Formula One

 
         === Mercedes aiming for another win this season in Bahrain ===
 
 Sakhir,  Bahrain (SportsNetwork.com)  - Lewis Hamilton from Mercedes has begun
 his  weekend  in Bahrain in the  same fashion that he concluded last weekend's
 race in Malaysia, setting the pace ahead of his teammate, Nico Rosberg.
 
 Mercedes  has been the  dominant team up to this point in the 2014 Formula One
 season.  Rosberg won  the March 16 season-opening Australian Grand Prix, while
 Hamilton  claimed the  victory in last Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix. Rosberg,
 who  finished  second to  Hamilton in  Malaysia, is the  current leader in the
 world championship point standings.
 
 This  Sunday's Bahrain Grand  Prix will be the first time this race is held at
 nighttime.
 
 On  Friday,  Hamilton topped  the time  charts in  both practice sessions. The
 Briton  led the  way in P1 with a  lap in 1 minute, 37.502 seconds and set the
 pace  again in  P2, turning a lap  in 1:34.325. Rosberg was second quickest in
 the two sessions.
 
 Hamilton  has yet to  win the Bahrain GP in six previous attempts. He finished
 second in this race during his 2007 rookie season and placed third in the 2010
 event.
 
 "It  was great to kick-start my season with a win in Malaysia," Hamilton said.
 "Taking  a one-two was  also a fantastic result for the team, and I can't wait
 to see what we can do in Bahrain. I've finished on the podium here a couple of
 times  here, but for one reason or another, I've never managed to get the win.
 Until  last week,  it was  the same  story for  me with  Malaysia. So  fingers
 crossed this can be the year of breaking those cycles."
 
 Rosberg's best finish in the Bahrain GP is fifth (2010 and '12). He started on
 pole but finished ninth in last year's event here.
 
 "The  first  two races have been  a great start  to my season, and I'm already
 looking  forward  to being  back in the  car and carrying  on that momentum in
 Bahrain,"  Rosberg  said. "It's a great  track, and I really enjoy driving it.
 I've  never had  much luck on race  weekends here, but it's definitely the one
 I'm best prepared for this year."
 
 Hamilton  and Rosberg  were very  quick in  Bahrain during  winter testing  in
 February and March.
 
 Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was third fastest in the first two practices for the
 Bahrain  GP. Alonso has  won this event three times (2005, '06 and '10), which
 is more than any other driver.
 
 Sebastian  Vettel from Red  Bull has won the last two Bahrain GPs. Vettel, the
 four-time  defending  world champion,  retired early  in Australia but bounced
 back nicely in Malaysia with a third-place finish.
 
 "The  track  here is  quite tricky,  as you have  got a  lot of straights, and
 therefore  we have  got to  save quite  a lot  of fuel  on Sunday  compared to
 Malaysia,"  Vettel  said. "Already  in testing  and for sure  at the first two
 races,  we  have seen  that Mercedes  has the strongest  package. They are way
 quicker  than  us on the  straights, so  it will be  difficult to keep up with
 them.
 
 "But  a very  positive thing that we have  seen in the first two races is that
 our  car has  potential, so it is up to  us now to get the best out of what we
 have at the moment."
 
 Vettel  was 10th  on  the time  charts  in  P1 (1:39.389)  and  seventh in  P2
 (1:35.606).
 
 Series: Formula One. Date: Sunday, April 6. Race: Bahrain Grand Prix. Site:
 Bahrain International Circuit. Track: 3.195-mile (5.412-kilometer), 15-turn
 road course. Start Time: 11 a.m. ET. Laps: 57. Miles: 182.115 (308.238 km).
 2013 Winner: Sebastian Vettel. Television: NBC Sports Network.
 
 04/04 15:35:27 ET

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