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Summary

  1. Rosberg fastest in second practice, Hamilton 2nd, Raikkonen 3rd
  2. Hamilton, Raikkonen, Vettel & Perez under investigation
  3. Vettel collides with Perez after brake failure
  4. Button breaks down for second time on Friday
  5. Hamilton and Maldonado go off track
  6. Raikkonen fastest in first practice

Live Reporting

By Jamie Strickland

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. How do you like your Sparks?

    Like this?

    BBC

    Or like this?

    Daniel Ricciardo

    If it's the latter, be sure to join us again tomorrow for third free practice and qualifying. We're live on these here pages from 12:30 BST.

    Andrew Benson's FP2 report is now live. We'll also keep you up to speed on any possible punishments for Hamilton or Raikkonen.

    Bye for now, and thanks for your company today.

  2. Final FP2 classification

    Lotus F1
  3. Hamilton's pit lane transgression

    Here's the moment Lewis Hamilton jumped the queue at the end of the red flag period.

    Kimi Raikkonen had done likewise just moments earlier.

    Bahrain GP
  4. EJ is on the box - and pearls do spout forth

    "That kept us on the seats of our toes," says Eddie Jordan in summing up second practice.

    Eddie Jordan
  5. Rosberg ends FP2 on top

    So, even though he finished that session in the pits it is Nico Rosberg who ends FP2 on top with a best time of 1:34.647.

    Team-mate Lewis Hamilton is second just a tenth back, with the Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel third and fourth, half a second in arrears.

    The rest of the top 10 is completed by Bottas, Ricciardo, Maldonado, Nasr, Kvyat and Massa.

  6. Hamilton under investigation

    Lewis Hamilton is under investigation for "failing to leave pit lane correctly" after that red-flag period.

    Kimi Raikkonen will also be investigated for the same offence.

    Replays show both men took a few liberties exiting the pit lane, passing stationary cars ahead.

    Bahrain GP
  7. Chequered flag

  8. One minute to go

    Rosberg leads but he's in pits.

    Can anyone unseat him?

  9. Mercedes team radio

    Engineer to Nico Rosberg: Nico, box, box, box, we see something we don't like on the telemetry.

  10. Green light

    Lewis Hamilton among the cars heading straight out. What can the Mercedes man do in the last five minutes?

  11. Vettel-Perez to be investigated

    The stewards' office has confirmed it will investigate that tangle between Vettel and Perez at the end of FP2.

    Sebastian vettel and Sergio Perez
  12. Ferrari team radio

    Sebastian Vettel: "I had a failure - a brake failure - and then Perez took my wing off. Unbelivable."

    Sebastian Vettel
  13. Red flag

  14. Damage to Vettel's Ferrari

    The German reports a braking problem having just left the pits, and as he limps into the first turn the Force India of Sergio Perez sweeps across him, damaging his front wing and leaving debris on track.

    Sebastian Vettel
  15. Get involved - #F1rivalries

    Prathap Krishnan: The one I miss most from recent times is Alonso and Webber. Good, hard, clean racing... highly understated too.

    Ross Arnold: Schumacher and Hakkinen for me, great drivers, great rivalry, great respect.

    Sam Leaver: It HAS to be Senna v Prost. Out-and-out class v political mastermind.

  16. Flow-viz in Bahrain

    No, not a hip-hop act, but rather a solution which help teams track the behaviour of airflow across a car's bodywork.

    It's normally used in pre-season. The fact it's smeared on the McLaren at the fourth race of the campaign perhaps gives some indication of the trouble the team is in.

    Fernando Alonso
  17. Keep on running

    As Mercedes have indicated below, long runs are very much the order at the moment - both on the soft and medium tyre.

    The soft tyre is proving substantially quicker than the medium in the Bahrain heat and the teams will want to spend as much time as possible on the softer rubber come Sunday.

