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Summary

  1. Hamilton on pole, Vettel 2nd, Rosberg 3rd, Raikkonen 4th
  2. Hamilton dominant in Q1 & Q2
  3. Alonso through to Q2 for first time this season
  4. Button breaks down in Q1, will start last

Live Reporting

By Jamie Strickland

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. Thanks and goodbye

    We're pulling the shutters up now. Thanks, as per, for your company and contributions.

    We're back with you tomorrow from 14:30 BST to build up to the fourth round of F1 2015.

    Lights out (under the lights) at 16:00 BST.

    Last year's race saw a brilliant fight for victory between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Will the two serve up something similar, or will those racy Ferraris elbow in on the action?

    We'll have all the answers for you tomorrow.

    And who knows, maybe we'll be served up more of THIS:

    Pastor Maldonado & Esteban Gutierrez

    Until tomorrow...

  2. Get involved - what's up with Nico? #bbcf1

    Calixto Érico: Nothing. He is simply up against three incredible pilots. 7 World Driver Championships & 95 wins between LH, SV & KR.

    Mike Smith: I think the new communication rules favour Lewis a lot. Rosberg was always looking for advice from the team where Lewis just drives.

    Rudi: He is a very good driver but in his head he is THE best. Can't stand to lose so often from his team mate, it destroys him.

  3. Pictures of the day

    Jenson Button
  4. Pictures of the day

    Bahrain GP
  5. Get involved - what's up with Nico? #bbcf1

    Anne Kingston: Unless he has a quick session with a sports psychologist he has already lost the mental battle and thus the confidence.

    Sam Elliott: Outclassed, out-thought, out-driven. A good driver but not a great driver. Lewis too strong.

    Neil: In his head, he's already beaten. Every time, LH just that bit faster - and he doesn't seem able to handle that.

  6. Pictures of the day

    Nico Rosberg
  7. Watch Hamilton's pole lap

    Ride on board as Lewis Hamilton takes his fourth consecutive pole position of the season with a lap of 1 minute 32.571 seconds.

    BBC
  8. Get involved - what's up with Nico? #bbcf1

    Alex Ball: I think Nico has had it, bye bye race win.

    Ian Brown: Strange comment from Rosberg - he was saving tyres & was surprised at his slow pace. Is the aim not to be 1st?

    Blake: I wonder what excuses he's going to make now? What was that, Lewis not quick enough?

  9. Pictures of the day

    bahrain
  10. Pictures of the day

    Valtteri Bottas
  11. Button staying positive

    BBC

    McLaren's Jenson Button remains positive about his weekend despite suffering a third car failure of the weekend in the first part of qualifying.

    Button's car suffered electrical problems in both practice sessions on Friday and the 2009 world champion thinks it was the same fault which ended his qualifying session early.

    He says the car was nevertheless "enjoyable" to drive in third practice and is looking forward to the race on Sunday, for which Button will line up 20th and last.

    Watch the full interview here.

  12. Get involved - what's up with Nico? #bbc1

    Coming into this weekend, Mercedes' Nico Rosberg made it clear that he needed to turn the tide in his battle with Lewis Hamilton for the world title.

    Yet on the evidence of today's action, the gulf between the two arguably looks bigger than ever.

    Lewis Hamilton & Nico Rosberg

    Having taken pole in Bahrain each of the last two years, this was a track Rosberg would have targeted as an opportunity to fight back.

    But instead Hamilton took his fourth pole of the season, leaving his team-mate trailing half a second in arrears.

    Rosberg said he under-estimated the Ferrari's speed and that he lacked rhythm. But is this just part of a more worrying trend?

    Let us know your thoughts on the Rosberg-Hamilton battle using #bbcf1

  13. Post update

    Sauber on Twitter: We might be up for a nice fight between Mercedes and Ferrari tomorrow! And we will #PushForPoints.

  14. Driver reaction

    Nico Rosberg: P3 - 1:33.129: "Strategy wise I got it wrong. I was thinking too much about the race and I under-estimated Sebastian's speed. I took it easy in Q2 to save the race tyres, so I lacked the rhythm for Q3. That's where I went wrong today. Being third is not ideal."

    Lewis Hamilton
  15. Driver reaction

    Sebastian Vettel: P2 - 1:32.982: "First of all I am very happy with second place. It was a tough session and I didn't find the rhythm I had in practice at the beginning but felt more comfortable near the end. Hopefully we will have good race tomorrow."

