third, as a result of a penalty for an unsafe pit release in Malaysia.

  19. 17:04: 
    THE TOP 10

    1) Rosberg 2) Hamilton 3) Ricciardo 4) Bottas 5) Perez 6) Raikkonen 7) Button 8) Massa 9) Magnussen 10) Alonso

  20. 17:03: 
    Bahrain GP

    Nico Rosberg takes pole position for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

  21. 17:02: 

    Lewis Hamilton has backed out of it after making a mistake at Turn One.

  22. 17:01: 

    Good effort from Daniel Ricciardo who goes third fastest, with Valtteri Bottas going fourth. Fernando Alonso can only manage ninth, but he's then bumped down to 10th as Kevin Magnussen slots in above him.

  23. 17:00: 

    The chequered flag is out, but all 10 drivers are still on laps. Watch this space.

  24. 16:57: 
    Bahrian GP

    So out comes Kimi Raikkonen, who has decided to do just the one run in the Ferrari. Can Lewis Hamilton respond to Mercedes' team-mate Nico Rosberg? Will Felipe Massa be able to overhaul Williams team-mate Valtteri Bottas?

  25. 16:56: 

    So after the initial runs, Nico Rosberg heads Lewis Hamilton with Valtteri Bottas third and Sergio Perez a very impressive fourth.

    Felipe Massa is fifth, Jenson Button sixth and Daniel Ricciardo seventh. Kevin Magnussen is eighth and Fernando Alonso ninth. Kimi Raikkonen has yet to set a time.

  26. 16:55: 

    Nico Rosberg goes quickest with a 1:33.185 in the Mercedes, with Lewis Hamilton slotting into second, 0.279 seconds off the pace. Williams' Valtteri Bottas in third is one second slower than Rosberg.

  27. 16:54: 

    Valtteri Bottas lays down a marker, the Williams clocking a 1:34.247. The Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg will have no trouble beating that...

  28. 16:53: 

    Everyone apart from Kimi Raikkonen is out on track with just under eight minutes remaining.

  29. 16:52: 

    Sebastian Vettel, who qualified 11th: "They [Mercedes] are out of reach - this track suits them here. Hopefully we can do a good job at the moment and rescue some points this weekend. Things are going on in the background which haven't helped and we haven't done many laps here. You can have days where it's quite tight to get into Q3."

  30. 16:51: 

    Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa are the first two cars out on track...

  31. 16:50: 

    Nico Hulkenberg, who qualified 12th: "The lap wasn't good enough. There's a bit of a nasty tailwind, but I just got it up on kerb, which is probably where I lost it."

  32. 16:49: 

    Ten drivers, one pole position. Let the battle begin...

    BBC Radio 5 live commentator James Allen

    "Vettel has got a face like thunder."

  34. 16:46: 

    Daniel Ricciardo continues to impress at Red Bull, the Australian finishing third fastest, four tenths ahead of his more decorated team-mate Sebastian Vettel. The Australian will however start 10-places further back from wherever he qualifies following a penalty for an unsafe pit release in Malaysia.

  35. 16:45: 

    Shock to see Nico Hulkenberg, who was quickest in the first part of qualifying, get the boot. He was four tenths slower than Force India team-mate Sergio Perez, who did make it through to Q3.

  36. 16:44: 

    1) Rosberg 2) Hamilton 3) Ricciardo 4) Button 5) Alonso 6) Perez 7) Bottas 8) Massa 9) Magnussen 10) Raikkonen

  37. 16:43: 

    11) Vettel 12) Hulkenberg 13) Kvyat 14) Vergne 15) Gutierrez 16) Grosjean

  38. 16:42: 

    Nico Rosberg finishes fastest in the second part of qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

  39. 16:41: 

    Sebastian Vettel is out of qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix. "The downshifts were really bad," he says on team radio. The German pulls into the pit lane without completing his final lap. Oh dear.


    Hannah: I think Hamilton will get pole again but Rosberg is sure to fight for it, Mercedes are that far ahead of everyone else.

    Dan: Some of the best eras featured well matched team-mates in dominant cars. Only a dominant driver turns it boring.

