Ferrari first and last in Bahrain practice

Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen of Finland takes a curve during the first practice session for the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Formula One Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir Bahrain Friday

Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen of Finland takes a curve during the first practice session for the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Formula One Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir Bahrain Friday

3 - Bahrain is the only grand prix in which Alonso has the most wins (3), one more than Vettel, Hamilton and Felipe Massa (2 each).

Friday's second practice session begins at 1800 hours local time - the same time as qualifying and the race - so we should see much more representative running in what are expected to be much cooler conditions.

At the last two races strategy has been the defining factor in the battle for victory between Hamilton and Vettel, with the two yet to go wheel-to-wheel in a battle for the lead.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at the key talking points ahead of Sunday's grand prix.

It was Hamilton who mentioned the weather when he told British broadcaster Channel 4: "So far the only info I have is that Melbourne was warm, and being on a hotter track Ferrari was stronger".

Hamilton's title fights over the last three years were within his own Mercedes team, twice beating Rosberg to the title — once easily and once in the last race of the season — only to lose it to the German driver last year.

"It's going to be one of the closest, if not the closest, fights I've experienced". As one McLaren insider recently said: "I think Fernando will have to stay here because there is nowhere else for him to go". I think overall it was OK but we can improve, . It's going to go right down to the end of the season, and I hope for both of us there's nothing mechanical comes between our sheer battle in ability.

Mario Isola, head of racing, says: "The biggest gains at Sakhir are all to be found in traction: it is quite a stop-start circuit, so getting the power down properly and keeping the rear tyres in good condition is very important". Lewis and Vettel will continue to edge each other out for the rest of the season, and their duel will also cement the legacy of their respective teams. Our mindset is that of the underdog - not the Champion.

But I don't feel I'm in a rush with everything.

At Sauber, team principal Monisha Kaltenborn welcomes back Pascal Wehrlein, now fully fit and race ready. With this in mind, Vettel says he is fortunate to have been able to get back on course.

Hamilton was almost two seconds behind in 10th, with his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas 14th.

Vettel isn't convinced his fastest times are indicative of his form either, saying there is still much to be done to the SF70H to improve it over longer runs.

Their Dutch teenager Max Verstappen made plenty of headlines in China when he roared from 16th on the drid to seventh after the first lap en route to third place on the podium. We're both doing that, and that's a great place to be. "But we'll keep pushing hard".

The Englishman was only 10th fastest in the first - having set the initial pace on Pirelli's medium and soft tyres - but in that session both he and Bottas, only 14th, ran in race trim and never ran with the low fuel loads favoured by their rivals.

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