It was quite a painful race and not a very enjoyable one. At the start I had a good jump, but then I had to back off and this cost me a few places. After the pit stop the car was pretty fast and the feeling was good; at that point we were behind, but I could see the other cars at the end of the straight. The safety car helped us, at that time we had fresh tires. I would say it took us back in the race. In the end I had a decent speed with the Mediums against the guys that were on the same tires, but getting close to them and try to follow was really tricky. For sure we were faster than Valtteri, but when you get close it becomes more difficult, you lose so much grip in the process and lose so much downforce, especially in this kind of circuit. I just couldn’t get enough of a run on him. Today we take the third place, but obviously when you start from the first row it’s far from ideal. We’ll try to do better next time.
Q: Kimi, wow, it looked like you were a bit out of position. It looked like you were struggling a bit. They kept you out a long time before the pit stop. Then the safety car played into your hands and you had great speed and you got yourself back onto the podium.
Kimi Raikkonen: Yeah, I think we made a good start and then got, unfortunately, blocked a bit and passed in the first corners. I struggled a little bit following people in the beginning. On my own I wasn’t too bad, but far from ideal at the start of the race and then obviously we stayed very long out. A little bit of luck with the safety car. I had good speed on the mediums but in the end we would have needed the soft tyres to really go for it. But I think I was kind of OK in the end, but once I got close I had much more speed than Valtteri but once you get close it’s so difficult to follow people, to get a good run you need much better tyres to get that proper run and you can kind of offset yourself. But I’ll take what I got, because at one point it didn’t look good at all.
Q: Kimi, can we get your thoughts on the pecking order now. Because Ferrari were so quick in qualifying yesterday, yet here you are in third place.
KR: It’s very hard to say. I think if you ask anybody, it’s a bit tricky to give you an answer. I think today a lot of the end results depended on whether you had better tyres than others, when you could offset yourself to the others. Obviously, it’s part of the game. A big part of the game. And here it made a big difference. And the safety car playing in there. So, like pure speed, with everybody on the same tyres… it’s difficult, very difficult to say in a race. I think it’s nice like that, for everybody to watch, because nobody really knows, everybody would love to know, nobody really has because it changes from race to race. And such a small difference makes a big difference in the end results. I think you just have to wait and see. I think it might change from race to race and who runs what tyres.
Q: (Keren Wang – Top Driver) Daniel, why didn’t you share your shoey with Valtteri and Kimi?
DR: To be honest, actually I don’t know if I’ve ever offered it to Kimi but to be honest I sprayed most of the champagne so I didn’t have that much more and obviously I saw my number one mechanic Genty (Chris Gent) and he was the priority at the time. There wasn’t enough to go round today unfortunately. Hopefully there’s plenty more opportunities.
Q: Kimi, would you accept a shoey?
KR: Lucky for us…
DR: Maybe next time. It’s a privilege.
Formula 1: Kimi Raikkonen unsure why he lost China pole to Vettel
Kimi Raikkonen has no explanation for losing Chinese Grand Prix pole position to Ferrari Formula 1 team-mate Sebastian Vettel at the last moment in qualifying.
Raikkonen was quicker than Vettel in Q2, on provisional pole after the first runs in Q3 and posted the fastest first and second sectors of the session on his final lap.
The Finn failed to improve in the final sector and only marginally lowered his best time, while Vettel overturned the deficit from the first two sectors to snatch pole by less than a tenth.
Asked by Autosport what happened in the final sector, Raikkonen said: "Nothing really happened. I lost some time, but I don’t know. It wasn’t like I did some big mistake.
"It was close [to Vettel], close enough to make a difference. Not ideal. Tomorrow’s the day, we’ll see what happens."
Vettel said he knew he would be able to make a decent improvement after lapping 0.161s slower than Raikkonen on the first runs.
He was "too keen" exiting Turns 3 and 6 on that lap but said the car had been "unbelievable" throughout qualifying and peaked in Q3.
"Right from the first lap in the first part of qualifying I was really happy," Vettel said.
"We didn’t really do much on the car, I didn’t have to fight to find [the right set-up]. Usually you change quite a lot.