    Conrad: I know there is lots of money in #BahrainGP but this circuit has no life or energy

  41. 16:40: 

    Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa set the same lap time to go seventh and eighth respectively, 1.134 seconds off the pace. The Williams driver so so evenly matched.

  42. 16:39: 

    Sebastian Vettel goes eighth quickest. Only the top 10 go through. He's under pressure but he has got enough time for a second lap.

  43. 16:37: 

    Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel heads out for the first time in this session. Both Williams went out on the medium tyres for their first run. They've just pitted and are back out there on the softs. That team is oozing confidence right now.

  44. 16:36: 

    Lewis Hamilton looks very relaxed. He briefly climbs out of his car to stretch his legs, but is now getting back in ahead of Q3. The Briton doesn't need to head out again in this session, such is the advantage of the Mercedes. Three minutes remain.

  45. 16:35: 

    Good effort from Jenson Button who goes fourth, one second off the pace. Fernando Alonso is fifth with Kevin Magnussen sixth.

  46. 16:34: 

    Sergio Perez, Valtteri Bottas, Jean-Eric Vergne and Esteban Gutierrez are in the drop zone along with Romain Grosjean and Sebastian Vettel who haven't been out yet.

  47. 16:32: 

    Nico Rosberg gets the better of his Mercedes team-mate for a change this weekend as he goes fastest by 0.164 seconds.

  48. 16:31: 

    Lewis Hamilton, with soft tyres fitted to his Mercedes, goes quickest with an impressive 1:33.872, 0.720 seconds quicker than Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo. Fernando Alonso goes third with Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen fourth.

  49. 16:30: 

    Nico Hulkenberg goes quickest with a 1:35.682 in the Force India, with Felipe Massa going second and Sergio Perez third.

  50. 16:29: 

    Lewis Hamilton is reminded that the tyres he sets his fastest time on in this session are the ones he'll start tomorrow's race on. That's part of the new rules for this season as drivers will get an extra set for use in Q3 only to encourage everyone to set a lap.

  51. 16:28: 

    It's time for Q2. Six more drivers will get knocked out after this session...

  52. 16:25: 

    1) Hulkenberg 2) Bottas 3) Perez 4) Massa 5) Raikkonen 6) Alonso 7) Magnussen 8) Hamilton 9) Kvyat 10) Rosberg 11) Vettel 12) Button 13) Vergne 14) Ricciardo 15) Gutierrez 16) Grosjean

  53. 16:23: 
    Sebastian Vettel

    Here's the video of world champion Sebastian Vettel spinning off at Turn Two in the final practice session, leaving him without any further running before qualifying. Will he struggle as a result?

  54. 16:21: 

    Romain Grosjean just pipped Lotus team-mate Pastor Maldonado on his final lap. Replays show the Frenchman was badly held up by Adrian Sutil, with the pair almost colliding when they went side-by-side.

  55. 16:20: 

    17) Pastor Maldonado 18) Adrian Sutil 19) Kamui Kobayashi 20) Jules Bianchi 21) Max Chilton 22) Marcus Ericsson

  56. 16:19: 

    Nico Hulkenberg finishes fastest in the first part of qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

  57. 16:18: 

    Kevin Magnussen, Kamui Kobayashi, Jules Bianchi, Max Chilton, Pastor Maldonado and Marcus Ericsson are currently in the drop zone.

  58. 16:17: 

    Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel goes seventh on the soft tyres. He's more than six tenths slower than the Mercedes, who did their lap on the mediums.

  59. 16:16: 

    Nico Hulkenberg takes over at the top of the charts in the Force India, with his team-mate Sergio Perez going third and Williams' Felipe Massa fourth. Jenson Button can only manage seventh in the McLaren.

  60. 16:15: 

    Valtteri Bottas clocks a 1:34.394 to go quickest. That will comfortably see him through to Q2, but he had to use a set of soft tyres.

    BBC F1 analyst Allan McNish

    "This is the first dry qualifying of the season, so this is the first time we will see everyone's true raw pace."

