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FP2 - Button ‘best of the rest’ behind Mercedes

01 Apr 2016

Friday evening’s second practice for the 2016 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix threw up something of a shock. Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton finishing one-two for Mercedes was not a surprise. Jenson Button taking third place for McLaren was.

PRACTICE TWO RESULTS

Pos. No. Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 6 Nico Rosberg ROS Mercedes 1:31.001 38
2 44 Lewis Hamilton HAM Mercedes 1:31.242 +0.241s 32
3 22 Jenson Button BUT McLaren 1:32.281 +1.280s 32
4 33 Max Verstappen VES Toro Rosso 1:32.406 +1.405s 31
5 7 Kimi Räikkönen RAI Ferrari 1:32.452 +1.451s 38
6 5 Sebastian Vettel VET Ferrari 1:32.650 +1.649s 26
7 26 Daniil Kvyat KVY Red Bull Racing 1:32.703 +1.702s 34
8 77 Valtteri Bottas BOT Williams 1:32.792 +1.791s 39
9 3 Daniel Ricciardo RIC Red Bull Racing 1:32.870 +1.869s 23
10 19 Felipe Massa MAS Williams 1:32.873 +1.872s 36

“I found the go-faster button,” Button joked over the radio as his best run on the supersoft Pirelli tyres put him 1.3s down on Rosberg, but ahead of the fourth-placed Toro Rosso of Max Verstappen and the leading Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen.

There was trouble for Sebastian Vettel in the second Ferrari, which he parked at Turn 8 late on in the session, telling his crew: “Something is not right. I lost drive.” It turned out that the rear left wheel was loose.

Vettel ultimately finished sixth, just ahead of the Red Bulls of Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo, split by Valtteri Bottas in the Williams, whose team mate Felipe Massa completed the top ten.

On the soft Pirellis leader Rosberg had lapped in 1m 32.173s, faster than he went in FP1, as Hamilton chased on 1m 32.383s. On the supersofts, Rosberg then did 1m 31.001s, Hamilton 1m 31.242s after edging slightly ahead mid-lap with the fastest sector two time before losing pace in the third.

On the softs, Vettel had got close to them, with 1m 32.650s, but on the supersofts his best was only 1m 33.173s as he made a mistake at the final corner. With 15 minutes to go his session was over.

Others to make an impression were rookie Stoffel Vandoorne who, after losing a chunk of time to Button in the first sector on his soft-tyre run, then matched his McLaren team mate in the next two to go 11th on 1m 32.999s, just seven-tenths down, as he became more confident in his MP4-31.

Pascal Wehrlein again looked good for Manor, pushing ahead of both Saubers and team mate Rio Haryanto to take 19th.

The Haas team were again fast - but fragile. Esteban Gutierrez was 12th, Romain Grosjean 14th, but the Frenchman’s car lost its front wing over the Turn 13 kerbing, prompting a brief Virtual Safety Car period as debris was cleared.