Bahrain day two - Heidfeld top for BMW Sauber 23 Feb 2007
BMW Saubers Nick Heidfeld headed the timesheets on Friday, during the second day of testing in Bahrain. Heidfeld, who clocked a best lap of 1m 30.469s in the F1.07 around the Sakhir circuit, was around eight-tenths of a second quicker than McLaren's Fernando Alonso in second.
Heidfeld set his quick lap during a qualifying simulation, which he carried out in the morning, after completing scheduled aerodynamic tests. The German driver was joined by Robert Kubica, who, although almost two seconds off the pace of his team mate, was fifth fastest.
In the afternoon Kubica and Heidfeld carried out BMW Sauber's first race simulation of 2007, complete with installation lap and pit stops. Both F1.07s remained reliable throughout, and, without a single red-flag interrupting the race, the two cars completed the 57-lap distance of Aprils Bahrain Grand Prix without any technical problems.
Today was a good day," said Heidfeld. " The race simulation went problem free, which was very satisfying for us, as last time we had some technical problems in the winter runs. But today went well and the speeds seemed good.
"We have three more days of testing here, one tomorrow then two days off and two more days after that. It is the most important test for us and for many Im sure as its the last big test before the start of the season.
At McLaren, second-placed Alonso was joined by team mate Lewis Hamilton, who finished in fourth in the second MP4-22. Splitting the two McLaren drivers was Jenson Button, who put Honda third for the second consecutive day. The Japanese team also fielded Rubens Barrichello, who was the ninth quickest.
Ferrari race drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa remained in charge of testing duties for the Italian squad, finishing in sixth and eighth respectively. Both carried out long runs whilst evaluating the best set-ups for the teams F2007. The pair will continue at the circuit on Saturday.
Test driver Nelson Piquet Jr was the quickest Renault driver in seventh, with team mate Heikki Kovalainen in tenth. After working on endurance testing on Thursday, Kovalainen and Piquet switched their focus to set-up and tyres.
"The track conditions were very changeable today because of the wind, but we adapted to it and adjusted the set-up of the car in order to complete our programmes, explained Christian Silk, Renaults chief test engineer. Our main focus today was on set-up, and once again we found plenty of useful directions.
Further down the timesheets, Red Bull drivers Mark Webber and David Coulthard took 11th and 14th slots respectively. Webbers best was just two-hundredths of a second quicker than Jarno Trulli in the Toyota. The Italian covered 91 laps, as he tested the TF107's new aerodynamic package.
Trullis team mate Ralf Schumacher was the slowest driver of the day for the Japanese team, after several technical glitches, including a clutch problem, hindered his progress.
We had some issues so we still have some work to do," said Schumacher. "We did manage to go through some of our programme and worked on balance issues. This was my last day of this test and it has been quite difficult. I will come back to Bahrain next week and I am hoping we can have a better time then.
Completing the Friday line-up were Anthony Davidson in 13th for Super Aguri and Vitantonio Liuzzi in 15th for Toro Rosso. While Liuzzi completed 24 laps in the teams new STR2, Davidson carried out tyre testing in Super Aguris interim car. The British driver racked up an impressive 119 laps before a mechanical failure curtailed his running prematurely.
Testing continues in Bahrain on Saturday.
Unofficial Friday times from Bahrain:
1. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:30.469
2. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, 1:31.225
3. Jenson Button, Honda, 1:31.807
4. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 1:31.934
5. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:32.220
6. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:32.240
7. Nelson Piquet Jr, Renault, 1:32.539
8. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:32.584
9. Rubens Barrichello, Honda, 1:32.614
10. Heikki Kovalainen, Renault, 1:32.973
11. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:33.139
12. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 1:33.155
13. Anthony Davidson, Super Aguri, 1:33.248
14. David Coulthard, Red Bull, 1:33.930
15. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso, 1:34.187
16. Ralf Schumacher, Toyota, 1:34.464