After much controversy surrounding the FIA decision to go ahead with the Bahrain Grand Prix, despite pressure to cancel, Friday's free practices went on without incident. The Force India Team chose miss the Second practice on the grounds of "logistical reasons" but the decision could stem from a car carrying Force India Team members was delayed by a petrol bomb (Molotov cocktail) attack.
Paul Hembery, Director Pirelli F1, predicts that tyre degradation will play a key role in race strategy with team opt-ting for the harder grey-striped compound, with a longer tyre life, instead of the yellow softer Option tyres,. The track exhibited its lack of grip when Timo Glock, Marussia, spun out in the first turn, and a couple of drivers like Lotus' Romain Grosjean and Sauber's Sergio Pérez ran wide on Turn 10.
In the first session, Lewis Hamilton set the fastest lap in the McLaren with a time of 1:33.572. Reigning Champion, Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, looks to be returning to his former pace by setting a time three-tenths slower than Hamilton's. Force India's Paul di Resta was a surprising 3rd fastest in what would the only session he and Force India would be take part of on Friday. Valtteri Bottas, a usual sight in the Williams' car during Friday practices, set an impressive time of 1:35.497, only three-tenths slower than his team mate Pastor Maldonado.
Practice 2 had Nico Rosberg, fresh of his maiden victory at China, breaking the 1:33 mark to put the fastest time of 1:32.816 and the pair of Red Bulls, showing the improvements they've made, with Mark Webber .3 seconds ahead of Vettel. Webber predicts "Tyres will play a big role on Sunday" adding that "[Tyres] are losing their grip pretty quick".
Practice 3 is set to start Saturday at 8:00 GMT (4 am EDT) with Qualifying starting three hours later at 11:00 GMT (7 am EDT).
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