Daniel Ricciardo encouraged, partly frustrated, at pace during F1 qualifying

Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso

Raikkonen and Vettel were up front in Friday's second practice as cooler temperatures and nightfall matched the conditions for Sunday evening's race.

The Red Bull driver took over as fastest man with 15 minutes of the 90 remaining and stayed on top three-tenths of a second clear of Finns Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes and Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari.

The Australian's lap put him fifth on the grid but, after applying Lewis Hamilton's grid penalty, he'll move up to the second row.

It all leads up to Sunday's race, which starts at 4.10pm BST and where Hamilton and Vettel will again expect to lead the pack.

"We know that is tougher for us in the race than on one lap performance", said Gasly.

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

Daniel Ricciardo finished qualifying for the 2018 Bahrain Grand Prix frustrated after coming close to leading drivers' pace but ultimately ending up fifth.

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The Finn was summoned to the stewards afterwards for an unsafe release from the pits but escaped a grid penalty with Ferrari picking up a 5,000 euro (US$6,136.50) fine instead for the misdemeanour.

Earlier in the day, Ricciardo was 0.3 seconds quicker than Bottas and 0.4 seconds faster than Raikkonen.

His time in the Friday afternoon session was not representative of his actual pace, however, as Hamilton locked up in his Mercedes while on his fastest lap before then reporting his tires were "dead".

Dutch driver Max Verstappen made it one Red Bull at the bottom and one at the top of the timesheets after failing to set a time.

It was another blow for Verstappen, who spun his auto early into the season-opening Australian GP two weeks ago.

The Dutchman got out and helped marshals push the vehicle back to the pitlane. It was not as much as in the practice but there were still problems on the straight, just not the deployment I wanted, so the team told me to do another lap to try and calibrate it better. "It meant that I spent the beginning of the second session searching for the balance of the auto", Verstappen said. With Bahraini ownership, McLaren had many of their key shareholders in their garage on Saturday but could only qualify 13th and 14th with Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne respectively.