Formula One: Red Bull's Ricciardo tops opening Bahrain practice

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Yesterday our race pace didn't look bad but I think our vehicle in second practice, where we did the race runs, wasn't as good as it was in practice one or that it is now.

Hamilton, who had a patchy fifth-placed first practice session, again looked short of speed as he finished fourth in the second outing, just behind Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.

German Sebastian Vettel, victor of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, was fourth for Ferrari ahead of defending champion Briton Lewis Hamilton in the second Mercedes, the two four-time title-winners.

SAKHIR, Bahrain (AP) - Kimi Raikkonen topped the leaderboard ahead of Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel in the second practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix on Friday.

Raikkonen's time of one minute, 29.8 seconds on the 5.4km desert circuit was a fraction quicker than Vettel's.

"We changed a few things this evening and it didn't work as we expected, but the morning was better for us".

"The auto feels OK, but we still need to find some pace, especially for a single lap", Bottas said.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo put Red Bull at the top of the timesheets at the end of Friday's opening practice session for the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix. With such fine margins, any one of the three teams could prove to be quickest during Sunday's race.

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"I got traffic on the first lap so I had to go for the second lap, and for sure there's a bit of lap time there". The defending F1 champion had a tricky first session, locking his tires and twice taking his Mercedes too wide on corners.

Ricciardo's Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen will start only 15th after crashing out in Q1. He got out and helped stewards wheel it back to the team garage.

The spin, followed by a slide into the barrier in this instance, was Verstappen's second in as many weeks, as he spun his auto after sustaining damage to the floor in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

"It was not ideal to miss so much track time".

"We've got more to do overnight and in the session tomorrow to give us a vehicle that will allow us to have a good fight in qualifying and on Sunday".

"Well I studied the data immediately when I came out of the auto because for me it was also a big surprise what happened", Verstappen said.

Vettel won in Melbourne, profiting from an error by Mercedes to finish ahead of Hamilton, who was leading from pole.

Fans will hope for a better spectacle than Australia, where the race was criticised for a lack of overtaking or exciting action.