The first practice sessions for the third race of the 2014 season took place today at the Bahrain International Circuit.
With P1 in the mid-afternoon, P2 at 6pm was the first ever Formula One session to be held under floodlights in Bahrain. Most of today's running took place in P2 where conditions were more representative of those for qualifying and the race. Lewis and Nico topped the timesheets today, setting their fastest laps on the medium tyre in P1 and the soft tyre in P2. Nico received a reprimand in the aftermath of the second session for impeding Sergio Perez.
Lewis Hamilton: It's been a pretty decent day for us. The car felt good from the outset which allowed us to spend time getting to grips with the tyres. The softs in particular seem to be working well and we saw a fair difference in lap time between them and the mediums. The focus today was on the second session as the timing and conditions reflects that of the rest of the weekend and the difference in temperature between the sessions was quite large. The key was to not react too much to that change in terms of our approach to set-up and we seemed to manage that well. It was great driving under the spotlights here: the circuit looks even better at night and you don't really notice a difference in terms of visibility. It's actually quite nice to be driving in cooler conditions too. As always there are still some tweaks we can make to improve the car, but overall I'm feeling good. I heard the update about Michael after P2 and we are all thinking of him and his family.
Nico Rosberg: Today was a good day of testing for us. It seems that we are quick in terms of outright pace and I also had a good long run in the second session, so I'm quite confident about the weekend ahead. Driving in the evening is very different, as the track temperatures are much lower than during all the test sessions we've had so far during the day. We learned a lot in the new conditions and it worked out quite well. It was also great to hear some encouraging news about Michael today. The whole paddock was happy to hear this and I hope his progress continues.
Toto Wolff: Today was a good day for the team. It's impressive to see the cars running under floodlights for the first time in Bahrain. The important thing, however, was that we dealt with the change in temperature having become very familiar with running during the day here. The car looked competitive and reliable in the hands of both drivers, so we clearly handled the situation well. As always, though, we must keep our feet on the ground and make sure we maintain this level throughout the weekend: starting with qualifying tomorrow. We have also heard some positive news today from Grenoble. All of our thoughts are with Michael, his family and friends and we hope to hear of more encouraging signs moving forwards.
Paddy Lowe: We've conducted a lot of testing here in conditions similar to those of today's first session, however this is not representative of the timing and conditions we will encounter during qualifying and the race. We therefore opted to run a reduced programme in P1 and focus our efforts on P2 later in the day. During P1, both drivers completed a pair of short runs at the beginning and end of the session. P2 took a more normal format of short and long runs using primarily the option tyre and assessing potential strategies for the race. Both cars ran trouble-free throughout and the drivers were pleased with the balance. We're pleased with our day's work and looking forward to qualifying tomorrow.
Check out our Friday gallery, here.