The first of the Friday Free Practice sessions saw Ferrari lead McLaren to the top of the timing sheet, Kimi Raikkonen getting the better of his team mate and Lewis Hamilton his. Raikkonen put his foot down early in the 90 minute session setting a series of blistering times to conquer the circuit this morning, leaving Felipe Massa in the sister Ferrari more than 0.5s behind. A further half second behind was Britain’s man of the moment Hamilton, who encouraged by his Malaysian form went faster than his more experienced team mate Fernando Alonso, albeit only by 0.05s.
Toyota showed that the improvements they made for Sepang have worked a little with Jarno Trulli placing his Japanese car in fifth and best of the rest position, and the two BMW’s quickly followed, this time with both race drivers taking to the track. Vitantonio Liuzzi managed to pop in a quick lap en route to eighth, and the Williams pair slotted in behind the Toro Rosso.
Renault appear to have slipped again, finishing the morning in twelfth and fourteenth, Heikki Kovalainen beating Giancarlo Fisichella. Despite this poor showing though, Renault have generally been behind in practices and regained much of their speed through qualifying and in to the race, so this should be taken with a pinch of salt.
Despite Jenson Button sliding his Honda in to eleventh, Takuma Sato still managed to beat the other Honda of Rubens Barrichello, again highlighting that the RA106 isn’t all that bad compared with the new RA107. Red Bull and Spyker prop up the morning timing sheet.
Free Practice One:
1. Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1m33.162s
2. Massa – Ferrari – 1m33.679s
3. Hamilton – McLaren – 1m34.110s
4. Alonso – McLaren – 1m34.161s
5. Trulli – Toyota – 1m34.896s
6. Heidfeld – BMW – 1m35.076s
7. Kubica – BMW – 1m35.248s
8. Liuzzi – Toro Rosso – 1m35.292s
9. Rosberg – Williams – 1m35.375s
10. Wurz – Williams – 1m35.398s
11. Button – Honda – 1m35.445s
12. Kovalainen – Renault – 1m35.474s
13. Schumacher – Toyota – 1m35.573s
14. Fisichella – Renault – 1m35.697s
15. Speed – Toro Rosso – 1m35.726s
16. Sato – Super Aguri – 1m35.856s
17. Barrichello – Honda – 1m35.911s
18. Davidson – Super Aguri – 1m36.243s
19. Webber – Red Bull Racing – 1m36.483s
20. Coulthard – Red Bull Racing – 1m36.513s
21. Sutil – Spyker – 1m37.084s
22. Albers – Spyker – 1m38.258s
Kimi Raikkonen made it two out of two in the afternoon’s free practice session, beating Lewis Hamilton by 0.013s to continue Ferrari’s dominant form in Bahrain. Robert Kubica found pace from his BMW to move from seventh in the morning to third by the end of the day, and Williams continued to show their form by going sixth for Alex Wurz and eighth for Nico Rosberg.
McLaren didn’t fair as well in the early evening as they had done before lunch, with Fernando Alonso slipping down the placings to fifth with a time that was 0.2s slower than his team mate. And again, Renault failed to show any pace with Heikki Kovalainen in twelfth and Giancarlo Fisichella in fifteenth. David Coulthard managed a quick lap at the helm of his Red Bull, edging out Jarno Trulli by a whisker (0.007s) to ninth.
Honda struggled, but at least this session saw one of the drivers lead the Super Aguri’s – something that isn’t too common this year. Rubens Barrichello led the four Honda-powered cars to eleventh, with a returning-from-gearbox-issues Anthony Davidson setting the thirteenth quickest lap. Takuma Sato ended his day in sixteenth, while Jenson Button slotted into 22nd and last place. The British driver suffered an engine failure part way through the session, and the spilt oil caused a following Massa to spin. The disruption to Button’s day forced him to miss the remainder of the 90 minute practice after completing only 19 laps and this will not help with his motivation in the torrid RA107.
The engine failure was not his race unit, thankfully, so Jenson will not forfeit 10 grid slots following tomorrows qualifying. Unless of course, the problem repeats itself in his race engine.
Free Practice Two:
1. Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1m33.527s
2. Hamilton – McLaren – 1m33.540s
3. Kubica – BMW – 1m33.732s
4. Massa – Ferrari – 1m33.772s
5. Alonso – McLaren – 1m33.784s
6. Wurz – Williams – 1m33.973s
7. Heidfeld – BMW – 1m34.076s
8. Rosberg – Williams – 1m34.189s
9. Coulthard – Red Bull Racing – 1m34.359s
10. Trulli – Toyota – 1m34.366s
11. Barrichello – Honda – 1m34.391s
12. Kovalainen – Renault – 1m34.585s
13. Davidson – Super Aguri – 1m34.595s
14. Webber – Red Bull Racing – 1m34.677s
15. Fisichella – Renault – 1m34.796s
16. Sato – Super Aguri – 1m35.001s
17. Liuzzi – Toro Rosso – 1m35.268s
18. Schumacher – Toyota – 1m35.427s
19. Sutil – Spyker – 1m35.582s
20. Speed – Toro Rosso – 1m35.687s
21. Albers – Spyker – 1m35.835s
22. Button – Honda – 1m36.079s