Just a second covers the first dozen cars at Sakhir
Kimi Raikkonen maintained the upper hand in second practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix on Friday afternoon, but Lewis Hamilton was only 13 hundredths of a second in arrears as Ferrari and McLaren went head-to-head. On the softer Bridgestone rubber favoured by all the fast runners, the Finn lapped his Ferrari in 1m 33.527s to depose the Englishman, who earlier had done 1m 33.540s.
Robert Kubica got BMW Sauber buzzing with his third-best time of 1m 33.732s, while Felipe Massa survived some adventures in the second Ferrari to take fourth in 1m 33.772s ahead of McLarens Fernando Alonso on 1m 33.784s.
Massa experienced a bit of global warming when Jenson Button spun his Earth-liveried Honda in front of him as its engine blew spectacularly. As the exhausts belched of flame and shrapnel, Massa spun and rooted his set of soft tyres. Button clambered out, waved an apology to the Brazilian, and as the Englishman was taken back to the pits on a scooter his abandoned RA107 gently began to roll backwards. Fortunately it did not get back on to the racing line.
Alex Wurz underlined the potential of the Williams FW29 with sixth best time of 1m 33.973s, with team mate Nico Rosberg eighth on 1m 34.189s. Between them, Nick Heidfeld was happy after lapping his BMW Sauber in 1m 34.076s in his F1.07.
David Coulthard and Jarno Trulli rounded out the top 10 for Red Bull and Toyota respectively, with 1m 34.359s and 1m 34.366s, then came Rubens Barrichello whose lap of 1m 34.391s for 11th salvaged something from Hondas session. After his problems, Button was left in last place on 1m 36.079s.
Heikki Kovalainen was again the faster Renault driver, in 12th place on 1m 34.585s, while Anthony Davidson led the Super Aguri attack on 1m 34.595s. Their team mates were 15th and 16th respectively, Giancarlo Fisichella on 1m 34.796s and Takuma Sato on 1m 35.001s. Mark Webber was 14th for Red Bull on 1m 34.677s.
The Toro Rossos found their speed early in the session and didnt improve thereafter. Tonio Liuzzis 1m 35.268s was fastest for a while, until the Italian slipped down to 17th; Scott Speed did 1m 35.687s for 20th, getting in Raikkonens way at one stage and later having Ralf Schumacher do the same to him. The German was 18th on 1m 35.427s.
Adrian Sutil was 19th on 1m 35.582s for Spyker, while team mate Christijan Albers was 21st on 1m 35.835s.
Thus, after Ferraris demonstration this morning, it looks as though we might be in for another close contest after all on Sunday afternoon.