    Vetetl Bahrain
  16. Driver reaction

    Lewis Hamilton: P1 - 1:32.571: "I feel great. I feel very happy. Obviously coming in to the weekend that was the target to master the track and get the car into an area that I'm happy with. I'm really grateful to have this beast underneath me to attack these corners.

    "They (Ferrari) are very quick this weekend. They're going to be very hard to beat this weekend hopefully our positioning helps. I think were in a good position. Looking forward to the fight."

    Lewis Bahrain
  17. A stat almost too good to believe

    Here's a highly unlikely stat, but one which is, we are assured, quite true.

    The opening weeks of the 2015 season have delivered a notable first in the sport, as for the first time ever the same drivers have filled the top three places at the first three grands prix.

    Yep, seemed unlikely to me too but there you have it.

    Today's top three qualifiers - Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel - are the three history-makers.

    They are perfectly placed to make it four in a row on Sunday.

    Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg & Sebastian Vettel
  18. Driver interviews coming up

    Just to say we'll have reaction from the top three in the next few minutes.

    Top 3 bahrain
  19. Qualifying - speed trap times

    Speed Trap
  20. Post update

    Toro Rosso on Twitter: WELL DONE, WELL DONE Carlos Sainz!! A P9 for tomorrow's race!! #GRANDE

  21. Post update

    Mercedes on Twitter: YES! 1:32.571 for Lewis and it's POLE! P3 for Nico in 1:33.129. What a lap from Lewis Hamilton!

    Lewis Bahrain
  22. Final times

    Lotus F1
  23. Qualifying- top 10

    1 Hamilton, 2 Vettel, 3 Rosberg, 4 Raikkonen, 5 Bottas, 6 Massa, 7 Ricciardo, 8 Hulkenberg, 9 Sainz, 10 Grosjean

  24. Hamilton takes pole

    It was never really in doubt from the moment he punched in that 1:32.6 in Q2, was it?

    Moments after Vettel went quickest and Rosberg failed to displace the Ferrari, Hamilton swept across the line to post a time of 1:32.571 and with it take pole.

    The Briton takes top spot by 0.411s from Vettel, and 0.558s ahead of Rosberg. That's Hamilton's first pole in Bahrain.

  25. Pole position

    LEWIS HAMILTON TAKES POLE POSITION FOR THE BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX.

  26. Rosberg can only take second

    Rosberg cannot beat the Ferrari man and has to settle for second for now... but here comes Hamilton.

  27. Vettel fastest

    The Ferrari of Vettel takes pole as the flag comes out. A 1:32.982.

  28. Chequered flag

  29. Ricciardo still second

    Ricciardo, in second place at the start of these final runs, does a 1:33.8. He's still second.

    Vettel has done a purple first sector on his lap though.

  30. Top eight all in pits

    Right, we're shaping up for final runs. Three minutes to go.

    Ricciardo is the first man to go out for his final flyer.

    Hamilton will be the last man across the line after the chequered flag falls.

    Lewis Hamilton
  31. Five minutes left

    Order is:

    Hamilton, Ricciardo, Rosberg, Bottas, Vettel, Raikkonen, Massa, Grosjean.

    Hulkenberg and Sainzo still to break cover.

    Bahrain GP
  32. Hamilton back on top

    Hamilton is now on top with a 1:33.522.

    Of course that is not even in the same league as the 1:32.6 he did in Q2 so more to come that Mercedes.

  33. Ricciardo displaces Ferraris

    A good time from Daniel Ricciardo. He's on provisional pole for Red Bull on a 1:33.850.

  34. Vettel sets early benchmark

    A 1:34.522 puts Vettel top of the early standings.

    His team-mate Raikkonen, also on the scrubbed softs, goes fractions slower.

    Sebastian Vettel
  35. Ricciardo among first men out

    His team-mate went out in Q1, so Daniel Ricciardo has already won the Red Bull battle today.

    What can he do in the top-10 shootout?

  36. Post update

    Toro Rosso on Twitter: And this is how focused Carlo Sainz looks right now. Q3 about to start!! Let us see some more of that magic, Carlos!

    Sainz
  37. Green light

    The top-10 shootout is under way.

    Your protagonists are: Hamilton, Raikkonen, Massa, Vettel, Rosberg, Bottas, Grosjean, Ricciardo, Hulkenberg, Sainz.

    hamilton
  38. Post update

    Sauber on Twitter: Good effort by our guys. P12 for Felipe, P13 for Marcus.