    Tyre management the key to victory? Where have we heard that before?

    bahrain
  18. Post update

    Mercedes on Twitter: Lots of long runs underway now. ROS on Option on his 10th lap, likewise HAM on Prime. Getting deep into it here at #BahrainGP

  19. Top 10 rundown

    1. Rosberg, 2. Hamilton, 3. Raikkonen, 4. Vettel, 5. Bottas, 6. Ricciardo, 7. Maldonado, 8. Nasr, 9. Kvyat, 10. Massa.

  20. Use the run off, Pastor

    That random Star Wars reference of a few moments ago reminds me of an amusing tweet doing the rounds today, in which some wag has taken a still from the new Force Unleashed film and mashed it up with our favourite Venezuelan F1 pilot.

    Maldonado
  21. Mercedes team radio

    Lewis Hamilton: "Rears are sliding around."

  22. 'Anomaly in the engine data' stopped Button

    Tom Clarkson

    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter

    "Poor Jenson Button. (McLaren) noticed an anomaly in the engine data so they asked him to stop the car. At least they could be proactive in the stoppage, whereas this morning the engine just cut out."

    Happy to report that Button's car is fixed again and he's just completed a quick recce lap. In the words of Han Solo: "Baby, hold together."

  23. Post update

    McLaren on Twitter: 35 minutes of FP2 to go: Ron is in the house. #BahrainGP #DontMessWithRon

    Ron Dennis

    Certainly not today anyway...

  24. Post update

    Williams on Twitter: Just because Frank's turned 73 doesn't mean he's out of touch!

    Frank WIlliams

    Sir Frank celebrated his birthday on Thursday. Truly one of F1's legendary figures.

  25. Post update

    Manor F1 on Twitter: Will I am sets sail on Yellow rubber.

    Manor

    That's soft tyres to you and me. Will Stevens is currently 18th, 4.4secs off the ultimate pace. The team is well on target to be inside 107% of pole in qualifying.

  26. Maldonano shows strong pace

    Pastor Maldonado

    Both Lotus drivers have been a bit lairy in this session, but there's pace in that car.

    Pastor Maldonado has done an impressive lap just 0.8s off the best time of Nico Rosberg - and within two tenths of the Williams of Valtteri Bottas and the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel.

  27. Coverage - extra streams

    bahrain

    Don't forget we have extra camera streams available across all sessions this weekend, including Pitlane feed, Driver tracker, On board, Timings screen and alternative commentary.

  28. Mercedes one-two with 50 minutes left

    With their initial soft-tyre runs done it's no surprise to report the Mercedes are now top of the order.

    Nico Rosberg has the benchmark time with a 1:34.647. Team-mate Lewis Hamilton is second, just over a tenth back.

    Next up is the two Ferraris - half a second further back on the same tyre - followed by the Saubers of Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson.

  29. Worrying times for Force India

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer

    "For Force India drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez, the start of this season has been a struggle, and there is no quick end in sight. The team, already on the back foot after introducing their new car with only two days of testing before the start of the season, delivered the bad news last month that a major upgrade package due initially for the next race in Spain will not now appear until Austria in late June at the earliest.

    "Not good news for a team already struggling to stay ahead of the McLaren-Hondas - which will surely improve much more quickly - at the back, with only Manor behind.

    Sergio Perez & Nico Hulkenberg

    "'It's actually quite a difficult situation,' Hulkenberg said. 'We are going to have to wait some time for improvements, so it is a hard time. It's never been like this in my career before. Of course I'm not where I want to be, but you also have to put things in perspective. There are many drivers who have been in this situation, so how unprofessional would it be if, after one month of the nine, you stick your head in the sand after three races?'

    "It's all quite a change from 12 months ago, when Perez finished on the podium in Bahrain. The Mexican admitted there was no hope of a repeat of that, but he did say the team could realistically hope to score some points."

  30. Get involved - #F1rivalries

    Sam Payne: No rivalry better than Schumi and Hakkinen. Especially in 1998 and 2000. That overtake at spa still the best ever.

    Martin Jones: World champion Alan Jones and Williams teammate Carlos Reutemann were hardly besties in the early 80s! No love lost there!