"I knew I had a bit more and the last lap I got it all together."
Valtteri Bottas qualified the best of the Mercedes third, more than half a second off the pace.
Vettel said the gap was a surprise but expects a "long, tough race" between Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull, which was slightly slower than Mercedes and locked out the third row.
"To have that much of a gap is a surprise," said Vettel.
"It’s also a track where you need to find that sweet spot and if you are a little bit out you easily drop a little bit of time.
"I wouldn’t be surprised if tomorrow that gap disappears and it’s a very tight race.
"Obviously, I wouldn’t mind if it stays there, but I think it will be a tight race among the top three teams."
Chinese GP qualifying: Vettel denies Ferrari partner Raikkonen pole
Sebastian Vettel pipped Ferrari Formula 1 team-mate Kimi Raikkonen to pole position for the Chinese Grand prix by less than a tenth of a second.
Raikkonen looked set to top qualifying after setting the fastest time on the first runs in Q3, and was ahead of his team-mate in the first two sectors of his final lap.
But Raikkonen’s slow pace in the final sector gave Vettel a shot and the German set the best final sector time of the session to snatch pole by 0.087s.
Both the Ferrari and Mercedes drivers set their Q2 times using the soft Pirellis, so will start the race on that compound while the rest of the top 10 will all use ultrasofts
The Mercedes pair never looked to be a serious pole position threat, with neither Valtteri Bottas nor Lewis Hamilton able to improve on their first-run times in Q3 and both having to abandon their final runs.
Bottas was third, half-a-tenth faster than Hamilton, with the latter only 0.12s faster than the lead Red Bull of Max Verstappen.
Daniel Ricciardo was sixth after joining the first segment of qualifying late thanks to a turbo problem in free practice, lapping 0.152s slower than his team-mate.
Nico Hulkenberg was best-of-the rest for Renault. 1.473s off the pace, ahead of Force India’s Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz Jr.
Romain Grosjean was slowest in Q3, ending qualifying 10th and 0.036s off Sainz’s Renault.
Haas driver Kevin Magnussen was eliminated in Q2 for the first time this season after a poor middle sector on his final lap prevented him from improving on his first-run time.
This allowed Sainz to relegate him to 11th place by 16 thousandths of a second, with Force India’s Esteban Ocon not far behind.
The McLarens of Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne gave each other a tow on the long back straight, but it wasn’t enough to haul the Renault-powered cars into Q2 and left them 13th and 14th respectively.
Toro Rosso driver Brendon Hartley was slowest in Q2 and ended up 15th, just under three tenths slower than Vandoorne.
Sergey Sirotkin was knocked out in Q1 at the last minute when Sainz jumped up the order lap and pushed the Williams driver down to 16th place in the dying moments of the first stage of qualifying.
Sirotkin had looked to be a serious Q2 threat, but failed to match his personal best pace in the first sector and ended up half-a-tenth slower than Hartley.
Bahrain GP hero Pierre Gasly was 17th fastest, giving away enough time in the middle sector relative to his previous best to fail to make the cut, admitting after the session that overnight set-up changes had made life more difficult for him in qualifying.
Lance Stroll, in the second Williams, was 18th fastest ahead of the Sauber of Charles Leclerc.
Leclerc survived a spin after losing the rear on the power exiting the final left-hander on his second run to relegate team-mate Marcus Ericsson to last on their final runs thanks to the Swede’s poor final sector pace.
Ericsson has been summoned by the stewards for an investigation into not slowing under the yellow flags thrown for Leclerc’s spin.
|5||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m31.796s||0.701s|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m31.948s||0.853s|
|8||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m32.758s||1.663s|
|12||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m33.057s||–|
|15||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m33.795s||–|
|17||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m34.101s||–|
Formula 1: Vettel tops final practice as Red Bull hits trouble
Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time in final practice for Formula 1’s Chinese Grand Prix as Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo suffered a spectacular Renault engine failure.
Vettel headed a one-two for Ferrari after jumping team-mate Kimi Raikkonen in the final third of the session, but his former F1 team will head into qualifying with serious concerns.
Ricciardo pulled up just after the halfway mark in the one-hour session, exiting the penultimate corner with his Red Bull belching bursts of flame and plumes of smoke.