  39. Post update

    Force India on Twitter: P9 for Nico with 1:34.613 - he moves on to Q3! Checo will start in P11 tomorrow, he's given himself a big chance for points.

  40. OUT

    11 Perez, 12 Nasr, 13 Ericsson, 14 Alonso, 15 Verstappen

    Nasr
  41. IN

    1 Hamilton, 2 Raikkonen, 3 Massa, 4 Vettel, 5 Rosberg, 6 Bottas, 7 Grosjean, 8 Ricciardo, 9 Hulkenberg, 10 Sainz

  42. Alonso cannot crack top 10

    It was always going to be too much to ask, but with Fernando Alonso driving there was always a chance.

    In the end, the McLaren driver had to make do with 14th place. Joining the Spaniard in elimination are Sergio Perez, Felipe Nasr, Marcus Ericsson and Max Verstappen.

  43. Sainz, Hulkenberg impress on late laps

    Impressive late laps from Carlos Sainz of Toro Rosso and Force India's Nico Hukenberg see them safely into the top 10.

  44. Chequered flag

  45. Post update

    Mercedes on Twitter: Wow! That is really rather rapid. 1:32.669 from Lewis Hamilton puts him atop the timesheets...

  46. Post update

    Jeremiah Kariuki: Where is Lewis getting these lap times! That's massive!

    Andy Moakes: Hamilton's lap was mighty again, who can stop him.

    Kellan Jensel: WOAH!!! 1st in the 1min 32s.

  47. Power issue for Button

    Jennie Gow

    BBC Radio 5 live pit-lane reporter

    Jenson Button tells BBC Radio 5 live: "It was a power cut, don't know where it came from. It's a shame because after FP3 we thought the car was doing pretty well."

  48. Huge, huge lap from Hamilton

    Lewis Hamilton leads the way on a 1:32.699 at present. Yes, a 1:32.6.

    That is the small matter of 1.2secs faster than his team-mate!

    Hamilton's nearest challenger is Williams' Felipe Massa - 0.882s back.

    bahrain
  49. Q2 benchmark

    Tom Clarkson

    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter

    "To get into Q3, by my calculations a 1:34.8 will be required."

  50. cagey start to Q2

    No one in a hurry to venture out in Q2.

    The Force India of Sergio Perez blinks first and he's on to a hot lap on soft tyres.

  51. Get involved - sparks flying, #bbcf1

    James Weir: Love seeing the sparks flying from the cars with these night races.

    Michelle Holland: Loving the sparks flying off the cars at Sakhir. It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas! All twinkly!

    Ben White: All these sparks remind me of my first Scalextric set!

  52. Green light

    Q2 starts.

  53. Get involved - Button out of Quali, #bbcf1

    Darryl Evans: I think McLaren are quite entitled to a refund now Honda.

    Rich Atkinson: My old Rover25 is more reliable than the McLaren MP4-30! Embarrassing!

    Daniel Button: McLaren are shocking. The amount they have spent yet can't even get Jenson to finish a lap.

  54. OUT

    16 Maldonado, 17 Kvyat, 18 Stevens, 19 Merhi, 20 Button

  55. IN

    1 Hamilton, 2 Bottas, 3 Rosberg, 4 Massa, 5 Raikkonen, 6 Ricciardo, 7 Vettel, 8 Grosjean, 9 Alonso, 10 Nasr, 11 Sainz, 12 Ericsson, 13 Perez, 14 Verstappen, 15 Hulkenberg

  56. Maldonado and Kvyat out

    A big surprise. Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado has looked good all weekend but he has neverththeless found himself eliminated in Q1.

    Also out is Red Bull's Daniil Kvyat, who spun in FP3 earlier and on the whole hasn't looked on it this weekend.

    The Manors are out - Will Stevens ahead of Roberto Mehri - while Jenson Button will start last.

    Kvyat
  57. Alonso through!

    Alonso is ninth as things stand and he's into Q2.

  58. Chequered flag

    Still a lot of drivers on hot laps.

  59. Williams muscle in on top four

    Good stuff from Williams. Bottas is second, two tenths off Hamilton, and Massa fourth.

  60. 1:33.928 for Hamilton

    The Ferraris had briefly displaced the Mercedes from the top of the pile on the softs but the Mercedes have come roaring back. Rosberg went top but Hamilton upstaged him with a 1:33.928.

