Hamilton shines in Bahrain practice

Fri Apr 4, 2014 2:52pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

MANAMA (Reuters) - Lewis Hamilton led Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg in a shimmering one-two in floodlit practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix on Friday.

The 2008 world champion, winner in steamy Malaysia last weekend ahead of championship leader Rosberg, picked up where he left off on the first day of action at the Sakhir desert circuit.

Hamilton was fastest in both sessions with a best time of one minute 34.325 seconds in cooler evening conditions after a 1:37.502 in the afternoon sunshine.

Sunday's race, the 10th held in the restive Gulf kingdom since Bahrain hosted the Middle East's first Formula One grand prix, has moved to a day-to-night format.

With the cars gleaming in the glare of 5,000 bulbs illuminating the track from the newly-installed floodlights, the sleek 'Silver Arrows' stood out as expected pacesetters.

Rosberg's fastest lap, in a session that saw track temperatures drop from 33 degrees Celsius on a bright and breezy afternoon to a balmy 25 after dark, was 0.365 slower than his British team mate.

"It's been a pretty decent day. I've loved driving today, and the car feels better here now than it did when we were here testing, and I've a much better feel of where I need to put the car so I'm very happy with the practice sessions," said Hamilton.

"But it's still going to be tough, particularly with the temperatures dropping all the time, so the balance is shifting throughout the run. So it's still going to be a real challenge."   Continued...

Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain drives out of the pits during the second practice session of the Australian F1 Grand Prix at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne March 14, 2014. REUTERS/Brandon Malone