This is it, Formula One 2009 has begun. Earlier this morning all twenty drivers left the Albert Park pitlane to start the first practice session of the Australian Grand Prix. Surprisingly, it was Nico Rosberg who led after the 90 minute session was up. What made Rosberg’s lap time even more impressive was the outright pace – the Williams lapped Albert Park a tenth faster than Hamilton’s 2008 pole lap.
Not only was Rosberg’s Williams at the top of the tables, but team mate Kazuki Nakajima confirmed the pace by finishing in second, less than 0.1s slower. It would appear that the FW31 isn’t all that bad. The factory Toyota team failed to impress with Timo Glock in eighth and Jarno Trulli in twelfth.
The Ferraris ran well, and Kimi Raikkonen ended the morning session in third while Felipe Massa finished in seventh, although almost a second shy of the top three’s pace. Brawn delivered with Rubens Barrichello in fourth and Jenson Button in sixth, while McLaren managed fifth with Heikki Kovalainen, but a lowly sixteenth for Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton was about 1.5s off his team mate’s pace.
Adrian Sutil ran well for Force India, now utilising Mercedes-Benz power among other things. The German completed twenty laps en route to ninth and finishing ahead of Fernando Alonso’s Renault. Nelson Piquet had a fairly torrid session and couldn’t improve on eighteenth, despite being the second-busiest driver of the morning.
The Red Bull family perhaps showed the most disappointing form this form, with Sebastian Vettel stopping on track with a hydraulic problem. The German could only complete four laps and therefore his time was well off the pace. Team mate Mark Webber fared a little better, although seventeenth isn’t exactly where he would like to be. Sebastien Buemi completed the most laps and finished in fifteenth while Sebastien Bourdais ended the morning in nineteenth.
|1.||Nico Rosberg Williams||1m26.687s||19 Laps|
|2.||Kazuki Nakajima Williams||1m26.736s||21 Laps|
|3.||Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari||1m26.750s||24 Laps|
|4.||Rubens Barrichello Brawn||1m27.226s||21 Laps|
|5.||Heikki Kovalainen McLaren||1m27.453s||15 Laps|
|6.||Jenson Button Brawn||1m27.467s||12 Laps|
|7.||Felipe Massa Ferrari||1m27.642s||24 Laps|
|8.||Timo Glock Toyota||1m27.710s||24 Laps|
|9.||Adrian Sutil Force India||1m27.993s||20 Laps|
|10.||Fernando Alonso Renault||1m28.123s||16 Laps|
|11.||Nick Heidfeld BMW||1m28.137s||20 Laps|
|12.||Jarno Trulli Toyota||1m28.142s||21 Laps|
|13.||Robert Kubica BMW||1m28.511s||22 Laps|
|14.||Giancarlo Fisichella Force India||1m28.603s||16 Laps|
|15.||Sebastien Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso||1m28.785s||27 Laps|
|16.||Lewis Hamilton McLaren||1m29.042s||18 Laps|
|17.||Mark Webber Red Bull Racing||1m29.081s||7 Laps|
|18.||Nelson Piquet Jr. Renault||1m29.461s||25 Laps|
|19.||Sebastien Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso||1m29.499s||21 Laps|
|20.||Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing||1m32.784s||4 Laps|
Hadn’t realised how few laps Button did compared to Rubens – had wondered whether Rubens had it over Jenson, but guess it’s way too early to judge that one.