  61. Drivers in danger

    Three minutes left and the drivers in danger of elimination are: Verstappen, Maldonado, Stevens and Merhi. Button already gone.

  62. Soft tyres for top teams

    Any talk of Mercedes and Ferrari going though this first part of qualifying without using the soft tyres can be forgotten.

    They are all out there on the yellow-walled tyre now.

  63. All eyes now on Alonso

    So it's all down to Fernando Alonso now if McLaren are to make it into Q2 for the first time this season.

    He's ninth at the moment but won't stay there.

  64. Post update

    David Coulthard

    BBC F1 co-commentator

    "The good news is Button will only starts one row back from where he started the first three grands prix."

  65. Button out again!

    Another miserable turn of events for McLaren's Jenson Button. He's crawled to a halt on his out lap. He also hit trouble early in FP1 and FP2.

    McLaren boss Ron Dennis slaps his flanks in frustration in the garage. Goodness knows how Button is feeling.

    "Dear oh dear. What a nightmare he is having this weekend," says BBC commentator Ben Edwards.

    Jenson Button
  66. Rosberg leads

    The early laps are being punched in now and it's Mercedes' Nico Rosberg out front.

    He's done a 1:35.657, three tenths ahead of team-mat Lewis Hamilton.

  67. Ferrari team radio

    Kimi Raikkonen: "OK, I have a lot of vibration, so I'll box this lap."

    That vibration came from a big lock-up by the Ferrari driver as he went into turn one on his first hot lap. He's fifth of the five cars to have completed a lap so far.

    Kimi
  68. Mercedes team radio

    Engineer to Lewis Hamilton: "It looks like it's calmed down but there are still some big gusts."

    Gusting winds proved troublesome for the drivers in FP3.

  69. Get involved - a lot of love for Arrivabene, #bbcf1

    Eddie Jordan's chat with Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene over on BBC TV has gone down very well with you guys.

    Chris: Absolute legend, what a guy Maurizio Arrivabene... I'm watching far too much F1 lately just hoping for a Ferrari resurgence.

    Callum Rowe: Yep. I'd call him a dude.

    Elton Lam: Maurizio Arrivabene speaks sense. @ScuderiaFerrari's upturn in form is good for the sport and competition.

    Maurizio Arrivabene
  70. Green light

    Qualifying is a-go.

    First man out is Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.

  71. Post update

    Mercedes on Twitter: Race Control message: "Risk of rain for this session is 0%" We reckon we had that one sussed ;)

  72. Sun setting over Sakhir...

    Let's do this.

    Bahrain GP
    Bahrain GP
  73. Post update

    Lotus on Twitter: We're on the countdown to quali & the fairy lights have been switched on. We're very excited about that.

    Lotus on twitter
  74. Get involved - Quali predictions, #bbcf1

    Arslan Malik: Ferrari can get the front row it's not out of the question but their long race pace look strong this good Ferrari have stepped up.

    Neil Perry: Got a sneaky feeling Button will sneak into Quali 2 this time around.

    Grant Bolters: Mercedes are not going to have it all their own way. Certainly Ferrari duo will fight them for that front row.

  75. Solid trouser action over on BBC One

    Tune in for the F1, stay for the strides...

    BBC F1 team
  76. Post update

    Felipe Massa on Instagram: With love I get into my room and I see this. Thanks so much.

    Felipe Massa
  77. Post update

    Red Bull on Twitter: Wheelin' back the Bulls ready for quali. Heat up the action and switch on the lights! #BahrainGP #F1

    Red Bull
  78. Sir Frank in the house

    Tom Clarkson

    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter

    "Frank's attending his first race of the year - and loving it. Here he is watching pit stop practice."

    Frank WIlliams
  79. 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.

  80. April 1942 - something in the water?

    Just by way of a follow-up to the Jochen Rindt entry, it's interesting to note that three great names of F1 were all born within a few days of each other in the spring of 1942.

    Team owner Sir Frank Williams was born on 16 April 1942 in South Shields, while Rindt was born in Mainz, Germany, just two days later on 18 April.

    By that point, a six-day-old by the name of Carlos Reutemann was burbling away happily thousands of miles away in Sante Fe, Argentina...

  81. Get involved - #bbcf1

    Just the usual request for your predictions ahead of qualifying please.

    You can get in touch on this or any subject via #bbcf1.