    Ryan Nurse: Bit of an unconventional one: Perry McCarthy vs. Andrea Sassetti, whose team he drove for in '92. The guy HATED him.

    BBC
    Image caption: Post-F1, Perry McCarthy became the original, black-clad Stig on Top Gear
  31. Ferrari team radio

    Sebastian Vettel: "It was a good lap until the last corner - I messed up."

  32. Soft tyres are on

    Right, times are coming down now after Ferrari bolted on the quicker soft tyres.

    Mercedes have done likewise.

    The current order is Raikkonen, Vettel, Ericsson, Hamilton, Hulkenberg.

  33. Bahrain International Circuit by night

    You can see why they made this a night race...

    Bahrain Grand Prix
  34. Post update

    Lotus on Twitter: Hello birthday boy!

    grosjean
  35. I offer this post with no comment

    Pastor Maldonado has just run wide through the final corner.

  36. Get involved - your F1 Rewind reaction, #bbcf1

    Steven Hayhurst: Amazing to see all the abandoned cars at the side of the track in Adelaide #nosafetycar

    Rich Atkinson: F1 was so much sexier in the '70s!

    J: I'm supposed to be working!

  37. Mercedes team radio

    Nico Rosberg: "I need to change the brightness on my... oh wait I'll do it myself."

    Monitor problems for Rosberg. How Button would kill for something as trifling right now.

  38. Button out again!

    More woe for JB. His McLaren has ground to a halt - just as it did in FP1!

    He looks like a seriously unhappy camper as he extracts himself from the car, which rolls backwards away from him in one final act of petulance.

    Jenson Button
    Jenson Button
  39. Hamilton quickest - and pushing too hard

    After a low-key session this morning, Lewis Hamilton has taken the Mercedes to the top of the order early in FP2.

    A lap of 1:36.759 has him one tenth clear of Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari.

    He's just overcooked it into turn one, running well off track, but he recovers and continues.

  40. Button being readied to go out

    Jenson Button

    Good news for Jenson Button.

    A battery problem has kept him sidelined since the opening minutes of FP1 and a lengthy repair job has just been completed by the boys and girls at McLaren.

    As BBC pit lane reporter Tom Clarkson rightly points out, if Button had to choose a session to miss this season, it would have been FP1 in Bahrain - 90 minutes of track time that bear absolutely no relevance, temperature-wise, to what will play out in the race.

  41. Post update

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer

    Doesn't get much closer than that. 0.001secs between Massa and Bottas on their first laps in P2.

  42. Button update - work still ongoing

    Honda Racing F1 on Twitter: In the garage the McLaren-Honda engineers are working on Jenson Button's car ahead of FP2.

    Honda Button

    Button's car lost power less than two laps into FP1, pitching the Briton into a spin.

  43. Sparks flying

    Ooooh, Felipe Massa's Williams has just thrown up some lovely sparks from its titanium skidblock as he charged down the pit straight.

    This session under lights should be very easy on the eye.

    Felipe Massa
  44. Green light

    The lights are on at the Bahrain International Circuit, the temperature is dropping, and we're off and running in FP2.

    Time to show your hand, Mercedes.

  45. Massa's missed opportunity

    Over on F1 Rewind, Lewis Hamilton has just won the 2008 title in dramatic last-gasp fashion.

    Still can't help but feel for this guy. He drove quite brilliantly all year.

    Felipe Massa
  46. Post update

    Sauber on Twitter: Lights on! We are about to start

    Sauber tweet
  47. Roaming in the gloaming

    Just in case you're wondering how much of Sunday's race will be run in the dark, the answer is pretty much all of it.

    The race is due off at 18:00 local time (16:00 BST) - just three minutes before sunset.

    Bahrain International Circuit at sunset
  48. No cause for alarm at Mercedes

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer

    Nico Rosberg

    "Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton were only 15th and 16th in first practice but there was nothing to be alarmed about.

    "The team decided that, because the daytime temperatures were so unrepresentative of what will be experienced in post-dusk qualifying and race, they would treat it as a test session.