A virtual safety car was deployed as the marshals dealt with Ricciardo’s latest Renault-induced disappointment, which comes less than a week after he retired from the Bahrain Grand Prix with an energy store failure.
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner told Sky Sports that "disappointing is probably an understatement" after the latest problem on only the third weekend of the season.
"I think we’ve got a suspected turbo failure," he said. "That is what the analysis is at the moment. Whether its damaged the combustion engine only time will tell."
Ricciardo’s team-mate Max Verstappen ended up fourth-fastest, splitting the two Mercedes, but also aired concerns to his team over the radio.
He declared "every time I push to the limiter I lose speed" and compared it to his feeling in Azerbaijan last year, when he eventually retired with an engine failure.
Heavy rain after Friday practice, which continued overnight, and a cold and overcast morning made track conditions poor at the start of the session, although there was no delay in cars hitting the track.
Raikkonen was first to set a lap time and Nico Hulkenberg briefly held top spot for Renault before speeds rapidly increased and Ferrari established itself at the head of the leaderboard.
The two Ferrari drivers both had spells on top before the halfway point of the one-hour session, with Vettel holding the advantage at that point on a 1m33.689s.
Raikkonen then surpassed Lewis Hamilton’s Friday benchmark on a 1m33.469s, before Vettel posted a 1m33.018s with just over 15 minutes to go. Hamilton had a messy session, twice running onto the wet astroturf on the exit of the Turn 9 and 10 double left-hander.
His second trip wide was more dramatic, running all four wheels off-track on the exit of Turn 10 and spinning wildly before coming to a rest facing the wrong way on the edge of the circuit.
Verstappen then went fourth, despite his engine concerns, just behind the lead Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas, while Kevin Magnussen took advantage of the absent Ricciardo being shuffled back to 14th to take sixth for Haas.
Magnussen’s team-mate Romain Grosjean propped up the timesheets after stopping mid-session with fiery rear brakes.
The Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon, Carlos Sainz Jr’s Renault and Sergey Sirotkin’s Williams completed the top 10.
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m33.969s||0.951s||14|
|7||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m34.445s||1.427s||14|
|8||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m34.456s||1.438s||16|
|14||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m34.991s||1.973s||20|
|15||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m35.061s||2.043s||4|
|16||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m35.079s||2.061s||16|
Chinese GP: Lewis Hamilton 0.007s faster than Kimi Raikkonen in FP2
Lewis Hamilton pipped Kimi Raikkonen to the fastest time in the second Formula 1 free practice session for the Chinese Grand Prix by just seven-thousandths of a second.
Raikkonen set the pace on the first runs in the session on soft Pirellis, just over a tenth-of-a-second ahead of Hamilton.
The Mercedes driver then became the first frontrunner to complete a qualifying simulation on ultrasofts to go top with just over an hour of the 90-minute session remaining.
Hamilton, who had a brief off during his first run after locking up while going past Esteban Ocon’s Force India and another late in the session when back on softs, set his best session time of 1m33.482s despite an oversteery moment in the final corner.
Raikkonen was the last of the frontrunners to bolt on ultrasofts, ending up seven-thousandths slower and relegating the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas to third place – just 0.033s adrift of Hamilton’s pace.
The Ferrari driver looked to have the pace to take top spot but had to go around the Sauber of Marcus Ericsson into Turn 11, which potentially cost him enough to make the difference between first and second.
Sebastian Vettel, in the second Ferrari, was fourth with the top four drivers covered by just 0.108s.
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen was 0.341s off the pace in fifth place, while team-mate Daniel Ricciardo struggled to ninth, 1.075s down having complained about his throttle pedal map and brakes during the session.
Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg was best of the rest in sixth place having been as high as third early in the qualifying simulations.
He lapped 0.145s fastest than Haas driver Kevin Magnussen, with the second Renault of Carlos Sainz Jr ending up eighth.
Fernando Alonso was 10th fastest for McLaren, 1.150s off the pace, having benefitted from a tow from team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne, who was on an in-lap, on the long back straight.