  82. Remembering Jochen Rindt

    Jochen Rindt, F1's only posthumous world champion, would have turned 73 today.

    The Austrian raced for Cooper, Brabham and Lotus in a curtailed 60-race career that began with an outing in a Rob Walker-run privateer Brabham at his home race in 1964.

    Jochen Rindt

    He won six races, five of those coming in his title-winning season with Lotus in 1970.

    Rindt was killed, aged 28, in practice for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. Although four races remained in the season, no driver could overhaul Rindt's points total and he was crowned champion by five points from Jacky Ickx.

  83. Hamilton aiming for back-to-back Bahrain wins

    While his pole record here ain't great, Hamilton is nevertheless bidding to become the fourth man to win back-to-back races in Bahrain this weekend.

    Fernando Alonso was the first man to achieve the feat with victories for Renault in 2005 and 2006, with Felipe Massa (below) following suit for Ferrari in 2007 and 2008, and Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel doing likewise in 2012 and 2013.

    Felipe Massa
  84. Hamilton going for maiden Bahrain pole

    One of the talking points in China a week ago was Lewis Hamilton's achievement in earning a fifth pole position in Shanghai.

    It's fair to say the Bahrain International Circuit has not been such a happy hunting ground for the Mercedes man, with zero poles from seven previous attempts.

    Can he break his duck today?

  85. Post update

    Ferrari on Twitter: #Seb5 watermelmet

    Ferrari Watermelon Helmet
  86. Quali too close to call

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer

    Lewis Hamilton

    "This could be the closest qualifying session of the year so far. Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes was fastest in final practice - but his margin over Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari was a scant 0.069 seconds.

    "Mercedes always seem to find that bit extra in qualifying, but Vettel looks a serious contender for pole in Bahrain. And if he can challenge in qualifying, Mercedes will have serious concerns about what the Ferraris can do in the race on Sunday. Hold on to your hats."

  87. Well that was a quick lunch

    Covered in crumbs and doomed to indigestion, the BBC live text team is back with you.

    Sixty minutes until qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix begins.

    Mercedes or Ferrari on pole? Who's your money on?

  88. Best pictures from FP3

    Lewis Hamilton poster
  89. Best pictures from FP3

    Sebastian Vettel with palm trees blowing behind
  90. Best pictures from FP3

    Daniil Kvyat
  91. Get involved - extreme tyre management #bbcf1

    Adrian Matthews: People seem to have forgotten how boring the Bridgestone races got. Pirelli are only doing what they've been asked to.

    Mike Ellis: Honestly think Webber's wrong, actually more skillful to manage things than just drive fast!

    Just Mick: Pirelli now get tyres right more often than not. I don't want 3 and 4 stops, but tyre strategies create battles throughout field.

  92. Best pictures from FP3

    Felipe Massa
  93. Get involved - caption competition, #bbcf1

    Colm: The way she makes that sandwich, layer after layer... Each perfect. Can't wait for lunch lads, what about you Fernando?

    3rd Baron Ballard: This is how you do the Dambusters flying goggles...

    Alex Pettitt: So if you don't get the car working, I'll be ripping your pay cheque into tiny pieces just like this.

    Paul: You know what this is? This is the smallest violin in the world playing just for you.

    AP
  94. Post update

    McLaren on Twitter: As FP3 came to a close Jenson Button set a 1:36.488 and finished P11.

    Jenson button
  95. Post update

    Williams on Twitter: Felipe has a quick chat with Frank as the session ends.

    Massa and Williams
  96. Leading speed trap times

    speed trap fp3
  97. Post update

    Force India on Twitter: A good session for us with Nico in P9 (1:36.421) and Checo in P15 (1:36.727). Very close in the midfield!

  98. FP3 times in full 11-20

    BBC
  99. FP3 times in full 1-10

    BBC
  100. Post update

    Mercedes on Twitter: There was less than 0.1s between Hamilton and Vettel at the top of the times. It's going to be a snug, red and silver affair, we reckon ;)

  101. Positions 11-20

    FP3 final standings: 11 Button, 12 Kvyat, 13 Ericsson, 14 Verstappen, 15 Perez, 16 Alonso, 17 Sainz, 18 Grosjean, 19 Stevens, 20 Merhi.

    That's an encouraging performance for Jenson Button after yesterday's problems. Green shoots at McLaren?