  62. 16:11: 

    It's pretty quiet out on track as the drivers head back for a new set of boots. It looks like everyone apart from the Mercedes will have have to try the soft tyre on for size.


    Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat: "I'm struggling with front [wheel] locking."

  64. 16:08: 

    Nico Rosberg clocks a 1:35.4 to go quickest, but he's bumped down to second as Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton edges him by a tenth. That's been the story of the weekend for the pair. Those times were set on the medium tyre. It should see them through and means they won't have to use a set of softs yet.

  65. 16:06: 

    Daniel Ricciardo goes quickest, the Red Bull driver clocking a 1:36.686, two tenths quicker than Nico Hulkenberg.

  66. 16:05: 

    Nico Hulkenberg is the early pace-setter, the Force India driver clocking a 1:36.883, six tenths quicker than Romain Grosjean in the Lotus.

  67. 16:03:  
    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    The BBC Radio 5 live team are live on sports extra, with James Allen in the commentary box alongside Allan McNish. Jennie Gow is in the pit lane.

  68. 16:00: 

    The first part of qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix is up and running. The session will last 18 minutes and see the six slowest drivers knocked out.

  69. 15:59: 

    Track temperatures have dropped down to 29C, with air temps hovering around 24C. A very pleasant evening in Bahrain, then.

  70. 15:57: 

    We've got the medium and soft tyres in action this weekend, with the difference between the two compounds well over a second. Expect to see the softer tyre in use for most of this session.

  71. 15:55: 

    To give you an idea of the size of Bahrain, which is 92% desert, it would fit into the space occupied by the Chinese city of Shanghai not once, but eight times.

  72. 15:53: 

    As Great Britain and Italy continue to thrash it out in their Davis Cup doubles match, our audio commentary of qualifying will start online, via a link at the top right of this page, at 15:55 BST. It will then switch to BBC Radio 5 live sports extra.

  73. 15:48: 

    It's Nico Rosberg's 150th grand prix start this weekend. The German, who started on pole position in Bahrain last year, currently leads the championship with 43 points, 18 clear of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton after winning the season-opener in Australia and finishing runner up in Malaysia.

    He made his debut for Williams in 2006, before joining Mercedes for 2010 as team-mate to Michael Schumacher.

    Bahrain Grand Prix circuit

    Mercedes: Stunning golden sunset here.

  75. 15:42: 
    Jarno Trulli

    Let's not forget that Bahrain has thrown up some quirky grids. For example in 2009 Toyota managed to lock-out the front row with Jarno Trulli taking pole ahead of Timo Glock while in 2008, BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica started on P1.

  76. 15:37: 
    GET INVOLVED- #bbcf1

    Who is your tip for pole? Will Lewis Hamilton make it three out off three? Can Nico Rosberg take his second successive pole in Bahrain? Can Force India or Williams spring a surprise?

    Tweet @bbcf1 using the #bbcf1 hashtag or text 81111 (UK only), remembering to put your name on those messages.

  77. 15:34: 

    If Lewis Hamilton takes pole position in Bahrain, he will move clear of Jim Clark in the British all-time pole list with 34 poles. It will also be his 60th front row start of his career.

  78. 15:30: 
    Sebastian Vettel

    Sebastian Vettel wasn't having the best of times in final practice earlier today, the reigning world champion pitching his Red Bull into a spin and coming to a stop in the gravel trap.

  79. 15:26: 
    Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen

    Ferrari have now gone 16 races without a win, their worst drought since 1995-96 when they failed to win for 17 grands prix. However, they do hold the point-scoring record streak, which began at the 2010 German Grand Prix and continues.

    It's now up to 69 races. Remarkably, at least one Ferrari has been a classified finisher in every race since the 2006 Australian Grand Prix, which took place EIGHT years ago this week.

  80. 15:21: 

    Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was the best-placed non-Mercedes-powered car in third practice in seventh, 1.13 seconds off the Mercedes pace.

    "We are not in the best position we wanted," said Alonso, who finished runner-up to Vettel in the championship three times in the last four years and last won a title in 2006. "I would like to be in race three with some podiums and victories; we were not able to do so.

