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Red Bull's Dutch driver Max Verstappen drives during the second practice session ahead of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in the city of Sakhir. Image Credit: AFP

Sakhir: World champion Max Verstappen set the fastest time in the second Formula One practice session at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix last night ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.

Red Bull’s Dutch driver clocked 1min 31.936sec before Leclerc managed a fastest lap that was 0.087s off the pace, with Ferrari team-mate Sainz jumping to third later on at 0.584 sec.

Mercedes’ George Russell was fourth while Fernando Alonso was fifth for Alpine.

Brake problem

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, hampered by a brake problem, was ninth fastest.

The seven-time world champion wound up 1.2 seconds adrift of Verstappen who ended the Briton’s reign at last season’s furious finale in Abu Dhabi.

Earlier France’s Pierre Gasly set the pace for AlphaTauri in the first practice session of 2022. The third practice session will take place later today ahead of qualifying for the race tomorrow.