  102. Mercedes-Ferrari-Mercedes-Ferrari

    FP3 final standings: 1 Hamilton, 2 Vettel, 3 Rosberg, 4 Raikkonen, 5 Bottas, 6 Massa, 7 Maldonado, 8 Ricciardo, 9 Hulkenberg, 10 Nasr.

    Hopes for a real battle for pole and victory are alive and kicking after that session.

  103. Kvyat squeezes in a lap

    Kvyat's late lap on the softs was the only issue to resolve in those final moments of practice.

    The Red Bull man goes 12th.

  104. Chequered flag

  105. Red Bull working hard

    There's frantic work going on at Red Bull to get Danill Kvyat's car out for a hot lap on the softs after his earlier spin.

    With just over two minutes remaining they get the job done and out he goes...

    Daniil Kvyat
  106. Three minutes to go

    OK, three minutes to go.

    Order is Hamilton, Vettel, Rosberg, Raikkonen, Bottas, Massa.

    Turns out these times are a bit more like what we expected after all...

  107. Get involved - caption competition #bbcf1

    Ray Skudder: And if you twist your hands to your face, you become a Superhero!

    Aron Bell: This is the amount of points we will get this weekend!

    Tom Morgan: Now these wheels Fernando are round...

    JPBoutros: Needs 'punch', not 'pinch', Ron.

    AP
  108. Close at the top

    Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes has just gone quickest with a time of 1:34.599 - 0.3s quicker than team-mate Nico Rosberg.

    The Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel slots into second, just 0.069secs off Hamilton.

    Sebastian Vettel with palm trees blowing behind
  109. Rosberg moves to the summit

    A 1:34.968 on the soft tyre puts Nico Rosberg top of the order. But Lewis Hamilton is going much quicker out there...

  110. Hulkenberg goes quickest

    Force India's Nico Hulkenberg is the first to blink on the yellow-walled rubber and goes fastest with a 1:36.421.

    The Mercedes of Nico Rosberg is also on the soft and is on his out lap.

  111. Soft tyres going on

    We're going to see times coming down now.

  112. McLaren team radio

    Jenson Button: "It feels like we had downgraded power on that lap."

    Button is sitting 10th at the moment and escaping the reliability issues that dogged his progress yesterday.

  113. Current top five

    1. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) - 1:36.973

    2. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)

    3. Valtteri Bottas (Williams)

    4. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)

    5. Felipe Nasr (Sauber)

    All times at the moment are being set on the medium tyre.

  114. Quick caption competition - #bbcf1

    Since we're all agreed the times in this session aren't going to tell us an awful lot, maybe we should take this chance for a quick caption competition.

    What wisdom might be being imparted here?

    Ron Dennis & Fernando Alonso
  115. Green light

    Red Bull cleared. Back out there lads.

  116. Sensor problem for Alonso

    Tom Clarkson

    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter

    "There's a sensor issue on Fernando Alonso's car. He missed the first 15 minutes of the session because the car wouldn't start.

    "They won't elaborate as to what the problem was. They're still trying to get on top of it."

    Alonso's mclaren

    Just as we publish that entry, Alonso heads out on track. The curse of live texting...

  117. Red flag

    They're going to have to get the JCB out to remove that Red Bull so the red flag is flying.

    Danii Kvyat
  118. Kvyat spins off

    Danii Kvyat

    The Red Bull of Daniil Kvyat has gone off through turn four.

    The young Russian looked well in control as he kissed the apex of the corner but the rear end got away from him and he spun, before rolling into the gravel on the opposite side of the track.

    As BBC commentator Allan McNish rightly observes: "The thing he'll be kicking himself about is rolling back into the gravel, which seemed unnecessary."

  119. Dust and wind a problem for drivers

    Tom Clarkson

    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter

    "That dust is not helping cars and neither is the wind. We've just had a gust of 20mph, which will not be helping these cars."

    As it's hard to show the effect of the wind in Sakhir today, the hair of Williams development driver Susie Wolff will have to do the job instead.

    Wolff
  120. Get involved - extreme tyre management #bbcf1

    Fraser Dart: I think that tyre management is one of the things that keeps F1 exciting, but I would like to see PROPER racing.

    Schniges: It kills the sport and makes it boring. We wanna see lap records being broken not Sunday afternoon drives.

    Christopher Smith: Make it compulsory for two pitstops in races and give the drivers more rubber to push 100%.