Force India driver Sergio Perez was 11th ahead of Bahrain Grand Prix hero Pierre Gasly’s Toro Rosso, with Ocon 13th.
Vandoorne was 14th fastest ahead of Brendon Hartley and Sergey Sirotkin.
Vandoorne’s session came to an early end with just under 15 minutes remaining when he stopped on track with a loose wheel.
Romain Grosjean had a spin onto the runoff at Turn 11 on his performance run, ending up 18th fastest behind the Saubers of Marcus Ericsson and Charles Leclerc.
Lance Stroll was slowest having also spun on his qualifying simulation at the Turn 8 right hander, saying "I just lost the rear" over the radio.
Light rain fell in the closing stages of the session, although this was far too late to have any impact on the overall order, with Alonso, Hartley, Gasly, Perez, Ocon and Ericsson all briefly taking to the track on intermediate tyres.
Ericsson suffered a spin at the hairpin in the final minute, complaining about the brake map over the radio.
|5||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m33.823s||0.341s||26|
|9||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m34.557s||1.075s||26|
|11||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m34.792s||1.310s||30|
|12||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m34.849s||1.367s||33|
|13||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m34.874s||1.392s||30|
|15||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m35.333s||1.851s||37|
Chinese GP: Lewis Hamilton fastest in FP1 ahead of Kimi Raikkonen
Lewis Hamilton enjoyed a comfortable advantage over Kimi Raikkonen in the opening practice session for Formula 1’s Chinese Grand Prix.
The Mercedes driver was more than three tenths clear at the top of the times on Friday morning despite only using soft tyres compared to the Ferrari’s ultrasofts at the Shanghai circuit.
Raikkonen at least denied Mercedes a one-two, with Valtteri Bottas trailing Hamilton throughout the session and eventually dumped to third, almost half a second behind his team-mate.
Williams driver Lance Stroll was the first to record a time 15 minutes into the opening session on an overcast and chilly morning, but Mercedes was comfortably on top at the halfway mark.
Hamilton’s mid-session benchmark of 1m34.962s was set despite a slower middle sector than his previous lap and a slide exiting the final corner.
Times tumbled when the field returned to the ever-improving track, with Fernando Alonso the first to improve, leaping to fifth – one second off the pace at the time – with his first ultrasoft-tyre run of the day in the McLaren.
Nico Hulkenberg, running mediums, swiftly took that place by two tenths of a second, and his works Renault team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr rose to third on softs on a 1m35.616s.
More significant improvements swiftly followed, first as Bottas posted a 1m34.661s to briefly jump to the top of the times.
Hamilton, on fresh softs like his team-mate, resumed control almost immediately however, lapping nearly seven tenths faster as he snuck below the 1m34s barrier on a 1m33.999s.
His next attempt was scuppered by a Turn 11 spin just after posting the best time in the middle sector, and his Mercedes ended up facing the wrong way on the run-off.
Bottas pumped in another two fliers and improved his time but it was not enough to maintain Mercedes’ one-two.
Raikkonen split the Silver Arrows with an ultrasoft-assisted 1m34.358s to bump Bottas to third, just ahead of Daniel Ricciardo.
Max Verstappen was fifth despite spinning into the gravel on the outside of the final corner before the start of his first ultrasoft lap.
He resumed but, having flat-spotted that set of tyres, ended up 0.15s slower than his team-mate.
Sebastian Vettel ended up a subdued sixth, half a second behind Raikkonen with his best time on ultrasofts, as Haas claimed comfortable best-of-the-rest honours.
Kevin Magnussen used ultrasoft tyres to take seventh for the American team, more than four tenths clear of Sainz’s soft-shod Renault.
Romain Grosjean and Nico Hulkenberg (on softs, like Sainz) backed up their team-mates in ninth and 10th respectively.
Alonso was shuffled down to 12th behind Pierre Gasly’s Toro Rosso-Honda, which used soft tyres to Alonso’s ultrasofts.
It was a tricky session for McLaren, as Alonso’s team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne ended up 18th on the times after a trip through the Turn 10 gravel after losing the rear mid-corner.
