All eyes on Sebastian Vettel in Bahrain Grand Prix

Kimi Raikkonen set the pace in the second practice session under lights, the only running in representative conditions as it took place at the same time as qualifying and the race.

Looking back at Melbourne, Hamilton named the importance of having both cars at the top in the title fight.

Daniel Ricciardo was fifth for Red Bull while his teammate Max Verstappen crashed in the opening part of qualifying, losing the auto under acceleration out of the tight second corner. We found out that the front wheel was a bit loose, so we had to stop.

Ferrari faced an investigation from race stewards after the session for an unsafe release from the pits and were fined 5,000 euros.

He heads into Sunday's race on course to become the first driver since Michael Schumacher in 2004 to open the season with consecutive wins for Ferrari.

"I need a little bit more confidence with the auto, which is not where we want it to be yet", Vettel said.

Sebastian Vettel, victor in Australia and last year in Bahrain, was fifth quickest ahead of last year's pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas who was sixth for Mercedes. "Hopefully, I'll be able to get up at least to where (Daniel) Ricciardo is and then overtaking from then on is going to be very tough".

"When you get to a hot circuit it's really hard to keep the temperatures low in the tyres and that's something they've always been good at".

When asked about why he was confident that Ferrari was using high power modes, he said: "It's quite awesome". "I don't know what happened today".

"We were struggling in Bahrain last season too, but our pace in Australian was not a dream, it was real, so our race pace is better than over one lap, but we need to find out why".

McLaren, meanwhile, will hope to show they have not taken a step back from two points finishes at Albert Park, after Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne qualified 13th and 14th respectively.

The intense competition continued into the midfield as Pierre Gasly continued to be the surprise package of the weekend as the Toro Rosso driver finished as top midfield runner and will start fifth.

If Gasly and Alonso's positions are repeated on Saturday in qualifying, it would be embarrassing for McLaren at the home race for their chief shareholders, the Bahraini sovereign investment fund.

"It would be great to have a good result in Bahrain after such big disappointment in Australia", Magnussen said.

His best lap, set on the second of three sets of tyres as the Sauber drivers and Hartley managed to squeeze in two runs before the red flag, was just 0.006s slower than Sirotkin.

  • Angelo Rivera