    "We need to raise our game, even if this weekend we know it is going to be difficult. The characteristics of the circuit are probably not in our favour with traction corners and top speed so we expect tough competition with Mercedes, McLaren, Williams, which was super-strong in winter testing."

  81. 15:16: 

    Fast fact: The word Bahrain is taken from the Arabic meaning "two seas", a reference to the freshwater springs that can be found in the region of salt water off the Persian Gulf.

    Nico Rosberg

    Nico Rosberg on Instagram: "Thumps up if you cross fingers for this kid this weekend!! - Posted by Team Nico."

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Bahrain:

    "As the sun sets in the Sakhir paddock, talk continues to centre on the ongoing discussions about the future of F1. Red Bull want the fuel-flow restriction at the centre of the new formula ditched. Ferrari sort of agree, but mainly want the races to be shorter because they have a consumption - or power-per-unit-of-fuel - deficit to their rivals.

    Mercedes reject both arguments, insisting that efficiency is the right direction to go in, and it's vital to all the road-car manufacturers involved in F1. And we're told that FIA president Jean Todt agrees that the fuel-flow restriction must stay. So nothing is likely to change on that because unanimity is needed to change the rules.

    "What Mercedes do agree on is that the engines need to be louder. Non-executive chairman Niki Lauda says that of course they will sound different, as they are turbos, but hearing the GP2 cars on the same ticket as F1 this weekend he has realised they are louder, and says that for the audience noise equals power, even if in reality that is not the case. So the engineers will work on doing something with the exhausts to increase the noise level, but that will take considerable time."

  84. 15:13: 
    Daniel Ricciardo

    This will be the first Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying session to take place at night, with organisers installing 495 floodlights, ranging in height from 10-45m, along with 500km of cabling for the 10th anniversary of the grand prix. The race, which starts at 16:00 BST tomorrow, will also take place three minutes after sunset.

  85. 15:10:  
    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    We'll have audio commentary from the BBC Radio 5 live team from 15:55 BST on sports extra. If the Davis Cup tennis runs over, it'll start online and then move to sports extra following the conclusion of the tennis. I'll keep you updated on the state of play.

  86. 15:06: 
    Bahrain Grand Prix

    Qualifying starts at 16:00 BST and will last an hour. Q1 will last 18 minutes and see the six slowest cars knocked out. Q2 is 15 minutes and will see another six given the boot. That leaves 10 to fight it out for pole in a 12-minute shootout.

  87. 15:03: 

    Good afternoon all! What a day of sport we have in store. Great Britain's quest for a Davis Cup semi-final place is ticking along nicely, while the Grand National is a little over an hour away. The Premier League is also up and running while Munster are taking on Toulouse in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals. But this live text is only interested in one sport - Formula 1 and the qualifying session for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

  88. 15:00: 

    Only one man has started on pole position so far this season. He goes by the name of Lewis Hamilton.

    Judging by his performance in Bahrain, it looks like it'll be pole number three in just over two hours.

    At this rate, he'll have the new shiny Pole Position trophy - for the most poles in a single season - in the cabinet before Hungary in July....

  89. 14:20: 
    Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg

    The battle for pole position: Lewis Hamilton v Nico Rosberg. Who will win? Meet me back here at 15:00 BST to find out. Qualifying hour starts at 16:00.

  90. 14:15: 

    Here's Andrew Benson's developing third practice report. Mercedes and anyone with a Mercedes engine will be pretty happy going into qualifying. Everyone else will have to battle over whatever is left over.

  91. 14:10: 

    We can't read too much into the fact Sebastian Vettel finished 21st of 22 as the German didn't do a soft tyre qualifying-simulation run. That'll put him on the back foot for qualifying, though.

    BBC Radio 5 live pit-lane reporter Jennie Gow
    Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull

    "Vettel's car comes back after a spin."

  93. 14:06: 

    Eight of the top 11 are powered by a Mercedes engine. Fernando Alonso is the best-placed non-Mercedes-powered car in seventh, 1.1 seconds off the ultimate pace.