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m34.537s||0.538s||22|
|5||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m34.668s||0.669s||22|
|11||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m36.037s||2.038s||21|
|13||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m36.051s||2.052s||28|
|14||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m36.351s||2.352s||32|
|16||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m36.715s||2.716s||23|
Sebastian Vettel wins Bahrain GP in tense finish with Valtteri Bottas
Sebastian Vettel resisted a late charge from Valtteri Bottas to win a fascinating Bahrain Grand Prix and make it two wins from two races in the 2018 Formula 1 season.
The Ferrari driver held on in a grandstand finish as Bottas, on mediums to Vettel’s fading soft tyres, just failed to steal the victory.
Lewis Hamilton recovered from a grid penalty to complete the podium after Kimi Raikkonen’s hopes were dashed during a pitstop that left a Ferrari mechanic hurt and forced him to retire.
Vettel held the lead at the start as Bottas mugged Raikkonen into Turn 1, and Vettel built a lead of more than three seconds over the first stint.
Bottas began to claw back time and was just two seconds back when Ferrari brought the race leader in for a change of tyres.
Vettel switched to softs and Raikkonen pitted a lap later as Bottas continued for two more laps, with the Ferraris benefiting from the power of fresher rubber.
When Bottas finally stopped, taking on mediums, Vettel’s lead was north of eight seconds and Raikkonen had closed back in on the Mercedes.
The lead trio held station for several laps, only really disrupted when Vettel caught the longer-running Hamilton – who had risen from ninth – and had to wait to pass the Mercedes.
Raikkonen then made a second stop that threatened to inject a strategic variable into the lead fight but ended up removing him from the picture.
The Finn pulled away before the left-rear had been changed and struck a mechanic’s leg, while Raikkonen stopped in the pitlane with three new tyres and the unchanged old one on his car and retired.
On-track Vettel appeared to be preparing for a two-stop race but his commitment to a one-stop became clear as his pace held up and Bottas failed to make significant inroads.
The gap dipped below five seconds heading towards the final 10 laps, and suddenly Vettel’s lead began to quickly diminish.
Bottas entered DRS range with two laps to go but a half-hearted look at Turn 1 on the final lap was as close as he got.
Hamilton finished 8.5s adrift of the lead duo in third, with Red Bull the only missing ingredient after both its driver’s races imploded in the first couple of laps.
Max Verstappen squeezed Hamilton too hard exiting Turn 1 after passing him at the start of the second lap damaged his left-rear wheel, which caused a puncture.
He got back to the pits and had the tyres changed, but parked up shortly after with a differential problem.
Team-mate Daniel Ricciardo’s race ended shortly after Verstappen picked up a puncture when his car shut down exiting the Turn 8 hairpin.
Red Bull’s junior team afforded it reason to be cheerful though: Pierre Gasly was an incredible fourth place for Toro Rosso on only the team’s second start with Honda power.
Gasly kept clear of the squabbling Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg, who clashed through Turn 2 over sixth on the opening lap but somehow escaped without damage, and was faultless for the remainder of the grand prix to bank his first points in F1 in style.
Magnussen then survived a near-miss with team-mate Romain Grosjean, who was out of sync on old tyres, at Turn 2 in the second half of the race to finish fifth.
Fernando Alonso leapt from 13th to ninth on the opening lap and drove a strong race after McLaren’s "astonishing" poor performance in qualifying.
He caught Hulkenberg’s Renault in the closing stages but had to settle for seventh, ahead of team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne who used medium tyres to good effect to climb to eighth after his second stop.
Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson banked his first points since the 2015 Italian Grand Prix in ninth place after running an extremely long first stint on softs and switching to mediums to execute a one-stop strategy to good effect.
Esteban Ocon completed the points finishers in 10th.
|4||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m02.234s||57|
|7||Fernando Alonso||McLaren/Renault||1 Lap||56|
|8||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren/Renault||1 Lap||56|
|9||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber/Ferrari||1 Lap||56|
|10||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1 Lap||56|
|11||Carlos Sainz||Renault||1 Lap||56|
|12||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1 Lap||56|
|13||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Honda||1 Lap||56|
|14||Charles Leclerc||Sauber/Ferrari||1 Lap||56|
|15||Romain Grosjean||Haas/Ferrari||1 Lap||56|
|16||Lance Stroll||Williams/Mercedes||1 Lap||56|
|17||Sergey Sirotkin||Williams/Mercedes||1 Lap||56|
|–||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||Collision||3|
|–||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||Electrical||1|
Ferrari F1 mechanic suffers broken leg in Kimi Raikkonen pit incident
Ferrari has confirmed the Formula 1 mechanic who was hit by Kimi Raikkonen’s car in the botched pitstop at the Bahrain Grand Prix has suffered a broken leg.
