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Home > Sports > Formula One > Reuters > Report

Raikkonen dominates Bahrain practice

April 13, 2007 19:41 IST

Kimi Raikkonen revived Ferrari's spirits on Friday with the fastest laps in free practice for Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Finn, who surrendered the overall lead to McLaren's double world champion Fernando Alonso in Malaysia last weekend, limbered up for the next battle by topping the timesheets in both sessions.

However McLaren, fresh from their first win since 2005, showed they remained on the pace with British rookie Lewis Hamilton again in impressive form.

The 22-year-old was the fastest non-Ferrari driver in action on Friday, third behind Raikkonen and Brazilian Felipe Massa in the morning and a very close second to the Finn in the afternoon.

After a sensational start to his Formula One career, with third place in Melbourne and second in Sepang, Hamilton can make Formula One history on Sunday as the first driver to finish his first three races on the podium.

Alonso was also on the pace, fourth in the first session and fifth in the second.

The Spaniard had warned on Thursday that Ferrari, dominant in Australia and in pre-season testing in Bahrain, remains the team to beat despite McLaren's early advantage in both championships.

Alonso leads Raikkonen, winner in Melbourne, by two points after two races. McLaren are also ahead of Ferrari at the top of the constructors' standings.

Raikkonen lapped in 1:33.162 in the morning, 0.517 quicker than Massa and nearly a second faster than Hamilton on a track dirtied by overnight rainstorms. His best lap in the afternoon was 1:33.527.

Poland's Robert Kubica showed that BMW Sauber remained credible podium challengers with the third best lap in the second session.

Champions Renault, winners for the past two years in Bahrain with Alonso, again looked to be struggling after a disappointing start to the season with neither of their drivers breaking into the top 10 in either session.

Briton Jenson Button pulled over in the second session with a flaming engine, with Ferrari's Massa spinning in his wake.

Red Bull's David Coulthard was also involved in a near-miss with a bystander in a pit lane incident.

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Formula One: The Complete Coverage