The winter is over, the engines have been fired up and drivers have taken to the race track in anger for the first time in 2010. The opening practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix completed earlier and it was the first time we all got to see the cars on the track together. The times set though are still varying due to fuel loads and as with all practice sessions, it is nigh-on impossible to gauge where everybody is in relation to each other.
Perhaps surprisingly though, it was Adrian Sutil who went fastest, beating the top teams and top drivers to head the timing sheet. Sutil’s laptime, 1m56.583s, was 0.2s faster than Fernando Alonso who showed good pace in the Ferrari. Of course, the times are greater than those set last year due to the new configuration being used at the Sakhir circuit.
Being the opening session, there were a few problems for many drivers and the track was very green, having not been used for a while and the wind blowing sand over the tarmac. Three drivers failed to set times, one of whom didn’t even get out of the garage. Lucas Di Grassi completed two laps but neither were timed, likewise Bruno Senna completed three un-timed tours of Sakhir. Karun Chandhok remained in the pitlane, the Hispania Racing car having only passed scrutineering this morning.
Other notable positions on the timing sheet include Felipe Massa, the Brazilian returning to full-time racing after his accident at the Hungarian Grand Prix last year. Massa went P4 in the sister Ferrari. The McLarens went P5 and P6, Jenson Button getting the upper hand on his team mate Lewis Hamilton. Vitantonio Liuzzi underlined the performance of the Force India, going P7 and only 0.031s behind Hamilton.
Nico Rosberg drove considerably better than his experienced team mate Michael Schumacher, the word in Bahrain being the multiple world champion isn’t entirely happy with the way everything is going. According to BBC Radio 5live, Schumacher requested his garage set up be changed, causing a headache for the mechanics and engineers who are used to the garage being configured a certain way. Schumacher went P10 in comparison to Rosberg’s P8.
Red Bull Racing went P9 and P13, Mark Webber driving better than Sebastian Vettel. Of the new teams who managed times, Timo Glock heads the rest with P19 although the German was over 2s slower than the Saubers ahead of him. Heikki Kovalainen finished his morning in P20, 0.122s ahead of his team mate Jarno Trulli.
Of the new drivers, Nico Hulkenberg ended his morning in P12, interestingly ahead of his team mate Rubens Barrichello who finished in P15. Russia’s first Formula One driver Vitaly Petrov completed his running in P16, although he was considerably shy of his team mate, Robert Kubica driving to a fine P3 time.
|1.||Adrian Sutil Force India||1m56.583s||18 Laps|
|2.||Fernando Alonso Ferrari||1m56.766s||18 Laps|
|3.||Robert Kubica Renault||1m57.041s||19 Laps|
|4.||Felipe Massa Ferrari||1m57.055s||19 Laps|
|5.||Jenson Button McLaren||1m57.068s||19 Laps|
|6.||Lewis Hamilton McLaren||1m57.163s||19 Laps|
|7.||Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India||1m57.194s||19 Laps|
|8.||Nico Rosberg Mercedes||1m57.199s||15 Laps|
|9.||Mark Webber Red Bull Racing||1m57.255s||17 Laps|
|10.||Michael Schumacher Mercedes||1m57.662s||16 Laps|
|11.||Jaime Alguersuari Scuderia Toro Rosso||1m57.722s||18 Laps|
|12.||Nico Hulkenberg Williams||1m57.894s||20 Laps|
|13.||Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing||1m57.943s||17 Laps|
|14.||Sebastien Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso||1m58.399s||13 Laps|
|15.||Rubens Barrichello Williams||1m58.782s||11 Laps|
|16.||Vitaly Petrov Renault||1m58.880s||13 Laps|
|17.||Pedro De La Rosa Sauber||2m00.250s||18 Laps|
|18.||Kamui Kobayashi Sauber||2m01.388s||11 Laps|
|19.||Timo Glock Virgin Racing||2m03.680s||8 Laps|
|20.||Heikki Kovalainen Lotus||2m03.848s||21 Laps|
|21.||Jarno Trulli Lotus||2m03.970s||15 Laps|
|22.||Lucas Di Grassi Virgin Racing||No Time||2 Laps|
|23.||Bruno Senna Hispania Racing||No Time||3 Laps|
|24.||Karun Chandhok Hispania Racing||No Time||0 Laps|