Round four of the 2009 Formula One World Championship got underway earlier today with the first practice session at the Sakhir circuit. Like in Shanghai last weekend, the McLarens are showing revitalised pace with Lewis Hamilton going fastest and team mate Heikki Kovalainen breaking for lunch in sixth. The Williams of Nico Rosberg was high up the order as well, as were the Brawns and BMWs. Even the Ferraris managed to get both cars into the top ten.
Hamilton led comfortably and even a late surge from the BMWs of Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica couldn’t displace the Briton. It is unusual to see the Swiss-German team so high up the tables in a practice session; Mario Theissen preferring to hide pace of his team until later in the weekend. However, with perhaps not the greatest of cars in comparison to others, both BMW pilots utilised the 90 minutes of running well and finished just 0.3s shy of the leading McLaren, albeit on the soft compound.
Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello weren’t as close to the top of the table as they are used to, and Button suffered an upshift problem with his gear box. So far the box hasn’t been replaced and Brawn will want to avoid changing it as the result would be a 5 grid slot penalty. Both Ferraris showed signs of some improvement, with Felipe Massa finishing in P8 and Kimi Raikkonen in P10, although Raikkonen was lucky to escape a meeting with the barrier after he lost the F60 on the exit of T2.
Uncharacteristically, Fernando Alonso was well down the order, as were both Toyotas. This allowed the Force India cars to move up, with Adrian Sutil ending his morning in P14 and Giancarlo Fisichella in P16. The times set for the bottom ten were very close and should hopefully mean a close qualifying session tomorrow. Mark Webber and Kimi Raikkonen also set identical lap times to within a thousandth of a second, the Australian being ahead due to to setting the time first.
|1.||Lewis Hamilton McLaren||1m33.647s||19 Laps|
|2.||Nick Heidfeld BMW||1m33.907s||17 Laps|
|3.||Robert Kubica BMW||1m33.938s||17 Laps|
|4.||Nico Rosberg Williams||1m34.227s||24 Laps|
|5.||Jenson Button Brawn||1m34.434s||15 Laps|
|6.||Heikki Kovalainen McLaren||1m34.502s||24 Laps|
|7.||Rubens Barrichello Brawn||1m34.531s||18 Laps|
|8.||Felipe Massa Ferrari||1m34.589s||17 Laps|
|9.||Mark Webber Red Bull Racing||1m34.827s||21 Laps|
|10.||Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari||1m34.827s||19 Laps|
|11.||Kazuki Nakajima Williams||1m34.880s||24 Laps|
|12.||Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing||1m34.938s||21 Laps|
|13.||Nelson Piquet Jr. Renault||1m34.974s||21 Laps|
|14.||Adrian Sutil Force India||1m35.021s||18 Laps|
|15.||Jarno Trulli Toyota||1m35.036s||22 Laps|
|16.||Giancarlo Fisichella Force India||1m35.042s||16 Laps|
|17.||Timo Glock Toyota||1m35.333s||20 Laps|
|18.||Fernando Alonso Renault||1m35.348s||24 Laps|
|19.||Sebastien Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso||1m35.353s||22 Laps|
|20.||Sebastien Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso||1m35.369s||15 Laps|