The pitcrew member was tasked with fitting a new left rear tyre to Raikkonen’s car but, following a problem with the removal of the wheel already on it, he was still in position and had not moved when Raikkonen was released.
The mechanic was thrown to the ground, and was immediately attended to by paramedics before being taken to the track’s medical centre.
A tweet from Ferrari later said the mechanic has suffered two fractured bones.
Ferrari tweeted: "Apparently a shinbone and fibula fracture, our thoughts are with Francesco, stay strong #BahrainGP"
Speaking after the race, Raikkonen said he was unaware there had been a problem at the stop until he was told over the radio to bring his car to a halt.
"I go when the light is green and I don’t see what happens behind," said Raikkonen, who stopped his car in the pitlane straight after the incident and retired from the race.
"Unfortunately he got hurt. But you know my job is to go when the light changes – more [than] that, I don’t know really. Hopefully he’s OK."
Seb and Kimi secure front row lock-out: “The team deserves this result”
Sakhir – At the end of a tense qualifying session, Seb Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen flashed through the finish line of the Bahrain International Circuit to take first and second spot on tomorrow’s starting grid. It is the 214th pole position for Scuderia Ferrari and the 59th front row lock-out since 1950, while Sebastian claimed his sixth pole for the Cavallino squad and 51st overall. On a track that calls for power, traction and tire management, the two SF71Hs proved their worth and the whole team gave their best.
Kimi’s last qualifying attempt was slightly hampered by traffic, but nonetheless was good enough for second: “My last run was far from perfect; there was traffic and we couldn’t improve. We did not give ourselves a proper chance to do the best we could. The car had a lot of speed, but we did not take full advantage of that. I’m sure there was a lot more to come. Anyway, we start the race in a good position, so I’m a bit disappointed today but that’s how it goes.. Tomorrow is another day and we should have a good car; we hope for a better result. The key point will be tire management; it will be tricky for everybody. We’ll try to make the best of it, and I’ll go as fast as I can”.
Bahrain F1 qualifying: Sebastian Vettel beats Kimi Raikkonen to pole
Sebastian Vettel claimed pole position for the Bahrain Grand Prix after pipping Ferrari Formula 1 team-mate Kimi Raikkonen by 0.143s.
Raikkonen had the advantage after the first runs in Q3 by 0.095s from Vettel, but failed to improve on his second run.
Vettel, who had a precautionary change of the control electronics of his power unit ahead of qualifying, then banged in a lap of 1m27.958s using the supersofts that were the tyre of choice to secure his 51st F1 pole position.
Valtteri Bottas was third, just 23 thousandths of a second behind Raikkonen after making a two-tenths improvement on his final lap.
That put him just ahead of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who has a five-place grid penalty so is set to line up ninth.
Hamilton was the only driver to set his Q2 time using soft-compound Pirellis, so he will start the race on that tyre.
Daniel Ricciardo was fifth fastest, almost two-tenths slower than Hamilton and nearly a second clear of the chasing pack.
Pierre Gasly put in a superb performance to secure his best qualifying result in F1 with sixth place, and is set to move up to fifth on the grid thanks to Hamilton’s penalty.
Kevin Magnussen was just 29 thousandths of a second slower in seventh, with the Renaults of Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr sandwiching the Force India of Esteban Ocon in ninth.
Brendon Hartley missed out on making it two Toro Rossos in Q3 by less than a tenth of a second, after a small mistake in the final corner on his only effort in Q2 using fresh supersofts left him 11th.
That put him just ahead of Sergio Perez in the second Force India, with the McLarens of Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne never looking to have top 10 pace and ending up 13th and 14th after struggling for grip.
