F1 Bahrain Grand Prix LIVE: Max Verstappen goes quickest at FP2, Lewis Hamilton NINTH, qualifying TODAY – latest

AFTER possibly the greatest season in Formula One history, the drivers are BACK on the track for 2022 at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

World champ Max Verstappen is hoping to retain the title he won in thrilling fashion last year.

But of course Lewis Hamilton is still hoping to win what would be a record driver's world title.

  • TV channel: Sky Sports F1
  • Live stream: Now
  • Friday, March 18: Practice 1 (12 noon), Practice 2 (3pm)
  • Saturday, March 19: Practice 3 (12 noon), Qualifying (3pm)
  • Sunday, March 19: Bahrain Grand Prix (3pm)

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Stay up to date with all the latest from the latest from the Bahrain Grand Prix in our live blog…

  • Justin Lawrence

    Verstappen relishing Ferrari's challenge

    Max Verstappen is relishing the challenge Ferrari may present in the upcoming F1 season.

    Red Bulls' Verstappen edged Ferrari's Charles Leclerc in the FP2 on Friday and the world champion is excited to see what happens next on the track between the pair.

    “So very pleased, but you can see Ferrari is pushing hard and they’re very close, but that’s very exciting as well.

    “We have to wait and see a little bit also with engine modes tomorrow, from all the teams, to really see where you are… I think everyone is still not, let’s say, qualy spec. So we have to wait, but it’s looking good.”

  • Justin Lawrence

    Russell not happy

    George Russell isn't happy with his Mercedes team's performance leading up to the BahrainGrand Prix today.

    Ahead of the race Russell said: “It’s all about lap time and we’re certainly not where we want to be.

    “We made progress on solving some of our issues but the pace isn’t there at the moment.

    “We need to go over the data tonight to understand where we’re struggling with the car. We’ve got lots of work ahead of us to get the car where we want it but if any team can, we can.

    “It was windier today than last week, you’re running at different times of the day, plus we’re trying lots of things on the car to improve performance, so there’s so many factors for us to weigh up.

    “We are truly throwing everything at it to unlock the performance which we think is there but we’re struggling to tap into at the moment. We need to go away, do our analysis and make the best of this situation.”

  • Ben Hunt

    FP2 is done Verstappen is quickest; Hamilton 9th

    Another disappointing session for the Brit who is clearly struggling with his Mercedes.

    Leclerc and Sainz are in the top three while George Russell impresses in fourth place.

    Worth noting the two Mercs are running different floor configurations, so not all is lost for Hamilton.

  • Ben Hunt

    Williams are in trouble

    After a pretty poor winter test, Williams remain as the slowest cars on track.

    There was some hope that under Jost Capito they would make up some places. At the moment, that does not seem to be the case.

  • Ben Hunt

    Verstappen tops the session

    Leclerc is second and Sainz in third. That's a Red Bull and two Ferraris. Russell doing well to hold on to fourth place with just over 10 minutes remaining.

  • Ben Hunt

    Hamilton still unhappy

    He is really bouncing around out there. He's also only quick enough for ninth, a time that now puts him behind Schumacher.

    "Some sort of problem with the front brakes, man. Right front pulling," he says over his team radio.

  • Ben Hunt

    Fantastic runs from Schumacher and Magnussen

    The Haas duo are running in fifth and fourth place respectively. They sacrificed all last year to get this car ready. And it looks like that decision could pay off.

  • Ben Hunt

    Hamilton is not looking comfortable

    The Mercedes man is still having issues with his new car and it is bouncing up and down, just as it reaches top speed.

    They are going to need to get on top of this quickly if he is to have any chance of winning on Sunday.

  • Ben Hunt

    Drivers' eye

    This is an excellent view from inside the drivers' helmets.

  • Ben Hunt

    FP2 is underway

    Under the spotlights in Bahrain, the second session of the day is underway.

    Can Lewis Hamilton and George Russell find some more performance from that Mercedes?

    Or will Ferrari continue to look the quickest?

  • Alex Terrell

    Summary from FP1 in Bahrain

    Pierre Gasly began Formula One's new era with the fastest time for AlphaTauri.

    The Frenchman lapped the 5.4-km Sakhir desert track in 1min 34.193sec on a sunny but cool afternoon.

    Ferrari pair Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz were second and third, the Italian team continuing to back up the hype that has them marked out as one of the favourites.

    George Russell led Mercedes' charge in fourth with Lewis Hamilton seventh as the reigning champions, who struggled to dial their car into the Sakhir track during last week's pre-season test, made a low-key start to their bid to secure a ninth-straight constructors title.

