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Williams chase Ferrari in opening Bahrain practice 04 Apr 2008

Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F2008.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Bahrain Grand Prix, Practice Day, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, Friday, 4 April 2008 (L to R): Kazuki Nakajima (JPN) Williams with his team mate Nico Rosberg (GER) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Bahrain Grand Prix, Preparations, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, Thursday, 3 April 2008 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4/23.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Bahrain Grand Prix, Practice Day, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, Friday, 4 April 2008

Felipe Massa got his Bahrain Grand Prix campaign off to a strong start by setting the fastest time in Friday morning’s first practice session. The Brazilian lapped the Sakhir circuit in 1m 32.233s in his Ferrari, narrowly beating team mate Kimi Raikkonen, who was 0.117s behind with 1m 32.350s.

The other fast times came, no doubt to the relief of Williams after Malaysia, from Nico Rosberg (1m 32.415s) and the McLarens of Lewis Hamilton (1m 32.705s) and Heikki Kovalainen (1m 32.868s).

It was a largely uneventful session as those who had not tested here previously this year focused on dialling their cars in, and those who had (Ferrari and Toyota) honed their set-ups for track conditions which were still sandy and relatively low on grip.

Kazuki Nakajima endorsed Williams’ return to form with sixth fastest lap of 1m 33.121s, which put him ahead of BMW Sauber’sRobert Kubica (1m 33.333s), Toyota’s Jarno Trulli (1m 33.539s), Red Bull’s David Coulthard (1m 33.788s), Renault’s Fernando Alonso (1m 33.815s), Toyota’s Timo Glock (1m 33.929s), Red Bull’s Mark Webber (1m 33.950s) and Renault’s Nelson Piquet (1m 33.981s).

Nick Heidfeld focused on race set-up for BMW Sauber, lapping his F1.08 in 1m 34.106s for 14th, then came the Toro Rossos of Sebastien Bourdais and Sebastian Vettel (1m 34.235s and 1m 34.321s), and a Honda/Force India sandwich comprising Giancarlo Fisichella (1m 34.892s), Jenson Button (1m 34.915s), Rubens Barrichello (1m 35.174s) and Adrian Sutil (1m 35.429s). Sutil was the only driver to go well off track, in Turn 10.

At the back, Anthony Davidson headed Super Aguri team mate Takuma Sato (1m 36.145s to 1m 36.536s).