    "Much of their work was devoted to parts for future races. This second session should see a true reflection of Mercedes' competitiveness."

  49. Get involved - #f1rivalries

    Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell, Nelson Piquet

    Here's two famous F1 rivalries rolled into one picture.

    When this picture was taken in 1986, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost on the left were still merely future McLaren team-mates, their intense rivalry - which has since become woven into the very fabric of the sport - still to take root.

    Seated on the right, however, were two men already in a full-blown conflict.

    Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet really did have a hate-hate relationship at Williams. Their bickering would allow Prost to nick in and steal the title from under their noses come the '86 season finale in Adelaide.

    Piquet would take the title in '87 but only after a titanic struggle with Mansell that finally did for their already fractured relationship.

  50. I don't want to lose your company...

    ...but if you love your F1 nostalgia you really need to check out our F1 Rewind programme, which today looks at famous title deciders.

    It's on BBC Two right now or you can navigate to it using the tabs above.

    Suzi Perry and Murray Walker have already taken a look back at the 1976 title decider and are now casting an eye over 1986. They conclude with 2008.

    A mid-1980s-spec Steve Rider urges you to tune in...

  51. Welcome back

    BBC
  52. Bye for now

    It's time for us to sign off for a couple of hours at the end of a session that leaves us no nearer to knowing what the order will be this weekend.

    That said, it's hard to see beyond a Mercedes one-two come qualifying tomorrow, even with their sandbagging in FP1. Expect to see an awful lot more from the Silver Arrows later this afternoon. The question is, will Ferrari be able respond?

    McLaren also continue to intrigue. The car's pace in the hands of Fernando Alonso looked reasonable in that session, but a problem for Jenson Button after just two laps has created yet more headaches for the team.

    What will happen in FP2? Join us from 15:30 BST to find out.

    In the meantime, be sure to watch F1 Rewind on BBC Two at 15:00 BST, where the subject will be famous title deciders of the past.

    Read Andrew Benson's FP1 report.

  53. FP1 - full classification

    Formula1.com
  54. FP1 - Top 10

    BBC
  55. Ferrari one-two, Mercedes... 15-16

    Ok, that practice session didn't quite play out as other have done this season, with the two Ferraris at the head of the pack.

    The Mercedes are playing the long game, clearly working on set-up work, and their two drivers are way, way down the order.

    Given Sunday is a night race, they will almost certainly show their hand in FP2, when it will be cooler.

  56. Chequered flag

  57. Ferraris atop the pile

    Raikkonen

    Some semblance of order has been restored to the top of the timesheets with Ferrari now sitting one and two, Raikkonen leading the way with a time two tenths up on team-mate Sebastian Vettel.

  58. Palmer again keeps Maldonado honest

    Jolyon Palmer has impressed again today. Although he's down in 14th at present, he is again just half a second down on regular Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado.

    He's also completed more laps than any other driver in this session.

    Palmer
  59. Here's your top five with just under 15 minutes left

    1. Valtteri Bottas (Williams) - 1:38.390

    2. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) - 1:38.455

    3. Max Verstappen (Toro Rosso) - 1:38.504

    4. Fernando Alonso (McLaren) - 1:38.598

    5. Daniil Kvyat (Red Bull) - 1:38.661

    The Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg are 13th and 14th at the moment.

  60. Get involved - #bbcf1

    Frank Hardee: "I'm Jolyon Palmer's former A level politics teacher - so rooting for him on the last day of my Easter break in a Thailand bar!

  61. Jonathan Palmer speaks

    Good to hear former F1 driver and BBC commentator Jonathan Palmer having a chat with Lee McKenzie on BBC TV just now.

    There's something in his well-spoken delivery that transports me back to the mid-1990s, when as a teenage F1 fan I would sit and avidly watch races from start to finish - and then within a couple of hours watch them all over again on VHS.

    Happy times.

  62. Get involved - #f1rivalries

    James Constable: Villeneuve and Pironi has to be on the list. Relatively short-lived, but ultimately fatal.