  121. Maldonado's Lotus sheds bodywork

    Not entirely sure was it is at this stage, but Pastor Maldonado's car has just shed a considerable piece of its bodywork.

    Pastor Maldonado
  122. Hamilton runs wide at turn one

    Lewis Hamilton just missed his braking in a big way at turn one. He wasn't even close to making that one!

    Luckily for the Mercedes man there's a hefty acreage of run-off area down there and he continues on his way.

  123. Rosberg quickest but not happy

    Nico Rosberg goes fastest for Mercedes with a 1:37.599, but quickly radios back to the team to report "a bit too much understeer at the moment".

  124. Wind proving an issue

    Mercedes on Twitter: As for the breezy conditions, the official data currently suggests a headwind on the main straight, so crosswinds through many corners...

  125. Top three so far

    Nothing representative as yet, but as things stand the top times are:

    1. Felipe Nasr (Sauber) - 1:38.095

    2. Jenson Button (McLaren) - 1:39.127

    3. Nico Hulkenberg (Force India) - 1:39.441

  126. Red Bull best of the rest?

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer

    Daniel Ricciardo

    "An early indication of form beyond the top three is as follows: Red Bull look about the fourth fastest team in both qualifying and race trim, but then so they did in China, only for it to go very wrong in the race. Lotus are then in a close fight with Sauber - Pastor Maldonado's race-sim run was just 0.06secs on average faster than Felipe Nasr's, with the Toro Rossos after that.

    "Fernando Alonso's race run for McLaren was 0.8secs off Maldonado/Nasr, but unfortunately for McLaren still slower than the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg.

    "As you were, in other words."

  127. Post update

    Mercedes on Twitter: Here's Lewis Hamilton checking out seat mods to avoid the hot bot issues he's been having :)

    Mercedes

    Hamilton's derriere - as was the case in China and Malaysia - is getting toasty warm in that Mercedes again.

  128. Get involved - extreme tyre management, #bbcf1

    Dhiren Khandel: Hardly relevant to the real world and holds back talented drivers. They should always be on edge.

    Stuart Hatto: It's time to make a tyre that goes the distance with manual gearboxes - then we will get decent racing.

    Allie: Maybe they need to get Bridgestone back. They manage to give Indycar soft and hard tyres without it being all about tyre management.

  129. McLaren team radio

    Jenson Button: "I've no rear grip at all. Traction is very poor."

  130. Williams happy with progress

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer

    "It was all smiles at Williams on Friday. Valtteri Bottas was in fifth place just 0.03secs slower than Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and head of performance engineering Rob Smedley called it a 'really good day', on which the team were 'where we expect to be with regards to both high- and low-fuel runs'.

    Valtteri Bottas

    " At the beginning of the season, that would have meant on a par with Ferrari. Now, expectations recalibrated, it means a bit off them but ahead of everyone else - Bottas was 0.5secs off the Mercedes in race trim on Friday. But both he and Felipe Massa, who had a difficult day unhappy with the balance of the car, will have hopes of splitting the Ferraris on the grid, as they managed in China last weekend."

  131. Keep expectations in check

    Just a word to the wise on this session.

    Don't forget that yesterday's opening practice - run at a similar time of day - failed to give us any truly useful information about what to expect in the race. To underline that fact, the Mercedes were 15th and 16th.

    With qualifying and the race set to be run under lights and in cooler conditions, there is only so much that the teams can learn from blasting around in these higher temperatures.

  132. Green light

    We're up and running in final practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

  133. We're live on BBC Two right now...

    Ben Edwards and Allan McNish are poised in the commentary box...

    comms
  134. Get involved - #bbcf1

    Just on that Mark Webber tweet, do you think the former Red Bull driver has a point?

    Has "extreme tyre management" become too much of a feature of F1 and other series? It was certainly key to Ferrari's win in Sepang and is very much a topic of conversation in Bahrain.

    Your thoughts via #bbcf1 please.

  135. Post update

    Mark Webber on Twitter: Blood's boiling watching most single seater categories including F1 become completely dependant on extreme tyre management. Let drivers push.

    Mark Webber
  136. Things looking 'directionally positive' at McLaren

    McLaren-Honda racing director Eric Boullier described yesterday's practice sessions - which saw Fernando Alonso run reliably and Jenson Button hit trouble in both sessions - as "a game of two halves".

