Bahrain GP: Kimi Raikkonen fastest in second practice for Lotus
Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen headed the Red Bulls and Fernando Alonso's Ferrari in second practice at the Bahrain GP.
The Finn was 0.03 seconds clear of Red Bull's Mark Webber at the head of a tightly packed field, with the second Red Bull of world champion Sebastian Vettel third.
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was fourth, just 0.156secs behind Raikkonen and ahead of Force India's Paul di Resta.
The Scot edged Alonso's team-mate Felipe Massa into sixth place.
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton was 10th fastest, two places and 0.31secs behind team-mate Nico Rosberg, with McLaren's Jenson Button in 11th.
The race simulations runs later in the session suggested Ferrari and Lotus may be the strongest teams on Sunday, with the Red Bulls their main competition.
Raikkonen was marginally faster than Massa, who was a similar distance ahead of Vettel when comparing their equivalent race-simulation runs on 'medium' tyres at the same time.
Alonso's pace on the 'hard' and 'medium' tyres on his race-simulation runs was extremely impressive, but he ran the tyres at different times from his rivals when the circuit would be in a different condition, so it is harder to draw conclusions.
The Force Indias also look as if they will be in contention for a significant points finish, with strong pace on both low fuel and high fuel.
Webber set the fastest time on the 'hard' tyre on a race run and Alonso the fastest on the 'medium', while Raikkonen did an impressively long run on the 'medium' to see how long it would last before it wore out.
"It will be very close in qualifying. It matters a lot to work with the tyres around the track," said Vettel.
"I wasn't very happy with the short runs I did today. I seemed to struggle to put the lap together to be honest. The tyres seemed to be the dominating factor. After 10, 12, 14, 15 laps the tyres started to fall apart and people really started to struggle with the rear tyres.
"The car is quick. We have to make sure we use that. the speed of the car can only be shown if you translate it the proper way through the tyres."
Williams development driver Susie Wolff, acting as BBC 5 live summariser, said: "We see the top four teams showing the best and Force India quite close. McLaren are a good bit off. So similar people in the top 10 to the last three races and the race between Ferrari, Red Bull and Lotus."
BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson said: "I wouldn't think Susie is too far wrong, there. But I think the Lotus has got that little edge on Ferrari.
"They seem to be able to drive the car that little bit longer. But I think the battle at the front will be pretty heavy going. Red Bull are still in the mix, though."
During the first session, governing body the FIA issued a joint statement with the sport's commercial arm Formula 1 Management (FOM) to say that they believed the race "should go ahead" despite ongoing civil unrest in the Gulf state.
Both sessions were relatively uneventful, with very few off-track incidents.
1. Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Lotus 1min 34.154secs
2. Mark Webber (Aus) Red Bull 1:34.184
3. Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Red Bull 1:34.282
4. Fernando Alonso (Spa) Ferrari 1:34.310
5. Paul di Resta (GB) Force India 1:34.543
6. Felipe Massa (Brz) Ferrari 1:34.552
7. Romain Grosjean (Fra) Lotus 1:34.631
8. Nico Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes 1:34.666
9. Adrian Sutil (Ger) Force India 1:34.932
10. Lewis Hamilton (GB) Mercedes 1:34.976
11. Jenson Button (GB) McLaren 1:35.356
12. Jean-Eric Vergne (Fra) Toro Rosso 1:35.506
13. Sergio Perez (Mex) McLaren 1:35.589
14. Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Toro Rosso 1:35.761
15. Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Sauber 1:36.133
16. Pastor Maldonado (Ven) Williams 1:36.279
17. Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Williams 1:36.579
18. Esteban Gutierrez (Mex) Sauber 1:36.616
19. Charles Pic (Fra) Caterham 1:37.061
20. Max Chilton (GB) Marussia 1:37.313
21. Jules Bianchi (Fra) Marussia 1:37.363
22. Giedo van der Garde (Ned) Caterham 1:37.970
Bahrain Grand Prix, day three
- Sunday, 21 April:
- Race: 13:00 BST, on 5 live and live text commentary online. Race highlights: 17:00 BST, BBC One