    David Dawson: My recent favourite was the battle between Caterham, Marussia and Hispana to be the first points scoring 2010 team.

    Mihail Nesterovich: How about two F1 champs on North American soil - Andretti vs Mansell!

  63. Post update

    Lotus on Twitter: P4 for Pastor. :-)

    Lotus F1
  64. Name that driver...

    Pastor Maldonando

    If you said Pastor Maldonado, give yourself a pat on the head and a biscuit.

    In fairness to the Lotus driver, he's just one of many drivers to test the limits today. It's what practice is for, right?

    Speaking of Maldonado, this feature on the wild Venezuelan is well worth a read.

  65. McLaren second klaxon!!

    So Fernando Alonso's spell at the summit was short-lived.

    The Toro Rosso of Max Verstappen is now top of the pile, followed by Alonso and Force India's Sergio Perez.

    BBC commentator Ben Edwards describes the standings at present as "utterly irrelevant".

    Yup.

    alonso
  66. McLaren fastest klaxon!!

    Right. McLaren have just gone quickest.

    Proof, 'twere it needed, that this session hasn't quite hit its straps yet.

  67. Happy birthday to Riccardo Patrese

    While it's gone a bit quiet now would be a good time to wish happy birthday to former Shadow, Arrows, Brabham, Alfa Romeo, Williams and Benetton driver Riccardo Patrese, who turns 61 today.

    Patrese won six grands prix in a 256-race career between 1977 and 1993.

    For many years he held the record for most F1 starts before he was usurped by Rubens Barrichello, who went on to make a mighty 322 race starts.

    Lotus driver Romain Grosjean is also celebrating. The Frenchman is 29 today.

    Riccardo Patrese
  68. Get involved - #F1rivalries

    Peter Wanyonyi: Senna and Prost always had a rather sinister element to it. Lewis-Nico pales in comparison. Lewis has Nico totally beat.

    Mike Hawkins: How about Jenson Button and reliability.

    Emma Harness: Have to mention Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber!? Some very awkward moments there.

  69. All quiet at Sakhir

    It's all gone rather quiet on track.

    The only cars pounding around at present are the Mercedes.

    Ah, wait a moment - Jolyon Palmer has just joined them... and a Force India.

  70. All eyes on 'rising star' Verstappen

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer

    Max Verstappen

    "One of the stars of China - indeed of the season so far - was Toro Rosso driver Max Verstappen. The Dutchman pulled off some stunning overtaking moves and in general looked like an experienced campaigner, not the callow 17-year-old he is.

    "Verstappen, already very adept on the track, is still finding his feet in public appearances and does not say a great deal, and he was refreshingly straightforward about his weekend. 'Well, first of all, I was really enjoying my race,' he said.

    "'We didn't have a great qualifying, but still I was very confident that we could do a good race because I think the car and its race pace is really strong, especially high speed. I had some good overtakes; I was really enjoying that. It's also every race I'm getting more and more confident in the car. Especially in the first two races you don't want to take too many risks and I decided in China it was time to do some overtakes and take some more risk.'

    "It is no exaggeration to say that everyone in F1 is watching to see what this rising star can achieve this year."

  71. Get involved - #f1rivalries

    Just another call for your F1 rivalries.

    There's obviously one famous one that all F1 fans know about (clue: it rhymes with Penna and Srost) so try and give us some more from F1's annals.

    I like Hill-Schumacher from the mid-1990s. Plenty of thrills, spills and needle. Not least at Silverstone '95 (below).

    Michael Schuamcher and Damon Hill
  72. Vettel not expecting edge over Mercedes

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer

    "Sebastian Vettel is under no illusions that his Ferrari has suddenly become the equal of a Mercedes just because he won a race in specific circumstances in Malaysia and managed to stay in touch for a while in related ones in China last weekend.

    "'They are still in front,' Vettel said. 'Hopefully we can close the gap some time soon.' The fact that this race takes place after sunset should in theory take some of the heat - literally - out of Mercedes' tyres and make things more comfortable for them. But Vettel still has his hopes.