    He also said the following, which no doubt had McLaren supremo Ron Dennis beaming with approval:

    "It's too early to say where we are, pace-wise, but Fernando's best FP2 lap-time was 1.5s off Nico's Rosberg FP2 benchmark. That isn't where we want to be. Having said that, I believe it demonstrates that our progress, although not always linear, is nonetheless directionally positive overall."

    Eric Boullier and Ron Dennis
    Image caption: "No, no no. It's 'linear'. L-I-N..."
  137. Post update

    Red Bull Racing on Twitter: Anyone for an arm wrestle? Place your bets!

    Red Bull Racing

    Horner. Has to be Horner.

  138. Post update

    Manor driver Will Stevens on Twitter: Pretty solid first day! Pace is looking strong & really nice to drive in the night again! Get some cool shots!

    Will Stevens Bahrain
  139. True pace of front-runners still to be shown

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer

    "The Ferrari threat to Mercedes is real, but it has to be said that it looks like something does not quite add up. The Mercedes had at least half a second over the Ferrari on one lap on outright pace - and if both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg had 'scruffy' laps, as Rosberg put it, so too did both Ferrari drivers. It doesn't really make sense, then, that the Mercedes can then be 0.6secs on average slower on a race run.

    Lewis Hamilton

    "It's hard to believe that there could be a swing of more than a second between the two teams between qualifying and race - or that Mercedes could be that far off in race trim a week after an ultimately comfortable win in China, in which Hamilton clearly had plenty in hand when he needed it.

    "Equally, Hamilton did his main race run on the mediums, and when he switched to the soft tyres late in the session he did two super-quick laps - a 1:39.3, which just under 0.1secs slower than Vettel's fastest lap on his race run, and then a 38.6, 0.3secs quicker than Vettel's best race-run lap. Perhaps Mercedes over-did their care with the tyres and were running them out of their temperature window. This promises to be a fascinating weekend."

  140. Two champions, six world titles - one chinwag

    BBC Sport has sat down for a chat with the two men who between them have won the F1 world title in six of the last seven years.

    Lee McKenzie had the task of putting the questions to Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel and you can see the result in the pre-race programme on Sunday.

    Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel
  141. Investigation update

    Just to bring you up to speed on the various investigations that sprang up from yesterday's second practice session.

    No driver was deemed at fault in the first-corner collision between Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and Force India's Sergio Perez, although a reprimand was given to Vettel's team-mate Kimi Raikkonen for an infringement when leaving the pit lane.

    Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton also crossed a white pit-line limit line but escaped any action.

    Sebastian vettel and Sergio Perez
    Bahrain GP
  142. 'Mercedes have a real problem on their hands'

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer

    "When Sebastian Vettel won for Ferrari in Malaysia three weeks ago, the first indication that the red cars were a serious threat to Mercedes came in second practice, when they were neck and neck. After Vettel duly delivered the victory - made easier by Mercedes' decision to pit both cars under the safety car - Ferrari technical director James Allison said: 'Those Friday times tend not to lie.'

    Ferrari

    "Well, if the truth lies therein this weekend, Mercedes have a real problem on their hands, for Vettel was 0.6secs quicker on average than Mercedes' Nico Rosberg on the race-simulation runs on the soft tyre. Mercedes are under no illusions about what that means. 'Ferrari are way too quick for our liking,' Rosberg said. 'We have an edge over Ferrari in qualifying so there for sure we will be one and two, I think, but the race is more problematic.'"

  143. Good afternoon

    Hello and welcome along to our live text commentary of third practice and qualifying for Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix.

    Mercedes' Nico Rosberg finally got the better of team-mate Lewis Hamilton yesterday as he posted the quickest time in FP2.

    Nico Rosberg

    Both Silver Arrows drivers were once again required to keep a close eye on the Ferraris, who led the chasing pack in third and fourth. Battle will be joined between the two front-running teams again today, with Rosberg conceding after second practice that "the pace of the Ferraris is very worrying".

    Enough to worry the Mercedes off the front row?

    Well, it's a stretch but stranger things have happened.

  144. The 2015 season in microcosm

    Jenson Button, Sebastiab Vettel & Lewis Hamilton

    Here's a picture to sum up the 2015 season so far.

    A Mercedes hoons around the track with a scarlet Ferrari in hot pursuit.

    Meanwhile, a McLaren-Honda lurks unhappily in the back of frame, its world champion driver with much to ponder.

    Will the familiar narrative continue through final practice and qualifying today?