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Bahrain day two - Massa still the man 28 Feb 2007

Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F2007 F1 Testing, Day Five, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, Wednesday, 28 February 2007. World © Patching/Sutton Nick Heidfeld (GER) BMW Sauber. F1 Testing, Day Five, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, Wednesday, 28 February 2007. World © Patching/Sutton 
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4/22 F1 Testing, Day Five, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, Wednesday, 28 February 2007. World © Patching/Sutton Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB3. F1 Testing, Day Five, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, Wednesday, 28 February 2007. World © Patching/Sutton Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR2 F1 Testing, Day Five, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, Wednesday, 28 February 2007. World © Patching/Sutton

Ferrari retained their grip on the Sakhir timesheets on Wednesday as Felipe Massa again set the pace in testing. The Brazilian’s time of 1m 30.640s put him half a second clear of McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton.

Massa’s team mate Kimi Raikkonen made it two Ferraris in the top three, after he scored the third fastest time of the day. While Raikkonen completed 94 laps in the unmodified version of the F2007, it was left to Massa to take charge of the team’s new aerodynamic package. The Brazilian covered 100 laps in total. Both will continue testing duties on Thursday.

Second-placed Hamilton was joined on track by McLaren tester Pedro de la Rosa, who clocked the fifth-quickest time, just behind the Renault of Giancarlo Fisichella, who focused on handling work, as well as set-up and tyre testing. The Italian’s team mate Heikki Kovalainen was sixth. The Finn had to wait until the afternoon for his car to be made track worthy following Tuesday’s accident. He covered 29 laps in total, following the obligatory systems checks.

“I was pleased to be able to get back out on track this afternoon,” explained Kovalainen. “The mechanics have done a fantastic job to repair the car so quickly, and a big thank you to the team for their efforts. It was important to run again today, and I was focused on getting the jobs done we needed to, to minimise the amount of lost time. We got some interesting results this afternoon.”

Nick Heidfeld was the quickest BMW Sauber in seventh, while team mate Robert Kubica took the second F1.07 to tenth. Although Kubica’s running was interrupted by a hydraulic leak in the morning, the pair covered just over 120 laps between them. Both will test again on Thursday, completing the team’s final systems checks ahead of next month's Melbourne race.

Jenson Button was the eighth-fastest runner for Honda, while Brazilian team mate Rubens Barrichello finished in 11th slot - just two-thousandths of a second shy of Kubica’s time.

The most impressive performance of the day, however, was arguably that of Vitantonio Liuzzi, who took the Ferrari-powered Toro Rosso to ninth place, comfortably ahead of Red Bull stable mates David Coulthard and Mark Webber, who finished 14th and 15th respectively.

With Super Aguri’s Takuma Sato finishing 12th, it was left to Toyota team mates Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli to complete the day’s line-up in 13th and 16th respectively. Schumacher, who bowed out early from Tuesday’s test after suffering back pain, completed 84 laps in the TF107, Trulli 41. While Schumacher reported positive progress, Trulli had a more troubled day, with both gearbox and engine issues costing him track time.

“Jarno went through quite a lot of problems and we are not really happy with the reliability record on his car today,” confirmed Pascal Vasselon, Toyota’s senior general manager (chassis). “Still, despite this lack of running, his programme has been very fruitful. It has been useful in terms of results and they have been interesting.”

Testing concludes in Bahrain on Thursday.

Unofficial Wednesday times from Bahrain:
1. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:30.640
2. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 1:31.178
3. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:31.490
4. Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault, 1:31.967
5. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren, 1:31.971
6. Heikki Kovalainen, Renault, 1:32.068
7. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:32.254
8. Jenson Button, Honda, 1:32.293
9. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso, 1:32.359
10. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:32.648
11. Rubens Barrichello, Honda, 1:32.650
12. Takuma Sato, Super Aguri, 1:32.837
13. Ralf Schumacher, Toyota, 1:33.054
14. David Coulthard, Red Bull, 1:33.146
15. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:33.238
16. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 1:33.384