Friday analysis - could this be Williams weekend? 24 Apr 2009
It was Williams who topped a closely-stacked field at the end of the opening two practice sessions for the Bahrain Grand Prix at Sakhir. The tasks for the day, as usual, were chassis set-up work and tyre evaluation, the latter again being critical with the need to run both Bridgestones medium and super soft tyre compounds. We take a team-by-team look at progress
Nico Rosberg, 1m 34.227s, P4/1m 33.339s, P1
Kazuki Nakajima, 1m 34.880s, P11/1m 33.899s, P10
Rosberg was feeling positive, after getting through a lot of set-up work. Williams had some new parts for the race, which seemed to work well. Nakajima struggled to keep his team mate in sight.
Fernando Alonso, 1m 35.348s, P18/1m 33.530s, P2
Nelson Piquet, 1m 34.974s, P13/1m 34.411s, P15
Alonso had a new version of Renaults Chinese diffusers on his R29, and Piquet used his discarded component from Shanghai. Both used KERS. Work focused in the morning on brake cooling work, and late in the afternoon the Spaniard posted an encouraging second fastest time. Piquet had a spin then and had to stop for a new front wing after the right-hand section began dragging on the track.
Jarno Trulli, 1m 35.036s, P15/1m 33.616s, P3
Timo Glock, 1m 35.333s, P17/1m 33.764s, P8
Trulli had an uneventful day but said there was work to do on his TF109s driveability. Glock struggled for decent balance. Both drivers had off-course moments.
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 34.938s, P12/1m 1m 33.661s, P4
Mark Webber, 1m 34.827s, P9/1m 33.676s, P5
Vettel said he felt things were back to normal after the Chinese breakthrough. He struggled for balance in the morning, but otherwise had no problems all day. Webber likewise said he had a productive day, and that his RB5 ran faultlessly.
Jenson Button, 1m 34.434s, P5/1m 33.694s, P6
Rubens Barrichello, 1m 34.531s, P7/1m 33.885s, P9
Button was happy with his days work, which he said was pretty standard. Barrichello worked through several set-ups to compensate for the teams lack of test time here in the winter.
Adrian Sutil, 1m 35.021s, P14/1m 33.763s, P7
Giancarlo Fisichella, 1m 35.042s, P16/1m 34.025s, P12
Sutil said his second session was a lot better than the first, when the track was still dirty. The softer tyre compound made his VJM02 feel more stable and he liked its balance. Fisichella said he felt more comfortable in the car and that a package of updates had helped.
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 33.647s, P1/1m 33.994s, P11
Heikki Kovalainen, 1m 34.502s, P6/1m 34.764s, P19
Hamilton liked a newer version of the front wing and said the team made progress as he set the fastest time in the morning. He was also quite happy with his cars performance, corrected for fuel load, when he was 11th in the afternoon. Kovalainen still liked the older version of the front wing. Stoppage of his KERS system towards the end of the afternoon accounted for his lowly 19th in that session.
Sebastien Buemi, 1m 35.369s, P20/1m 34.127s, P13
Sebastien Bourdais, 1m 35.353s, P19/1m 34.366s, P14
Buemi lost time in the morning with an unidentified technical problem, and said that subsequently his STR4 lacked traction and suffered occasional front brake locking. Bourdais had a normal Friday.
Felipe Massa, 1m 34.589s, P8/1m 34.564s, P16
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 34.827s, P10/1m 34.670s, P18
Massa said this was not a good day for Ferrari after struggling with the handling of his KERS-equipped F60. In particular he found the medium Bridgestone very difficult to get the best from. He felt that his car was definitely quicker with KERS back on it, having run without in China. Raikkonen echoed his sentiments on handling, but did not run KERS.
Robert Kubica, 1m 33.398s, P3/1m 34.605s, P17
Nick Heidfeld, 1m 33.907s, P2/1m 34.790s, P20
Both F1.09s were fitted with KERS, and went well in the morning session. Heidfeld said there was a big difference in performance between the two tyre compounds, which made setting up the car tricky, and also complained of a brake stability problem. Kubica felt that running KERS was a challenge in the high ambient temperatures.