With the final day of testing at Jerez and Sakhir over for this week, it is the McLaren and Ferrari that continue to dominate at each circuit respectively. Although Sebastien Bourdais set the fastest lap in Spain this afternoon, the French driver was piloting the modified 2008 chassis while the team wait for the new RB5 to be delivered. The sand finally cleared in Bahrain to allow Ferrari, Toyota and BMW to get some running in, and the times set between the three cars on track were all relatively close. Lewis Hamilton proved to be the quicker of the 2009 chassis on track at Jerez.
Although Hamilton topped the timing sheet for new cars, Fernando Alonso finally made an appearance closer to the sharp end with a lap time that was just 0.2s shy of the McLaren’s best. Alonso said he spent the day working on the set up to make the new R29 easier and more comfortable to drive. The Spaniard was feeling rather jubilant when speaking to the press after his final run.
Every day the driveability of the car is improving and although we still have a lot of work to do before the start of the season, we are definitely moving in the right direction. Fernando Alonso.
Mark Webber didn’t have such a good day, the Australian bringing out the only red flag of the afternoon when his RB5 stopped no track. The stoppage followed problems all morning for the Anglo-Austro team, suggesting that perhaps the reliability of the new car isn’t the best. The team were confident though and pleased with the RB5’s maiden test this week.
Apart from a few minor niggles, which are to be expected with a brand new car, this first test has produced pleasing results. RB5 proved to be generally reliable and its performance seems encouraging straight out of the box. Ian Morgan.
Williams fielded two cars today, utilising both race drivers to gain as much knowledge about the FW31 as possible. Unfortunately, Kazuki Nakajima failed to set a time despite going in and out of the pits a total of 34 times. Nico Rosberg on the other hand had a better day and after completing 70 tours of Jerez wound up in fourth, ahead of Webber’s RB5.
Meanwhile in Bahrain…
Scenes from the past two days of sand and wind (as shown above from yesterday) ceased and the three teams present at Sakhir were able to complete some running. Kimi Raikkonen set 107 laps of the track and posted the fastest time of the day in the Ferrari F60. Raikkonen felt positive after his first run in the new car on a dry circuit.
My first day with the new F60 on a dry track was extremely positive. I immediately had a good feeling although it’s still too early to say where we are compared to our competitors. The car is improving and there are no especially critical areas. We used the KERS also today and I’m happy with how it works, apart from some minor childhood disease. Kimi Raikkonen.
Jarno Trulli was the busiest man of the day in Bahrain, setting 127 lap times and finishing a close second on the timing sheet. The Italian was only 0.104s shy of Raikkonen at the end of the day and managed to complete two race distances in the Toyota TF109.
Test driver Christian Klien was sent out for BMW and the Austrian managed a fine tally of laps as well. It was the first time Klien has really driven the new car since prior to its launch and immediately set about making up for the time lost on Wednesday and Thursday. Klien’s fastest lap of the day was only 0.2s down on Trulli’s.
|1.||Sebastien Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso||1m17.472s||117 Laps|
|2.||Lewis Hamilton McLaren||1m19.632s||94 Laps|
|3.||Fernando Alonso Renault||1m19.846s||109 Laps|
|4.||Nico Rosberg Williams||1m21.123s||71 Laps|
|5.||Mark Webber Red Bull Racing||1m21.313||62 Laps|
|6.||Kazuki Nakajima Williams||No Time||34 Laps|
|1.||Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari||1m33.325s||105 Laps|
|2.||Jarno Trulli Toyota||1m33.429s||127 Laps|
|3.||Christian Klien BMW||1m33.666s||125 Laps|