    Sebastian Vettel

    "'It is a night race,' he said. 'It is maybe not as hot as the conditions we had in Malaysia. The last races have been good for us we have proved the car is working in cold and hot conditions and hopefully we can continue the trend we are looking after the tyres and put some pressure on the teams in front.'

    "There's only one team in front, of course."

  73. Raikkonen leads with 30 minutes gone

    We're approaching the half-hour mark in this opening session and top spot at present is in the possession of Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, who's done a best lap of 1:38.917.

    Team-mate Sebastian Vettel is second, two tenths back, with the Williams of Valtteri Bottas a fraction further back in third.

  74. Power problem for Vettel?

    Sebastian Vettel has a problem in the Ferrari, it seems.

    The German is going very slowly out there having just set a time good enough for second place behind team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.

  75. Palmer behind the wheel again

    Just a reminder that we have four Britons in this session, with Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Will Stevens joined again by Jolyon Palmer.

    Palmer made his F1 weekend debut for Lotus in FP1 in China and did not disappoint, setting a time just over half a second off regular driver Pastor Maldonado.

    The reigning GP2 champion again replaces Romain Grosjean in the Lotus for FP1 this weekend.

  76. More on McLaren

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer

    "Both McLaren drivers have their eye on the next race in Spain next month as 'moving day' thanks to relatively major upgrades due on both car and engine. 'I think already in Barcelona you will see a good step,' Jenson Button said, 'hopefully with power and aero grip.'

    "Fernando Alonso added that he hoped at that point 'we can start enjoying races and doing a normal development phase', although the Spaniard did say: 'We cannot put all the expectations on Barcelona; people will think we will win the race and this is not true.'

    Jenson Button

    "Button said the McLaren still lacks overall downforce as well as power but the news about the McLaren chassis is more encouraging than that. McLaren were 3.5 seconds off the pace in qualifying in China and the Honda engine was understood to be about 180bhp down on the Mercedes.

    "That power deficit equates to about 2.9secs of lap time, which means the McLaren chassis is about 0.6-0.7secs off the Mercedes. Or, to put it another way, about as good as a Ferrari. Given where the team were last year, that is reasonably encouraging, especially if the team's confidence about their ability to add downforce is justified."

  77. Mystic Benson: No signs of improvement for McLaren

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer

    Fernando Alonso

    Maybe 'mystic' is a bit of a stretch as it's not hard to predict trouble for McLaren these days. Writing before today's FP1 session began, here's what our chief F1 writer had to say on the struggling British team:

    "McLaren drivers Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button are expecting another tough race in Bahrain. Both cars finished for the first time this year in China last weekend and the team have promised the drivers more power from the Honda engine, which is still lagging a long way behind all the others.

    "But Button said not to expect too much. 'It was a big deal for Honda to finish both cars,' he said, 'but I don't think you'll see a big step forward in terms of outright power here. It is a very difficult race for everyone because of long straights heat and wind, which brings a lot of sand, and it will be tricky circuit for us because of the long straights. The positive for us is we are pretty good at looking after rear tyres; whether that is enough to move forward I'm not sure.'"

  78. Spin for Button

    Just as in China a week ago, it's a very poor start to practice for McLaren.

    Jenson Button has just spun and stalled his car at the first turn. He's climbing out of the troublesome McLaren and he's done for the time being. At least it's a short walk back to the pits from there.

    Of course it's just under a week since his team-mate Fernando Alonso lasted just two laps of third practice in Shanghai before an engine failure halted his progress.

    Still real problems down at McLaren-Honda.

    button
    button
    button
  79. Green light

    First free practice is under way.

    The drivers are not hanging around. A queue of them are waiting to get out of the pit lane.

  80. Watch: Hamilton and Rosberg's thrilling duel under lights

    Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton

    Lewis Hamilton won a thrilling race-long battle with his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg to win last year's Bahrain Grand Prix.

    Their fierce battle at the front became a 10-lap sprint after a late safety car period wiped out Hamilton's 10-second advantage following a crash for Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez.

