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‘Tyres’ is the buzz word at Sakhir following the first three hours of practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix. As the desert track is always coated in a fine layer of dust and sand, the lack of grip causes more wheelspin and greater rear tyre degradation.
As Nico Rosberg topped the second practice timesheets from the Red Bull duo, Hamilton fell from first place in the morning to fourth in the afternoon.
“Looking after the tyres here is going to be a real challenge,” the 2008 World Champion reported immediately after practice. “The track surface is extremely hot and the amount of energy that goes through the tyres under braking is incredible: the temperatures keep on rising until it feels just like driving on an ice-rink.
“Tyre degradation will be a big issue for everyone around here and the weekend will be all about who can look after the tyres the best. Wind direction also played a huge role today. On one lap, there’d be a headwind going into Turn 4, the next lap, it’d be a tailwind, then a crosswind. And that makes a big difference around the circuit.
“I think my fastest lap was set half an hour after Nico set the fastest time of the session and the wind was very different. In general, Mercedes looks quick. We’re there or thereabouts, but we’ll know more tomorrow. Overall, a tough day; a tough challenge, but we’re all in the same boat.”
McLaren team-mate Jenson Button ended his day in sixth spot.
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