Max Verstappen lost the rear of his Red Bull and spun exiting the slow Turn 2 left-hander while on the fourth lap of his Q1 run.
He hit the barrier with his front wing and front left wheel, which led to the session being red flagged with five-and-half minutes remaining.
Verstappen ended Q1 fourth fastest, so technically made it to Q2, but was unable to run again after the crash and was classified 15th.
Romain Grosjean was fastest of those eliminated in Q1 despite setting an identical lap time to Alonso in the first segment of qualifying.
The Haas driver’s late 1m30.530s lap during the five-and-a-half minutes of running after the red flag caused by Verstappen left him down in 16th and ranked behind Alonso, thanks to the McLaren driver setting his time first.
Grosjean subsequently complained over the radio about his outlap being "a mess".
Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson failed to improve on his third and final Q1 run and ended up 17th ahead of Williams driver Sergey Sirotkin, who had to rely on his first-run time.
Charles Leclerc declared himself to be "so stupid" over the radio after spinning at the final corner on his last lap and ending up 19th.
His best lap, set on the second of three sets of tyres as the Sauber drivers and Hartley managed to squeeze in two runs before the red flag, was just 0.006s slower than Sirotkin.
Lance Stroll was slowest, the Williams driver just under a tenth slower than Leclerc.
Bahrain GP grid
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m28.398s||0.440s|
|5||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m29.329s||1.371s|
|8||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m29.874s||1.916s|
|11||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m30.105s||2.147s|
|12||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m30.156s||2.198s|
|15||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||–||–|
Bahrain GP F1 practice: Kimi Raikkonen fastest ahead of Red Bulls in FP3
Kimi Raikkonen’s strong form ahead of Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying continued as the Ferrari driver set the pace again in Saturday practice.
Raikkonen, who was quickest on Friday, enjoyed an advantage of half a second in FP3 as some of his rivals failed to produce representative lap times.
Teams were hesitant to hit the track given qualifying and Sunday’s race will be held in different conditions, and it took 20 minutes for Carlos Sainz Jr to end the wait for a lap time.
Sainz’s 1m33.893s was never going to be a benchmark that stood for long, and Valtteri Bottas’s supersoft-shod Mercedes quickly displaced the Renault with a 1m30.781s.
Lewis Hamilton could not better his team-mate’s time and lapped just under two-tenths slower, allowing Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to nip between the two Mercedes on soft tyres just after the half-hour mark.
Ferrari came to the fore with 20 minutes of the session remaining.
Sebastian Vettel was first to strike, emerging from the pits after repair work to fix the right-hand side bargeboard’s lower fixing, which he had broken on a kerb.
The four-time champion used supersofts to edge just ahead of Bottas on a 1m30.719s, but with yesterday’s best times being in the 1m29s there always looked like room for improvement.
Raikkonen did not take long to prove that, setting the best time in all three sectors to end up on a 1m29.868s.
His effort was marginally slower than his Friday benchmark but enough to put him well clear as the rest of the order was only settled in the final minutes.
Track temperature fell from 40C to 36C by the end of the session, which is when most of the field posted their best times.
Hamilton looked to have shaded Vettel and Bottas for best-of-the rest honours, despite running very wide exiting the final corner, but Verstappen snatched second in the final five minutes.
Verstappen then almost collided with Raikkonen at Turn 1 when the Finn emerged from the pitlane just after Verstappen had completed his flying lap.
Daniel Ricciardo replicated his team-mate’s late charge by lapping 0.06s slower moments later, which bumped Hamilton – whose five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change has been confirmed – to fourth.
Vettel and Bottas did not return to the track after setting their respective bests, but the Renaults of Nico Hulkenberg and Sainz left it late to claim seventh and eighth.
Pierre Gasly continued Toro Rosso-Honda’s strong weekend with the ninth-best time, ahead of Fernando Alonso’s McLaren.
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m30.393s||0.525s||8|
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m30.452s||0.584s||8|
|9||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m31.438s||1.570s||18|
|11||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m31.460s||1.592s||18|
|13||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m31.554s||1.686s||17|
|14||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m31.564s||1.696s||14|