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Friday analysis - who's better, and whose best is yet to come? 08 May 2009

Nico Rosberg (GER) Williams FW31.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 8 May 2009 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 8 May 2009 Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Brawn Grand Prix BGP 001.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 8 May 2009 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 8 May 2009 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari F2009.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 8 May 2009

Rather than merely go through the usual chassis set-up work and tyre evaluation, all of the teams had the added incentive to do some quick laps in Friday’s Spanish practice sessions to assess the benefits (or otherwise) of their various upgraded aerodynamic packages. Most struggled for grip on the hard Bridgestone prime tyre, but were pleasantly surprised by the durability on the soft option, which naturally provided greater roadholding...

Williams
Nico Rosberg, 1m 22.667s, P6/1m 21.588s P1
Kazuki Nakajima, 1m 22.659s, P5/1m 21.740s, P2

Rosberg said he liked Williams’ latest aero configuration, which seemed to work well. Nakajima concurred but struggled, like many, to find grip on Bridgestone’s harder tyre.

Renault
Fernando Alonso, 1m 23.157s, P17/1m 21.781s, P3
Nelson Piquet, 1m 22.753s, P7/1, 22.349s, P8

Alonso admitted that he struggled for grip in the morning but then found something that took the team in a much better direction in the afternoon. Piquet had two off-track moments in the second session, but backed his team mate well as they tried lots of new aerodynamic components.

Brawn
Rubens Barrichello, 1m 22.859s, P10/1m 21.843s, P4
Jenson Button, 1m 21.799s, P1/1m 22.052s, P6

Button set the fastest time comfortably in the morning but said that his upgraded Brawn BGP001’s grip and balance still weren’t quite right. Barrichello, however, gathered a lot of data in his running and the team think they know what they need to do to improve the car for tomorrow.

Red Bull
Mark Webber, 1m 22.934s, P12/1m 22.027s, P5
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 22.959s, P13/1m 22.082s, P7

Webber was happier with his afternoon runs than the morning’s and said he got a better feel for the RB5. He alluded to a little problem in the second session that the team knew about, but did not expand upon it. Vettel said he had a normal Friday apart from a radio problem that sounded like Spanish taxi drivers talking to him.

Toro Rosso
Sebastien Buemi, 1m 23.185s, P18/1m 22.571s, P9
Sebastien Bourdais, 1m 23.088s, P15/1m 22.615s, P11

Buemi lost time in the afternoon with a rear brake problem, but said the latest version of the STR4 felt better while it was running. Bourdais complained of problems with his car but chose not to elucidate.

Ferrari
Felipe Massa, 1m 22.855s, P9/1m 22.878s, P15
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 22.873s, P11/1m 22.599s, P10

Raikkonen said Ferrari have definitely made a step forward with their F60, which had greater downforce and stability. Massa agreed, but both want to wait for qualifying before they get too excited.

Force India
Giancarlo Fisichella, 1m 23.089s, P16/1m 22.670s, P12
Adrian Sutil, 1m 23.536s, P20/No time

Fisichella liked his Force India’s new adjustable front wing, but still struggled with understeer in slow corners. Sutil lost all of the afternoon running because of a problem with his VJM02’s fuel cell.

McLaren
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 23.077s, P14/1m 22.809s, P13
Heikki Kovalainen, 1m 23.522s, P19/1m 22.876s, P14

Hamilton said that he had wrung everything out of his MP4-24 that it had to give today, and that he is expecting a tough race. Kovalainen echoed his sentiments. Having upgraded their car in all of the races to date, McLaren had less to offer in the way of improvement here.

BMW Sauber
Robert Kubica, 1m 22.221s, P3/1m 22.948s, P16
Nick Heidfeld, 1m 22.658s, P4/1m 23.173s, P17

Both BMW drivers were late improvers in the morning, jumping up to third and fourth places right at the end of the session. The main task of the day was to evaluate the new aero package, which did not include a two-tier diffuser. Neither ran KERS. Heidfeld lost time with a brake problem in the morning.

Toyota
Jarno Trulli, 1m 22.154s, P2/1m 23.623s, P19
Timo Glock, 1m 22.828s, P8/1m 23.360s, P18

New engine covers differentiated the TF109s this weekend, as part of their aerodynamic revisions. Trulli was very quick in the morning and focused on race work in the afternoon, as did Glock who was eighth in the first session. Trulli wasn’t totally happy with his car’s balance, and Glock struggled even more than the Italian.