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Raikkonen tops Bahrain Grand Prix practice
08 April 2018, 01:22 | Nina Mathis
Raikkonen hits mechanic in Bahrain pit lane
But as it worked out neither of the Mercedes cars could get the better of a strong Ferrari, and team-mate Bottas jumped Hamilton in Q3 to take third place, leaving Hamilton languishing back in ninth place on the grid for tomorrow's race from his fourth place qualifying.
Raikkonen was the only driver to lap in the 1:29 bracket.
The Australian was also blocked on his fastest lap - by Bottas.
Raikkonen, who showed impressive pace during the weekend's three practice sessions, had been ahead after the initial attempts in the top-ten qualifying shootout and had the advantage of being the last man to start his final run.
Looking back at Melbourne, Hamilton named the importance of having both cars at the top in the title fight.
Heading into Turn 2, he slid sideways off and thudded into the crash barriers, the left front wheel of his auto mangled.
Raikkonen, however, faced a post-race investigation into a possible "unsafe release" of his vehicle, by Ferrari, following a routine pit-stop late in the session. Ricciardo (Red Bull), 5.
Even Red Bull's pace was not necessarily their optimum.
He place him a whopping 0.525 seconds away from second-placed Max Verstappenalong with his RedBull team partner Daniel Ricciardo that a additional 0.059 seconds adrift in third.
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"No I'm definitely not where I [need to be]", Hamilton said.
Sebastian Vettel, victor at Australia and last 12 months in Bahrain, was fifth quickest ahead of past season's pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas who was first sixth for Mercedes.
Although Sebastian Vettel is already much happier with the front end balance of his SF71H, the German believes there is more to come from Ferrari in Bahrain.
"Looks like we were a bit quicker than the rest but it depends a bit on the programme so at this point I would not jump in any conclusions", he said. "The tyres have felt the best they've felt here in years; very stable and with less degradation". At least, that's what Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel says. "I don't know what happened today". We love racing and we try to do our best, once we're in the auto and beat all the others.
Nico Hulkenberg was seventh for Renault ahead of the Toro Rosso of Pierre Gasly and the two McLarens of two-time champion Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne.
Gasly was running a new aerodynamic part on his auto, but team-mate Brendon Hartley was not, and was 12 places behind the Frenchman in 20th.
"It would be great to have a good result in Bahrain after such big disappointment in Australia", Magnussen said.
Both managed to take roughly two-tenths off their soft tyre runs when they swapped to the red-marked tyres.
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