Drawing conclusions hard after day one in Bahrain
Honda versus Ferrari. That was how the second practice session here in Bahrain evolved on Friday afternoon, with Anthony Davidson setting the quickest time of 1m 31.353s to beat Michael Schumachers 1m 31.751s. Right at the end of the session, Williamss Alexander Wurz threw in a 1m 31.764s to spice things up further, beating Felipe Massa's Ferrari to third place.
And there was more. When Tonio Liuzzi turned a 1m 32.703s in the first half, it put his Toro Rosso second fastest and set tongues wagging about equivalency formulae - Toro Rosso are the only team running a restricted V10.
The Italian stopped running after that, and ended up sixth fastest, separated from Davidson, Schumacher and Wurz by Felipe Massa (1m 32.175s) and Fernando Alonso, who made a quick appearance for Renault to lap in 1m 32.538s.
Robert Doornbos set seventh quickest time in the leading Red Bull, in 1m 32.926s, leaving team mates Christian Klien and David Coulthard 11th and 19th respectively on 1m 33.557s and 1m 34.432s. Liuzzis Toro Rosso partners, Neel Jani and Scott Speed, were 15th and 16th with 1m 33.900s and 1m 34.284s apiece.
The main drama in the session concerned Kimi Raikkonen, whose McLaren stopped with an electrical problem in Turn 4 after only 19 minutes. Juan Pablo Montoya was 13th fastest on 1m 33.726s.
While Alonso confined himself to 13 laps, Renault team mate Giancarlo Fisichella did 14 for a best lap of 1m 33.215s which was eighth overall.
With a third driver, Honda did not need to strain itself so Jenson Button took it relatively easy for ninth best 1m 33.226s, and Rubens Barrichello did likewise for 1m 34.484s which left him 18th.
Robert Kubica again led the BMW Saubers with 1m 33.244s for 10th, the team looking good at this stage. Nick Heidfeld did nine laps and his 1m 33.848s left him 14th. Jacques Villeneuve just gathered data on his way to 1m 36.264s which was recorded while there was a yellow flag period. He was 25th.
Mark Webber shared the distinction with Williams team mate Nico Rosberg of doing the least number of laps (five), the Australian lining up 17th with 1m 34.333s, the German 21st on 1m 34.953s.
Midland took the 20th fastest time courtesy of Tiago Monteiro and 1m 34.459s. Markus Winkelhock was 23rd with 1m 35.686s, Christijan Albers 26th on 1m 36.314s. Winkelhock enlivened things with a quick spin in Turn 3 but he was not alone; Kubica had a moment in Turn 6, and Fisichella in Turn 10. Liuzzi did a 360 spin, too.
It was a bad day for Toyota; Ralf Schumacher was 22nd on 1m 35.170s, while 24th fastest Jarno Trulli managed only 1m 35.898s before stopping with a technical problem.
At the back, Super Aguri surprised people by being closer to the tail-enders than expected. Takuma Sato took his SA05 to 1m 37.588s, while Yuji Ide worked down to 1m 39.021s before his car stopped out on the circuit.
Again, it was not a day on which to rely on the eventual order. Things will change further on Saturday, when teams will begin to show their real hands for the first time prior to qualifying.