Event: Free Practice 1 (FP1) and Free Practice 2 (FP2)
Date: Friday, April 1
Location: Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir
Layout: 5.412-kilometer (3.363-mile), 15-turn circuit
Weather: Sunny, 22 degrees Celsius (72 degrees Fahrenheit)
Drivers: Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutiérrez
Free Practice No. 1 Rundown
Grosjean: 9th quick (1:35.000), 18 laps completed
Gutiérrez: 13th quick (1:35.309), 19 laps completed
Fastest Driver: Nico Rosberg of Mercedes (1:32.294)
Most Laps: Marcus Ericsson of Sauber and Daniil Kvyat of Red Bull (30 laps)
Free Practice No. 2 Rundown
Gutiérrez: 12th quick (1:33.129), 31 laps completed
Grosjean: 14th quick (1:33.384), 23 laps completed
Fastest Driver: Nico Rosberg of Mercedes (1:31.001)
Most Laps: Valtteri Bottas of Williams (39 laps)
Sunshine greeted competitors as practice began for Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix after a wet and blustery Thursday. Friday’s running at the 5.412-kilometer (3.363-mile), 15-turn Bahrain International Circuit was split between an afternoon session and an evening session – both 90 minutes, the latter held under the full glare of the track’s floodlights.
First practice saw Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg picking up where he left off after his season-opening Australian Grand Prix victory. He set the fastest lap of the session using the Pirelli P Zero Yellow soft tire. Running the same compound, Haas F1 Team drivers Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutiérrez set their best laps, placing ninth (1:35.000) and 13th (1:35.309), respectively.
With the sun dropping and the lights on, lap times tumbled in the second practice. The Pirelli P Zero Red supersoft tire proved to be the compound of choice. Rosberg led the way once more, setting the best overall time on Friday (1:31.001), which broke the race lap record of 1:31.447 set by Pedro de la Rosa in 2005 with McLaren.
Gutiérrez’s fastest lap, a 1:33.129, came on his second stint out of the pits, and his first flying tour of the track on the new supersoft rubber. Grosjean, having started the session on the Pirelli P Zero White medium tire, switched to the supersofts and duly recorded his quickest lap, a 1:33.384.
The second half of the evening’s practice run had the Haas F1 Team drivers focused on recording further mileage. Data collection, instead of outright speed, was the main objective for the VF-16 during these long runs. This was important, for qualifying on Saturday and the race on Sunday will also take place in the evening.
Haas F1 Team logged a total of 91 laps between the afternoon and evening sessions – 37 laps in the first practice and 54 in the second practice.
Romain Grosjean, Driver No. 8, Haas F1 Team
“FP2 was an interesting session. We ran different tires, medium and then supersoft. This was to allow us to get the best evaluation for the race. We had a bit of an issue with the front wing, but generally it was a good day with some good work. We had both cars out there on track trying to get the best for our setup. Friday night is always the busiest night of the weekend. We make all the changes for tomorrow, hoping to get a bit more performance, hopefully to get us back to where we were this morning. I don’t think it’s impossible that we can be somewhere close to the top-10.”
Esteban Gutiérrez, Driver No. 21, Haas F1 Team
“It was very useful for us to have consistent running. Practice one we had a few issues, but luckily we were able to resolve these quickly. Practice two was more straightforward. The wind conditions improved from the first session. We were able to achieve lots of data, which will help with our preparations for tomorrow. Overall, I’m happy how the day went. We still have some work to do for Saturday to fine tune the balance of the car, but I’m looking forward to getting out there for qualifying.”
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1 Team
“We had two very good practice sessions, until the very last five minutes, when we had a few issues with Romain’s car. He experienced some smoke, which appears to be a small oil leak. We also had some issues with vibrations on the front wing, but we are working on it. Esteban did a good job. The car is where we think it will be for the race weekend. We will keep on working this evening to get everything sorted for tomorrow.”
Drivers have one more practice session on Saturday (15:00-16:00) before qualifying starts at 18:00. There, an elimination-style format will be used, where the field of 22 drivers will be whittled down to just two, with those two drivers theoretically battling for the pole in the final 90 seconds.