Red Bull driver Max Verstappen headed both free practice sessions today, topping the times in FP2 with the P Zero Red soft tyre. The second free practice session was run after dark in conditions that were close to those we might expect for qualifying and the race, with 29 degrees of ambient temperature and 33 on track.
The opening free practice session was run in much hotter conditions, with track temperatures peaking at 54 degrees centigrade.
With both Friday free practice sessions each reduced to one hour from this year (compared to 90 minutes last year) the teams had one hour less of running in total. This condensed their programmes, with plenty of action from start to finish and less time than before to set a flying lap time.
From the data seen so far, the performance gap between the White hard and Yellow medium tyre is 0.4 seconds per lap, while the gap between medium and soft is around 0.9 seconds per lap.
Mario Isola: "We saw two busy, exciting and very closely-matched sessions, with three teams in the top three places after each practice hour. From the perspective of the tyres, we're satisfied with the performance, which is very much what we expected with plenty of recent testing in Bahrain. Teams focussed their work on the C4 soft tyre in particular, having already collected a lot of data on the C2 and C3 compounds two weeks ago during testing. The performance gap between medium and soft is a little higher here than we initially thought, while C2 and C3 are very close. This means that all the tyres can play a key role in the race."
Check out our Friday gallery from Bahrain, here.