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The friendship between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg extends back to the respective driversâ childhood, with the duo competing within the lower categories together in their quest to reach Formula One. However, with the pair now competing alongside each other in unquestionably a Championship winning car, the friendship seems to be taking a considerable battering.
Despite a competitive and all-smiles start to the 2014 campaign, the partnership encountered its first hurdle at Bahrain where Hamilton and Rosberg fought tooth and nail for supremacy, with the Briton remaining at the top. However, the smiles of friendship remained crystal clear until the Monaco Grand Prix weekend, where Rosberg made an error during qualifying which prevented Hamilton from snatching pole position away from the German. Immediately question marks arose as to whether the mistake was intentional, with Hamilton ending the race weekend stating that they were no longer friends after Rosberg romped to victory.
During the break between races Hamilton tweeted a picture by his apple iPhone of the duo during their youthful years, proclaiming that they had discussed the issues and essentially made up. As the video below clearly shows, a strong friendship exists within the team which many predict will crumble as the Championship nears its conclusion. Regardless of the outcome, the spotlight is well and truly shining on the Mercedes team-mates, as the feud between friends continues at the front.
The Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have ended the opening practice session of the Bahrain Grand Prix 1st and 2nd, after another dominant display of pace from the German marque. Fernando Alonso was a close 3rd for Ferrari, despite an embarrassing moment in the pits, with Force Indiaâs Nico Hulkenberg an impressive 4th.
The opening practice session ahead of the third round of the season got underway in splendid weather conditions around the Bahrain International Circuit, as the numerous teams up and down the grid began their preparations for the weekend ahead. Three driver changes occurred throughout the paddock prior to the opening practice session, with former Caterham driver Giedo van der Garde replacing Esteban Gutierrez at Sauber, Felipe Nasr standing in for Valtteri Bottas at Williams and reigning Formula Renault 3.5 Series Champion Robin Frijns assuming driving duties at Caterham instead of Kamui Kobayashi.
Once the session officially turned green Marcus Ericsson and Jean-Eric Vergne immediately left the confines of the pit-lane to complete their first installation laps, with the majority of the grid eager to follow the duo onto the track. In traditional fashion the entire field elected to carry out installation laps during the early stages of the session, with Nico Rosberg in particular complaining of a loss of drive and a lack of power as he limped back to the pits. Meanwhile Sergio Perez also returned to the pits in the Force India, with the front of his Mercedes-powered car completely covered in flo-vis paint.
Despite the immediate rush to take to the track, the McLaren duo of Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen became the last two drivers to eventually take to the Bahrain International Circuit. Whilst Jenson Button slowly circulated for his opening two installation laps, Kevin Magnussen complained of brake issues on his car which forced him to return to the pits. Whilst the Danish rookie returned back to the pits, Caterham reserve driver Robin Frijns produced the first timed lap of the session with a 01:45.483, whereas the Sauber of Giedo van der Garde set an exceptionally slow 11:40.281.
As many more drivers elected to return to the track to begin completing their first timed laps of the weekend, Robin Frijns managed to improve slightly at the top with a 01:44.052. However, the Dutchmanâs reign was short-lived as Felipe Nasr rose to the top in the Williams with a 01:41.311. Reigning GP3 Champion Daniil Kvyat then catapulted himself to the sharp-end of the timing sheets with a 01:39.453, before the Mercedes duo of Nico Rosberg and then Lewis Hamilton shattered the opposition with the latter producing a 01:38.395. Despite the flurry of track activity as the session progressed, Felipe Massa remained the only driver yet to produce a timed lap in the Williams. Although it was thought that the Brazilian driver was suffering from mechanical issues on his Mercedes-powered car, the team confirmed that they had decided not complete a timed lap.
Eventually Felipe Massa left the confines of the pit-lane in his Williams, rising immediately up into 10th position with a 01:39.533 despite spending the majority of the session in the pit-lane. With the top three remaining relatively unchanged as the session progressed, the Caterham duo of Marcus Ericsson and reserve driver Robin Frijns continued to struggle towards the lower part of the order. Whilst Ericsson complained of a lack power along the straights, Frijns struggled greatly to control the Renault-powered car, eventually running slightly wide on the exit of Turn 15. With the duo four seconds off of the pace of Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes, it became apparent that both Caterham drivers were several tenths slower than even the fastest time produced by Mitch Evans in the GP2 practice session earlier in the day.
While both of the racing superstars have a big fan following other small town heroes seem to be gaining free followers at instagram using third party promotional services. However in context of this story this is irrelevant.
Whilst the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg remained in the confines of the pit-lane, with only fourteen laps completed between them, bizarre scenes were witnessed down in the Ferrari garage as Fernando Alonso left his garage with one soft tyre and three medium tyres mistakingly bolted to his car. The Spaniard immediately noticed the error, and stopped in the pit-lane to allow his mechanics to roll him back into the garage to rectify their amusing mistake. Once the tyre allocation had been rectified by Ferrari, Fernando Alonso asserted his authority over proceedings with a 01:37.953, whilst team-mate Kimi Raikkonen completely missed his braking point for Turn 1 and ran extensively deep.