    You can relive their fight for victory here.

  81. Get involved - #F1rivalries

    There's only F1 topic on our tongues this week… Lewis versus Nico.

    After their public spat in China, we want to know which are your all-time favourite F1 rivalries.

    Does the battle of the Mercedes boys match up to the likes of Senna versus Prost?

    Get involved by using the hashtag #F1rivalries on Twitter.

    Lewis Nico
  82. Championship standings after three rounds

    1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 68

    2. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 55

    3. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 51

    4. Felipe Massa (Williams) 30

    5. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 24

    6. Valtteri Bottas (Williams) 18

  83. Hamilton in the spotlight

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer

    Lewis Hamilton

    "The build-up to this race has been all about Lewis Hamilton, one way or another.

    "Whether it be the controversy over Nico Rosberg's allegations that Hamilton was selfish and backed his Mercedes team-mate towards the Ferraris in China last Sunday, or the faintly ridiculous farrago over Hamilton's spraying of champagne on a podium hostess, the world champion has been at the centre of things.

    "Hamilton, though, is keen to stand apart from it all. He played both down on Thursday and says his mind is focused only on the job. He might have won in Bahrain last year, but for him it was an imperfect weekend - Rosberg was faster throughout. Hamilton wants to make amends by taking pole and dominating the race this time around."

  84. Watch practice on the BBC

    Just to remind you that this weekend's action is live on BBC television, as well as the usual service on radio and online.

    Video footage of FP1 and FP2 will be available today on this website using the tabs above, while you can also access the action using the Red Button. TV coverage is off at 11:55 BST.

  85. Hot, dry but breezy weekend in store

    Ian Fergusson

    BBC weather presenter

    Ian Fergusson

    "A bone-dry weekend in store, as might be expected. Friday will prove the hottest day - into mid-30s C by FP1, with mid-high 20s into evening. Saturday and Sunday will see maximums come down a bit - around 29-30C, and again into mid 20s through the evenings.

    "The key issue will be the wind. This won't be a factor for Friday's sessions but will most certainly be a pain on Saturday. For FP3 and qualifying, it will be noticeably breezy with the attendant risk of sand and dust blowing on to the circuit and perhaps some dust haze issues evident too by qualifying.

    "Sunday will remain pretty windy through the first half of the day, but by race start this won't be as much a factor - still breezy, but not markedly so."

    Watch the full forecast here.

  86. Post update

    Formula1.com on Twitter: 20 MINS TO GO until the start of #FP1. Here's the scene at @BAH_Int_Circuit - air temperature is 32C.

    F1
  87. Top teams will dominate whatever the weather

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer

    "It's hot in Bahrain. That pretty much goes without saying. But whether the desert will have the same effect on compromising Mercedes' competitiveness as the tropics in Malaysia three weeks ago is another matter.

    "The fact the race happens after nightfall cools things down but the season is too young to draw definitive conclusions about what certain conditions might mean for the relative pace of Formula 1's two fastest teams. One thing does seem clear, though. Night or day, it is time for Mercedes v Ferrari round four."

    Lewis Hamilton & Sebastian Vettel
  88. Good morning

    Hello and welcome to BBC Sport's live text commentary on the opening practice sessions for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

    The latest round of the 2015 season promises much, with Lewis Hamilton bidding to make it three wins out of four at the start of the season, Nico Rosberg under pressure to get to grips his Mercedes team-mate, and Ferrari seeking to prove that their Malaysia win was no flash in the pan.

    It feels like a key weekend. First practice is off at 12:00 BST.

    Throw an arm around a loved one and settle down.

    Lewis Hamilton & Bernie Ecclestone
  89. Oh man that's pretty

    Bahrain Grand Prix paddock

    F1 has its faults. We all know that. 'Myriad' is the word that leaps easily to mind.

    But when it comes to putting on one hell of a spectacle, there's not a lot in the wide, wide world of sport that can top it.

    The picture above, taken yesterday evening in the Bahrain International Circuit paddock, is about as impressive and enticing as it gets.

    I say we go in.