    BBC F1 analyst Allan McNish

    "The battle behind Mercedes is going to be fantastic. It'll be very close in qualifying and the race. Who is going to get pole? That's going to be a big psychological fight between Lewis and Nico."

  95. 14:03: 

    1) Hamilton 2) Rosberg 3) Perez 4) Bottas 5) Massa 6) Button 7) Alonso 8) Hulkenberg 9) Kvyat 10) Raikkonen 11) Magnussen

    12) Vergne 13) Ricciardo 14) Gutierrez 15) Sutil 16) Kobayashi 17) Bianchi 18) Maldonado 19) Ericsson 2) Grosjean 21) Vettel 22) Chilton

  96. 14:00: 

    Lewis Hamilton finishes fastest in third and final practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

  97. 13:58: 

    Valtteri Bottas goes fourth in the Williams, 0.792 seconds off the pace, with his team-mate Felipe Massa slotting into fifth. That makes it a Mercedes-powered 1-2-3-4-5-6.

  98. 13:56: 

    Good effort from Sergio Perez who goes third, just 0.544 seconds off the pace in the Force India. It's also a good lap from Marussia's Jules Bianchi who goes 16th quickest, 3.4 seconds off the pace.

  99. 13:55: 

    Kimi Raikkonen goes fifth fastest in the Ferrari, 1.4 seconds off the pace. The Finn is then bumped down a place as his team-mate Fernando Alonso goes fourth, three tenths quicker.

  100. 13:54: 

    McLaren CEO Ron Dennis, who is not wearing team gear, has a pair of headphones on and is patrolling the McLaren garage with his arms behind his back. That'll keep the team on their toes.

    GET INVOLVED- #bbcf1

    Adi: Watching from the oil fields in Alberta Canada. Love this sport. Thank goodness for the internet.

    Siraaj: An even bigger problem than the engine sound is Mercedes dominance, don't mind them winning but the gap to the rest is ridiculous.

    Rian: Despite Rosberg getting pole last year, Hamilton has to be favourite today while he should take the most pole positions this season.

  102. 13:51: 

    Nico Hulkenberg goes third quickest in the Force India, 1.1 seconds slower than Lewis Hamilton's best in the Mercedes.

  103. 13:50: 

    Sebastian Vettel has made it back to the paddock and is making his way to the Red Bull hospitality unit. He's got his helmet off, but he doesn't look like he's in the mood to chat.

  104. 13:49: 

    Nico Rosberg bolts on the soft tyres and extends his lead at the top of the timesheets, but he's demoted within a few seconds as his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton clocks a 1:35.324 to pip him by a tenth of a second. Hamilton has one hand on pole position.

    BBC Radio 5 live pit-lane reporter Jennie Gow
    Red Bull

    "Bare front wing for Red Bull."

  106. 13:42: 

    "That spin for Vettel is even worse than it looks for him," says BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Tom Clarkson. "I don't think he will be able to rely on his team-mate for set-up for qualifying as Ricciardo will set it up for race because he has a 10-place grid penalty. So Vettel will be going into qualifying blind."

  107. 13:40: 

    There's hardly any gravel on this gravel, but reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel has managed to find it. "I spun on the exit of Turn Two and the engine went off immediately," says the German.

  108. 13:38: 

    We've got someone in the gravel. It's Sebastian Vettel!

  109. 13:36: 

    It's so close behind the Williams drivers, with Felipe Massa going fourth, just 0.01 seconds behind team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

  110. 13:35: 

    It's a first appearance for Williams, with Valtteri Bottas clocking a 1:38.124 to go third, nine tenths off the pace.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Bahrain:

    "During Friday practice we explained why the Mercedes car is so fast, because of a clever layout of the engine, with the compressor at the front and the turbine at the back, which reduces throttle lag, improves weight and packaging and frees up the electrical parts of the power unit to produce more power at the wheels.