Despite storming to the top of the timing sheets, Fernando Alonso was almost instantly thwarted by the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg, who returned to the top with a 01:37.733. As the session entered its closing stages, the improvements continued as Lewis Hamilton shot to the top with a sensational 01:37.502, a time which enabled the Briton to end the session fastest overall ahead of his German team-mate. Fernando Alonso eventually settled for 3rd fastest in the Ferrari, with Nico Hulkenberg an impressive 4th for Force India. The teams and drivers will return to the Bahrain International Circuit later in the day for the second practice session, which will take place under the floodlights for the first time.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m37.502s 14 2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m37.733s +0.231s 13 3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m37.953s +0.451s 17 4. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m38.122s +0.620s 10 5. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m38.636s +1.134s 16 6. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m38.783s +1.281s 12 7. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m38.949s +1.447s 15 8. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m39.056s +1.554s 24 9. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m39.102s +1.600s 21 10. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m39.389s +1.887s 16 11. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m39.533s +2.031s 11 12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m39.862s +2.360s 26 13. Felipe Nasr Williams-Mercedes 1m40.078s +2.576s 14 14. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m40.406s +2.904s 19 15. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m40.652s +3.150s 20 16. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m40.793s +3.291s 31 17. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m40.$89s +3.387s 20 18. Giedo van der Garde Sauber-Ferrari 1m40.913s +3.411s 20 19. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m41.036s +3.534s 24 20. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m41.794s +4.292s 20 21. Robin Frijns Caterham-Renault 1m42.417s +4.915s 35 22. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m42.711s +5.209s 21
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Nico Rosberg has ended the third and final practice session fastest for Mercedes, leading a 1-2 for the German marque with Lewis Hamilton a close 2nd. Kimi Raikkonen ended the session best of the rest for Ferrari in 3rd, over a second behind the fearsome pace of the Mercedes duo with Sebastian Vettel 4th for Red Bull.
The third and final practice session of the Malaysian Grand Prix got underway in slightly overcast weather conditions, with dark clouds looming ominously overhead as Marcus Ericsson became the first of many drivers to take to the Sepang International Circuit once the session officially got underway. The Swedish rookie was eventually followed by almost the entire field, except the Red Bulls, with many eager to finalise their preparations ahead of qualifying later in the day. Despite the sudden flurry of track activity, only installation laps were initially completed before the Lotus of Pastor Maldonado completed the first timed lap of the session with a 01:49.882.
As Pastor Maldonado made up for his lack of track time during the first two practice sessions on the Friday, with the Venezuelan ace eventually working his way down to a 01:44.622, many other drivers returned to the track in a bid to begin their own timed laps. This naturally saw the benchmark at the top tumble, as the likes of Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen rose to the sharp end of the order with the latter producing a 01:41.835 for the Scuderia. After such a competitive debut for McLaren, Kevin Magnussenâs Malaysian Grand Prix woes continued during the final practice session, with the Danish rookie complaining of a lack of power as Lewis Hamilton asserted his authority over proceedings with a 01:41.246.
Despite the ever-present threat of rain the third and final practice session continued in dry yet humid weather conditions, as Nico Rosberg bettered his team-mateâs time with a 01:40.946 as Lewis Hamilton began pushing beyond the limit and ran wide at Turn 4. With Kevin Magnussen yet to set a timed lap in the session, fellow McLaren driver Jenson Button was also struggling, as the 2009 World Champion produced a woeful 02:05.555 with the Briton complaining of a lack of rear grip on his Mercedes-powered machine. Meanwhile Lewis Hamilton returned to the top for Mercedes with a 01:40.552, as Pastor Maldonado became the first driver to elect for Pirelliâs medium tyre compound before running extremely wide at Turn 1.
With the majority of the field also deciding to switch from Pirelliâs hard compound to the medium compound, the benchmark at the top took another tumble as Kimi Raikkonen and then Nico Rosberg stormed to the top with the latter producing a dominant 01:39.008 to keep the German marque at the top of the order. As the final minutes of the session ticked away Rosbergâs time at the top remained unchallenged, with team-mate Lewis Hamilton slotting neatly into 2nd position to strengthen the German marqueâs reign at the top. During the final minutes of the session Romain Grosjean ran extensively wide at Turn 11, with the Frenchman eventually ending the session 15th after a relatively incident free hour.
The Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen ended the session 3rd fastest behind the incredibly dominant âSilver Arrowsâ of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, with reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel 4th fastest in the Red Bull albeit over one second off of the pace set by Rosberg. With all three practice sessions now over, the teams and drivers will return to the Sepang International Circuit later in the day for the all-important qualifying hour to determine the grid for the 56-lap Malaysian Grand Prix.
Picture Copyright Â© Mercedes AMG Petronas
Lewis Hamilton has bounced back from his unfortunate technical issue in practice one to lead a Mercedes 1-2 ahead of Nico Rosberg in the second practice session, with the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso 3rd. Sebastian Vettel managed to finish an impressive 4th for Red Bull, in what was another intriguing session in preparation for the Australian Grand Prix.
