Bahrain Grand Prix – Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo set the early pace in Sakhir ahead of Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.
With the top three teams – Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull – all choosing to set times on the soft-compound tyre, Ricciardo registered a lap time of 1:31.060 to top the opening session.
The Australian rose to the top of the time sheets in the final twenty minutes of the session to overhaul Bottas’ early effort by three tenths of a second.
Ferrari were hot on the heels of the Mercedes driver; Raikkonen’s best lap was within one tenth of a second of his fellow countryman.
The early championship leader, Sebastian Vettel, finished a few thousandths of a second short of Raikkonen’s effort.
Lewis Hamilton was unable to register a time close enough to Ricciardo’s effort. The Mercedes driver locked-up at turn ten on his first timed run, with the resulting flat-spot preventing a second timed lap.
Romain Grosjean was the first of the super-soft tyre runners, finishing sixth-fastest in the Haas.
Pierre Gasly was the surprise of the session; he registered the seventh-fastest time – as well as the fastest speed trap figure – on the soft tyres and in the Honda-powered Toro Rosso.
Renault’s Carlos Sainz, Haas’ Kevin Magussen and the second Renault of Nico Hulkenberg completed the top ten.
Max Verstappen’s opening practice session got off to a problematic start when his Red Bull encountered a electronics-related power unit issue in the opening minutes of the session.
With the issue occurring towards the end of the lap, the Dutchman’s car ground to halt at the start of the start-finish straight and he was forced to push his car – with the aid of the marshals – into the pit lane in an attempt to continue his session.
The dusty track conditions caught out a couple of drivers. Most notably there were spins for Williams’ Lance Stroll and Sauber’s Charles Leclerc at turn seven.
Both drivers lost the rear-end of their cars but made use of the generous run-off areas to regain control and recover to the pit lane.
With the unique way in which the Bahrain Grand Prix is scheduled – where both qualifying and the race take place in day-to-night conditions – there is increased importance on second free practice, which is the only practice session to take place in the same dusk conditions.
To view the results of the session, click here.