    We have a bit more info now on the detail behind that. The key is the better airflow into the compressor, because the air has less far to travel from the inlet. Less pressure loss at the compressor leads to more power than is available from the Ferrari and Renault engines. The interesting thing is that apparently the idea initially came from the chassis team, aware of the potential packaging, weight and weight distribution advantages of splitting the turbine and compressor. The engine team realised it was an enormous technical challenge and were not initially sure whether they could pull it off. But they have, and the results are spectacular."


    Lotus' Romain Grosjean: "I have absolutely no grip - all four corners [of the car]. I don't know if it's too cold or what's going on."

  113. 13:30: 

    Nico Rosberg goes quickest, just under a tenth quicker than Mercedes' team-mate Lewis Hamilton. Both drivers set their quickest laps on the medium tyres.

    Felipe Massa

    Williams: #Massa climbs in ready to head out for his first run of #FP3.

  115. 13:28: 

    McLaren's Jenson Button goes second with his first timed lap, but he's 0.957 seconds slower than Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton.

  116. 13:26: 

    Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton makes his first appearance in this session and immediately goes quickest with a 1:37.340, 1.3 seconds quicker than anyone else.

  117. 13:25: 
    Valtteri Bottas

    Williams have been very impressive so far this season, with Valtteri Bottas scoring more points in the first race alone than the Grove-based team managed in total last season.

    They brought both cars home in the points last time out in Malaysia and believe they have the pace for a podium in Bahrain. Based on that form, they should be able to improve on their record of just two points in Bahrain since 2006.

  118. 13:22: 

    Still no sign of the Williams or the McLaren of Jenson Button. The other McLaren of Kevin Magnussen has been out and about, the Dane clocking the fifth fastest time, nine tenths slower than pace-setter Daniil Kvyat.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Bahrain:
    Jenson Button

    "Two races and two practice sessions down, and things are not looking great for McLaren. The once-great team are in danger of being the least-competitive of the Mercedes teams, and here Jenson Button has complained that 'fuel consumption is tough for everyone, but especially us for some reason'.

    The team have admitted the car lacks downforce, but Button's comments suggest it also has too much drag - which is really not a good combination. Despite the protestations that they have made progress, this year's chassis does not look any better than last year's one, which was the worst McLaren car for more than 30 years."

  120. 13:17: 

    Daniil Kvyat is our current pace-setter, the Russian clocking a 1:38.666 in the Toro Rosso. Kimi Raikkonen is second, three tenths off the pace, with his Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso third.

    The Ferraris looked pretty good in second practice, which took place in cooler conditions under the floodlights. The Italian team look to have improved their single-lap pace compared to last year and should play a key part in qualifying.

    GET INVOLVED- #bbcf1

    Ben: Good Morning from Dunedin, New Zealand! It's 1am at the moment and qualifying's on at 3am for us. We do love it though!

    August: The good reliability makes F1 predictable. I miss the times of when there might be over 10 mechanical retirements in a race.

    Michael: Poor ickle Red Bull, not winning anymore so they complain about everything. Definitely sour grapes and if they leave, good riddance!


    Lotus' Romain Grosjean: "I don't have any front grip."

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Bahrain:

    "The news that Michael Schumacher is showing 'moments of consciousness' as he continues to be in an induced coma following his skiing accident more than three months ago was greeted with delight in the F1 paddock in Bahrain.

    Sebastian Vettel, to whom the seven-time champion is close, said: 'I'm always a bit careful with second-hand information. I haven't heard it from his management directly yet but for sure it's very good to hear it's going in the right direction. But there's still a long process ahead of him. We need to be careful but we wish the best to him and his family and appreciate the good news.'"

  124. 13:12: 

    Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean have popped out in their Lotuses, along with the Caterhams of Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson. The big guns are staying put in their garages for now.

    As Williams tweeted earlier, there's not much to be gained from these conditions because qualifying and the race takes place in cooler conditions under floodlights.

    But considering Lotus' lack of running in pre-season testing and in the early races, any running is important running for the Enstone-based team. They need to understand the car and learn how to develop it.

  125. 13:09: 

    Adrian Sutil clocks a 1:44.515 to set the first timed lap of the session in the Sauber.