The second practice session for the Australian Grand Prix began in similar circumstances to the opening session, with freneticism up and down the paddock as the various drivers filed out of the pit-lane and onto the track. Adrian Sutil became the first driver to take to the track for Sauber, and was followed by former GP2 Series driver Marcus Ericsson in the Caterham. Whilst the Swede immediately returned to the pits with issues still plaguing his Renault-powered machine, Adrian Sutil elected to remain out on track to produce the first timed lap of the session with a 01:38.055.
As more drivers gradually left the confines of the pit-lane to continue with their preparations for the weekend ahead, Caterham confirmed that Kamui Kobayashi would once again not take to the Albert Park Street Circuit, with fuel pump issues still providing his Caterham mechanics with headaches. With the Leafield-based outfit enduring a tough opening day to the Australian Grand Prix weekend, the times at the top began to tumble dramatically as both Jean-Eric Vergne, Felipe Massa, Valtteri Bottas and Nico Hulkenberg momentarily rose to the top for their respective teams, with the latter producing a 01:33.094.
Whilst Nico Rosberg rose to the top for Mercedes with a 01:32.013, McLaren rookie Kevin Magnussen ran relatively wide at Turn 12 whereas Jean-Eric Vergne continued to struggle with brake issues on his Toro Rosso and ran extensively wide at Turn 3 and ran deep into the retaining gravel trap. Once again the Frenchman managed to keep his car running, as even reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel made an unusual error and skipped across the grass at Turns 1 and 2 after dipping a wheel onto the grass on the entry to Turn 1. As the session progressed Ferrari were the next to incur technical difficulties, when Kimi Raikkonen was unable to carry out a practice start at the pit exit. This momentarily hindered team-mate Fernando Alonso, who had to steer precariously around the Finn.
After failing to take to the track during practice one earlier in the day, Romain Grosjean was finally able to leave his garage during the second session for Lotus. However, the Frenchman struggled greatly throughout the 90 minutes, running wide on the exit of Turn 6 in his eagerness to make up for lost time. As attention throughout the paddock switched to race simulations on high fuel loads, Daniel Ricciardo became one of the first drivers to bolt on Pirelliâs soft tyre compound, which enabled the local hero to catapult himself to the top of the timing sheets with a 01:30.597. However, Nico Rosberg was quick to end Ricciardoâs reign at the top with the German producing a 01:29.782 on his first time with the softer rubber.
Despite a frustrating start to the day for 2008 World Champion Lewis Hamilton, the Briton was finally clocking up the miles as his preparations for the weekend ahead swung into motion. However, Hamilton found himself dangerously blocked by Toro Rosso rookie Daniil Kvyat on the entry to Turn 13, as a classic case of miscommunication between the two ensued. After this minor altercation, Lewis Hamilton fully asserted his authority at the top of the timing sheets with a 01:29.625, whereas Daniil Kvyat continued to play the role of mobile chicane by blocking Valtteri Bottas in the Williams.
As the session entered its closing stages, the field continued to focus on race simulations. In the process Sauber driver Esteban Gutierrez failed to allow Sebastian Vettel through without a fight, a decision which saw the Mexican driver mowing the grass on the exit of Turn 2 as the German stormed through. With the issue on his Ferrari rectified, Kimi Raikkonen soon returned to the action, only to glance the concrete barriers on the entry to Turns 11 and 12 in his quest to squeeze every ounce of pace out of his machine. Daniil Kvyat continued to struggle as the session progressed, with the rookie running wide at Turn 13 and skipping through the gravel.
With the second practice session nearing its conclusion, Nico Hulkenberg and Romain Grosjean suffered separate spins at Turns 9 and 6 respectively, with both drivers beaching their cars and prematurely ending their sessions. Nico Hulkenberg simply dipped a wheel onto the grass on the entry to Turn 6, whereas Romain Grosjean suffered from a more serious issue as his car violently turned to the left and struck the barrier before coming to a rest in the retaining gravel trap at Turn 9. Although both cars were cleared under double-waved yellow conditions, the classification remained unchanged as Lewis Hamilton ended the second session fastest overall ahead of Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg, with Ferrariâs Fernando Alonso 3rd. Reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel ended the session an impressive 4th, showing that Red Bull are not to be forgotten despite a troubled winter testing programme.
The 22 drivers will return to the track tomorrow for practice three, as preparations step up a gear ahead of the all-important qualifying hour later in the day.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m29.625s 37 2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m29.782s +0.157s 31 3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m30.132s +0.507s 28 4. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m30.381s +0.756s 41 5. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m30.510s +0.885s 33 6. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m30.538s +0.913s 38 7. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m30.898s +1.273s 32 8. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m30.920s +1.295s 38 9. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m31.031s +1.406s 34 10. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m31.054s +1.429s 33 11. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m31.060s +1.435s 35 12. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m31.119s +1.494s 31 13. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m31.283s +1.658s 36 14. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m32.355s +2.730s 36 15. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m32.468s +2.843s 26 16. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m32.495s +2.870s 36 17. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m33.486s +3.861s 29 18. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m33.646s +4.021s 12 19. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m34.757s +5.132s 29 20. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1 21. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 22. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault
Picture CopyrightÂ Â© Mercedes AMG Petronas