Rosberg Dominates Friday Practice Sessions, McLaren Springs A Surprise

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Nico Rosberg topped the timing sheets in both free practice sessions on Friday as he dominated the rest of the field, including his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton, who ended up second in both practice sessions.

Mercedes topped the timing sheets in the first practice on soft tyres setting a lap time of1:32.292 as he topped his 2015 pole setting lap by 0.277s and outpaced his championship rival and teammate Hamilton by half a second.

Both Mercedes drivers were streets ahead of the rest of the competition as the closest driver to Merc duo was Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen who set a lap time 1:34.128, 1.834s behind Rosberg.

The next ten spots were bunched up as Daniel Ricciardo in 4th was just a second ahead of Jenson Button in 14th.

The first free practice saw McLaren test driver Stoffel Vandoorne make his F1 debut in place of the injured Fernando Alonso.

The McLaren driver finished over 4 seconds behind Rosberg in 18th, while Force India's test driver Antonio Celis finished 21st with a lap time of 1:36.392.

The second free practice session saw both Mercedes drivers beat the previous lap record of 1:31.447 set by McLaren Test driver Pedro de la Rosa in 2005.

Rosberg set a desert scorching time of 1:31.001 with Hamilton 0.241s behind with a lap time of 1:31.242.

However, it wasn't the record breaking runs of Rosberg and Hamilton that set the tongues wagging in Bahrain.

Jenson Button and McLaren surprised the whole grid by claiming third with a 1:32.281 lap as Honda flexed its power for the first time since its return to F1.

Button was later heard joking on the team radio after his fast run, "I found the go-faster button." 

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