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Ferrari run riot in opening practice 13 Apr 2007

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari talks with the media.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Bahrain Grand Prix, Preparations, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, Thursday, 12 April 2007

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen stamped his authority on the first practice session this morning, in the style of Michael Schumacher. Without preamble the Finn banged in a flying lap of 1m 33.670s to eradicate Jarno Trulli’s hold on fastest time, and followed it up with 1m 33.162s. Later team mate Felipe Massa, likewise using the same hard Bridgestone tyres, worked down to 1m 33.679s to go second, half a second adrift.

At the time the best McLaren could do in response was Fernando Alonso’s 1m 34.634s on the hard tyres, which displaced Lewis Hamilton by four-thousandths of a second. If the sands of Formula One racing have shifted since Malaysia, they appear to have done so in favour of the Prancing Horse.

Subsequently the McLarens ran faster on the softer tyre (actually, as in Malaysia, the official Bridgestone options here are medium and hard), with Hamilton outrunning Alonso with 1m 34.110s to 1m 34.161s. The champion also had a pair of brief offs, the first on his first flying lap on hard rubber. Trulli was the only other runner below 1m 35s, with 1m 34.896s which left him fifth for Toyota.

Behind the Italian, Nick Heidfeld led the BMW Sauber attack with 1m 35.076s, just ahead of team mate Robert Kubica on 1m 35.248s. Then came Tonio Liuzzi who was the best midfield runner on soft rubber with 1m 35.292s for Toro Rosso. He headed the two Williams of Nico Rosberg (1m 35.375s) and Alex Wurz (1m 35.398s), both of whom ran faster on the soft tyres.

Jenson Button took 11th for Honda on 1m 35.445s, while Heikki Kovalainen led the Renault challenge with 1m 35.474s. Team mate Giancarlo Fisichella lapped his R27 in 1m 35.697s but was separated from the Finn by Ralf Schumacher, who posted 1m 35.573s early on for Toyota before focussing on tyre work.

Scott Speed was 15th for Toro Rosso with a late run to 1m 35.726s on soft rubber, chased by Takuma Sato with 1m 35.856s for Super Aguri.

At the back, Rubens Barrichello just dipped into the 1m 35s bracket, lapping his Honda in 1m 35.911s to lead Super Aguri’s Anthony Davidson (1m 36.243s with no final run), the Red Bulls of Mark Webber and David Coulthard (1m 36.483s and 1m 36.513s on hard rubber, but even so outrun by the Toro Rossos before they put on the soft compounds), and the Spykers of Adrian Sutil (1m 37.084s) and Christijan Albers (1m 38.258s).