Millennium Post

Raikkonen sets the pace at Bahrain practice

Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen drove the fastest time in the second practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix, followed by the Red Bulls of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel on Friday.

Raikkonen, who won the season-opening Australian GP and lay second behind Vettel in the drivers’ championship, was 0.03 seconds faster than Webber and 0.12 quicker than Vettel.

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was fourth while his teammate Felipe Massa, who topped the charts in the first practice, settled for sixth.

Force India’s Paul di Resta was a surprising fifth. Several drivers had trouble with the hot and dry conditions, including Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who finished 10th, and McLaren’s Jenson Button, who came in 11th - the latest setback for a team that has struggled to be competitive.

The session was largely uneventful, except for Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez clipping his tire on the wing of Caterham’s Charles Pic, forcing the Mexican back to the pits. Gutierrez has been slow to adjust to F1 and was penalized five grid places for the Bahrain race, after he was blamed for a collision with Force India’s Adrian Sutil in China.

The race has been overshadowed to some degree by the political crisis in the divided Gulf country.

Formula One Boss Bernie Eccelstone scoffed at reports of trouble, telling reporters ‘you guys are the ones who write about the rubbish. Have you found any?’ ‘Looks all right, doesn’t it?’ he said. ‘I think anyone who really wants to talk human rights should go to Syria.’
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