OPINION: Ominous practice pace shows how far Mercedes have come..

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As the Paddock winds down after Friday’s running for the 2016 Bahrain Grand Prix, we are left with a few things to ponder going into tomorrow.

Today’s running saw some truly stunning lap times been set by the Mercedes team. Nico Rosberg topped both sessions and seemed the more comfortable out of the two Mercedes drivers.

Having said that Lewis Hamilton was only 2 tenths behind in both sessions, so you can assume he will be reasonably happy with the way the day went.

One of the main things that struck me from this session is that Mercedes continue to find ways to amaze. Just when you think the field has closed up, the gap has closed, their backs are up against the wall, they always respond in stunning and dominating fashion!

A lot of people will say “It’s only a practice session, wait till qualifying” but there are still things that you can take from practice that will be relevant for this weekend.

The general consensus from those two practice sessions is that Mercedes are blisteringly quick. The WO7 looks absolutely nailed to the track and is setting significantly faster lap times than her two predecessors.


Fastest Practice Times: Bahrain 2014 – 16

2014:
 
FP1: 1:37.502 – Lewis
FP2: 1:34.325 – Lewis
 
2015:
 
FP1: 1:37.827 – Kimi
FP2: 1:34.647 – Nico
 
2016:
 
FP1: 1:32.294 – Nico
FP2: 1:31.001 – Nico
 
Pole times: 2014 & 2015
 
2014: 1:33.185 – Nico
2015: 1:32.571 – Lewis

The time difference is staggering between the three machines, each one dominant in its own right and deserving of its place at the front of the field. Just looking at those times, the ominous practice pace today shows how far Mercedes have come in the hybrid era.

Nico was only a thousandth of a second off being in the 1m30s bracket and for Mercedes to be setting those times so early into the weekend shows you that they mean business right from the off!

After today,  Nico will surely take this confidence into tomorrow, so where does this leave Lewis? As I mentioned earlier, he was only two tenths off in both sessions, so it is very much still all to play for between both drivers going into qualifying!

The battle will be won and lost this weekend with the driver who makes the least mistakes. Judging by what’s happened you would expect the fight to be between both drivers for pole position tomorrow.

One mistake could be the difference between lining up first or second on the grid. While this may seem inconsequential, qualifying has defined the last two Bahrain Grand Prix’s.

Will it define a third this weekend? Only one way to find out!

Photo Credit: Mercedes AMG Petronas 

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You can also follow what I get up to by following me on Twitter and Instagram @NicoAaronUgbaja

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