    Williams: Conditions very hot and sunny so not representative of qualifying and race later this evening.

  127. 13:05: 

    Everyone has been out for an installation lap apart from the Williams pairing of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas and McLaren duo Jenson Button, who is taking part in his 250th grand prix weekend, and Kevin Magnussen.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Bahrain:
    Nico Rosberg

    "It's pretty obvious a Mercedes will take pole position under the lights at Sakhir this evening, but which one will it be? Lewis Hamilton has seemed to have the edge on team-mate Nico Rosberg on outright pace so far, but on the race-simulation runs it was the other way around, albeit almost nothing in it, the German edging Hamilton by 0.09secs. But Rosberg also appeared to be in better shape on race pace on Friday in Malaysia last weekend, and look how that turned out."

  129. 13:00: 
    GO! GO! GO!

    Here we go, then. One final hour of practice before qualifying later today.

  130. 12:57: 

    "There are things which can be better," Red Bull boss Christian Horner tells BBC Radio 5 live pit lane reporter Jennie Gow with regards the rules governing Formula 1, after a meeting with Bernie Ecclestone and Niki Lauda. "If you accept everything is fine, you never make progress. Formula 1 needs to be the pinnacle of motorsport."

    On Friday, Red Bull design chief Adrian Newey criticised Formula 1's new rules, saying their merit is "questionable". "Adrian is passionate about the sport," added Horner. "His comments are how he feels."

  131. 12:53: 

    Max Chilton has had the better of Marussia team-mate Jules Bianchi so far this season. While neither has come close to challenging for points, the first battle a driver wants to win is that with his team-mate. Chilton has finished 13th and 15th respectively while Bianchi was not classified in Australia and then failed to finish in Malaysia.

    It also means Chilton's impressive finishing streak is now up to 21 races in a row, although he has been the last classified finisher in both races this year. In second practice on Friday, Chilton was four tenths off the pace of Bianchi.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Bahrain:
    Nico Rosberg

    "The race-simulation runs in Friday second practice threw up some interesting snippets. Force India's Nico Hulkenberg was Mercedes-quick but did only six laps - about half the standard stint. Team-mate Sergio Perez was an average of 0.6secs slower but on a run that was three-times longer - and was still faster than everyone else apart from an anomalous run by Sebastian Vettel late in the session. The Force India will doubtless be in the running for some good points, but those numbers suggest it could conceivably be best of the rest behind Mercedes. "

    Lotus pit stop

    Lotus: Nose change pit stop too. Not sure it's being fitted in the correct place here...

  134. 12:49: 

    James Allen will be in the commentary box for third practice, alongside Allan McNish with Jennie Gow in the pit lane. You'll be able to listen to the trio via the link at the top right of the page from 12:55 BST.

    Williams pit crew

    Williams: Good morning all, or afternoon as it is here. It's hot and clear today in Bahrain.

  136. 12:45: 

    It feels like Mercedes' dominance has simply replaced that of Red Bull. How do you feel about that? And what are your expectations for qualifying later today and the race tomorrow? Tweet us at @bbcf1, using the #bbcf1 hashtag, or text 81111 (UK only). Check out the BBC Sport Facebook page for all the best pictures from the Bahrain Grand Prix, too.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Bahrain:

    "Out on the track, Friday practice at Sakhir had a now-familiar 2014 feel. The Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg led the way, whether on one-lap pace or on a race-simulation run. The car continues to look about a second a lap clear of its rivals, with the Red Bull and Ferrari probably next up, with Force India and Williams likely to make life difficult for Vettel, Alonso and co. 'Mercedes are very quick,' Vettel said. 'It's not a surprise. There is a long way for us to catch up but long term it is important we make bigger steps than them. It's very difficult to know where we are in terms of pace but it is very easy to say we are not with Mercedes.'"

  138. 12:42: 

    The teams most likely to take the title of best of the rest are Williams, who were blistering quick in pre-season testing and looked solid on their long runs in practice, Force India and Ferrari. And of course, you can never count out reigning world champions Red Bull.

