Lewis Hamilton was fastest during free practice in Bahrain. (Mercedes photo)

Hamilton Leads Mercedes 1-2 At Bahrain Free Practice

Lewis Hamilton set the pace during the second free practice session of the day at Bahrain International Circuit, which will host Formula 1’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix on Saturday.

In his Mercedes entry, the seven-time Formula 1 world champion set a fast lap of 1 minute, 30.374 seconds.

“The car was feeling good, but we can’t get ahead of ourselves. We know there is more to extract, and our long run pace isn’t in the fight with the Red Bulls,” Hamilton said. “Overall though, I’m feeling much happier with the car than last year. We’ve made some good improvements and it feels much more like a race car. It’s a really good platform for us to build from.

“We just need to keep our heads down and keep chasing.”

This year is Hamilton’s final season with Mercedes, as he will drive for Ferrari starting in 2025. 

F-1 Notes: Season Opens Saturday In Bahrain

Behind Hamilton, teammate George Russell filed into second with a 1 minute, 30.580-second lap time. Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso was third, with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz sliding into fourth. McLaren’s Oscar Piastri completed the top five in practice.

Reigning Formula 1 champion and Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen placed sixth in both free practice one and two. However, he wasn’t all that worried about his lackluster performance, as the team put their emphasis on the long run.

“The practice sessions today were not perfect but we weren’t too far off. The long runs were quite decent, and I think we can always do a little better on those laps. There were a few small balance issues that we will work on but I am quite happy with everything with the car overall. Today was just about trying to find that sweet spot and getting the perfect balance in the car,” Verstappen said.