    Reigning world champion Max Verstappen, who ended last week's test with the fastest time, was fifth for Red Bull.

    Friday afternoon's running was not representative of the conditions drivers will face in Saturday's qualifying and Sunday's race, which are scheduled to be floodlit dusk-to-night sessions.

    Teams are also still coming to terms with the most radical rules overhaul in decades, featuring cars that have been drastically redesigned in a bid to improve the racing spectacle.

    Canadian Lance Stroll was sixth for Aston Martin with Spanish double world champion Fernando Alonso eighth for Alpine.

  • Ben Hunt

    Session over. FP1 is done.

    Gasly tops the timesheets. Leclerc is second-quickest, Sainz is third.

    Ferrari are looking good here in Bahrain. Verstappen is fifth and Hamilton's best lap is only good enough for seventh place.

  • Ben Hunt

    Gasly leads the way

    Early days but the AlphaTauri man tops the timesheets. We still have three minutes to go, but that's a solid run for the Frenchman.

  • Ben Hunt

    SPIN FOR LECLERC

    It is very windy out there and it looks as though he was caught out. He's sent into a 360 degree slide but he's kept it out of the barriers.

  • Ben Hunt

    HULK IS BACK

    Nico Hulkenberg is filling in for Sebastian Vettel this week after the German tested positive for covid.

    Hulkenberg has previously filled in for Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll when they too tested positive.

  • Ben Hunt

    BITS DROPPING OFF EVERYWHERE

    George Russell loses part of the floor of his Mercedes. Worth remembering most of these parts are new and being put through their paces for the first time. They have all been upgraded since the test last week.

  • Ben Hunt

    WE ARE UNDERWAY AGAIN IN BAHRAIN

    After a 13 minute delay, we have the green light to resume.

  • Ben Hunt

    LONG DELAY FOR A CLEAR UP

    Ocon did lose a chunk of bodywork, but this has taken some time to clear up. The team are investigation what caused the part to simply come loose and snap off.

  • Ben Hunt

    RED FLAG

    Just seven minutes into the session and it has been stopped. A huge part of bodywork has ripped off one of the Alpine cars, revealing the internal parts of the car.

  • Ben Hunt

    FP1 IS UNDERWAY IN BAHRAIN

    The new season has started and Charles Leclerc is the first out on track. A signal of intent for Ferrari, who are hoping to win the title for the first time since 2008.

  • Alex Terrell

    60 minutes of practice

    The drivers have an hour to stretch their legs around the track.

    Of course all eyes will be on the new designs of the cars and the side wall of the Mercedes, which has attracted lots of glances.

    That said, Lewis Hamilton still isn't quite happy with the pace of his car.

    Let's see how he gets on this weekend.

  • Alex Terrell

    Green light is out

    Here comes Charles Leclerc followed by Nico Hulkenberg.

    Nico isn't hanging around, he's in for Sebastian Vettell this weekend as the German has caught Covid.

    The Formula One season has begun!

  • Alex Terrell

    Netflix no chill

    Sergio Perez is ready to snub the next instalment of Netflix's hit TV series, Drive to Survive.

    Max Verstappen has already refused to do interviews with the show after accusing the heavily-edited fly-on-the-wall F1 series of being "fake".

    And now his Red Bull team-mate is ready to take the same approach after they "tried to create too much drama" out of the climax to last season.

    He said ahead of the Bahrain GP: "I really thought that they had the best season in Formula One and I feel like they probably missed out a bit in the story and the way they presented it.

    "They tried to create too much drama, which was already had, the season had enough drama, you know?

    "They probably have gone too far in this last season. I thought it was going to be the best season [to watch], but to be totally honest I haven't finished it."

  • Alex Terrell

    Ten minutes till first practice starts

    The countdown is well and truly on now…

  • Alex Terrell

    Russell on being a Merc'd man

    "I can only learn from Lewis and it can only be beneficial in the long run.

    "Equally, I think now is the best time to have this opportunity to go up alongside him — because we are starting from fresh.

    "We have completely new cars. Last year was constant evolution whereas now it's a complete fresh start and a good opportunity.

    "With my experiences last year — disappointments, crashes, missing out on points, scoring points — I now feel more complete.

    "Over the last six years, I have outperformed my team-mates.

    "But I've got to be realistic. Suddenly now I need to change my thought process — but I feel stronger to be able to deal with that than I would've been a year ago."

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