  139. 12:40: 
    Lewis Hamilton

    As I mentioned in the opening entry, Mercedes were dominant on Friday, with Lewis Hamilton topping the times in both sessions and his team-mate Nico Rosberg riding shotgun in second. Fernando Alonso was the nearest challenger, but he was one second off the leading pace. It seems pole and the race win will be a battle between the two Mercedes, leaving everyone else to battle for third on the grid and the final podium position on Sunday.

  140. 12:36: 
    Kimi Raikkonen

    We've got one final hour of practice coming up at 13:00 BST, in daylight conditions, before the sun sets and the Sakhir circuit is illuminated courtesy of 495 floodlights for qualifying. The battle for pole position begins at 16:00. That's your afternoon perfectly laid out. Time to settle in.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Bahrain:

    "Through human history, deserts have proved places for contemplation, and the same has been true in F1 this weekend. Whether the thoughts in question are as noble as those of Chatwin, Saint-Exupéry or T.E. Lawrence, though, is another matter, as the sport beats itself up about whether the new rules have been the right way to go. The official Friday news conference of senior team figures was more entertaining than usual as Mercedes' Paddy Lowe, Red Bull's Adrian Newey and Williams's Pat Symonds slugged it out in public.

    "But amid all the arguments about whether the new turbo hybrid engines were the correct direction, or whether it might have been better to have lighter more aerodynamically efficient cars (Newey, unsurprisingly), one comment from Symonds stood out: 'Many people from the UK will remember a guy called Ratner who basically killed his business by negative comments on it. I think we should be positive. We've done something good and we should tell the world about it.'"

  142. 12:33: 

    Hello everybody! Welcome to our live coverage of third and final practice, followed by qualifying, for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

  143. 12:30: 
    Lewis Hamilton

    The Mercedes is "feeling really good". It was not surprising to hear Lewis Hamilton utter those words after topping the times in second practice on Friday. However, it is a hammer blow for his rivals, who have struggled to come close to the 2008 world champion or his team-mate Nico Rosberg in terms of both single lap and race pace.

Share this story

FIA Formula 1 World Championsh 2015

Position Driver Team Pts
1 Great Britain L Hamilton Mercedes 43
2 Germany S Vettel Ferrari 40
3 Germany N Rosberg Mercedes 33
4 Brazil F Massa Williams 20
5 Finland K Raikkonen Ferrari 12
6 Brazil F Nasr Sauber 10
7 Finland V Bottas Williams 10
8 Australia D Ricciardo Red Bull 9
9 Germany N Hulkenberg Force India 6
10 M Verstappen Toro Rosso 6
11 C Sainz Toro Rosso 6
12 Sweden M Ericsson Sauber 4
13 Russia D Kvyat Red Bull 2
14 Mexico S Perez Force India 1
15 France R Grosjean Lotus 0
16 Great Britain J Button McLaren 0
17 R Merhi Manor Marussia F1 0
18 Venezuela P Maldonado Lotus 0
20 Spain F Alonso McLaren 0
21 W Stevens Manor Marussia F1 0


After 60 of 61 laps
Position Driver Team

Race stopped at 60 laps

1 Great Britain L Hamilton Mercedes
2 Germany S Vettel Red Bull
3 Australia D Ricciardo Red Bull
4 Spain F Alonso Ferrari
5 Brazil F Massa Williams
6 France J Vergne Toro Rosso
7 Mexico S Perez Force India
8 Finland K Raikkonen Ferrari
9 Germany N Hulkenberg Force India
10 Denmark K Magnussen McLaren
11 Finland V Bottas Williams
12 Venezuela P Maldonado Lotus
13 France R Grosjean Lotus
14 Russia D Kvyat Toro Rosso
15 Sweden M Ericsson Caterham
16 France J Bianchi Marussia
17 Great Britain M Chilton Marussia
18 Great Britain J Button (ret.) McLaren
19 Germany A Sutil (ret.) Sauber
20 Mexico E Gutierrez (ret.) Sauber
21 Germany N Rosberg (ret.) Mercedes
22 Japan K Kobayashi (ret.) Caterham

Formula1 Tweets