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Practice One - Hamilton heads BMW Saubers at Sakhir 24 Apr 2009

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/24.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 18 April 2009 The medical car on the circuit.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 4, Bahrain Grand Prix, Preparations, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Thursday, 23 April 2009 Renault R29 in the garage.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 4, Bahrain Grand Prix, Preparations, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Thursday, 23 April 2009

In a relatively quiet opening practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix in Sakhir on Friday morning, Lewis Hamilton led the way for McLaren with a lap of 1m 33.647s, which ended up 0.260s ahead of Nick Heidfeld who jumped up to second for BMW Sauber in the closing minutes. The German lapped in 1m 33.907s and was joined by team mate Robert Kubica on 1m 33.938s. Both were running KERS.

Nico Rosberg continued his quick practice form with fourth place for Williams in 1m 34.227s, which left him just ahead of Brawn’s Jenson Button (1m 34.434s), McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen (1m 34.502s), Brawn’s Rubens Barrichello (1m 34.531s), Felipe Massa (1m 34.589s in the only Ferrari running KERS), and Red Bull’s Mark Webber and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen who shared the ninth fastest time of 1m 34.827s.

Kazuki Nakajima was 11th for Williams with 1m 34.880s, and Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel (1m 34.938s) and Renault’s Nelson Piquet (1m 34.974s) completed the runners below 1m 35s.

Force India’s Adrian Sutil, Jarno Trulli in the Toyota and Force India’s Giancarlo Fisichella were all close to breaking that, with 1m 35.021s, 1m 35.036s and 1m 35.042s respectively. Toyota’s Timo Glock was 17th on 1m 35.333s, with Renault’s Fernando Alonso (1m 35.348s), Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Bourdais (1m 35.353s) and Sebastien Buemi (1m 35.369s) all within striking distance.

Alonso and Piquet both ran KERS, but while the Brazilian had Alonso’s Chinese diffuser, the Spaniard used a new version on his Renault R29. Alonso, like Raikkonen, Button and Fisichella, had an off-course moment, while Buemi stopped out on the track with mechanical problems.

For comparison, Kubica took pole here last year in 1m 33.096s, and times are expected to fall further this afternoon as the track ‘rubbers in’.