Practice One - Button and Brawn in command in Barcelona 08 May 2009
Jenson Button redefined the ante for the first practice session for the Spanish Grand Prix in the very last seconds on Friday morning. Just as it seemed that Jarno Trullis 1m 22.154s for Toyota was the benchmark in a session notable for incredibly tight times, Button became the only man to dip below 1m 22s with a lap of 1m 21.799s for Brawn GP.
BMW Saubers Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld also jumped up the order in the dying moments, as laps of 1m 22.221s and 1m 22.658s respectively lifted them to third and fourth. Right behind Heidfeld, Kazuki Nakajima was fifth for Williams on 1m 22.659s, ahead of team leader Nico Rosberg who set the initial pace and ended up in 1m 22.667s.
Right behind him came Renaults Nelson Piquet on 1m 22.753s, then Toyotas Timo Glock on 1m 22.828s, Ferraris Felipe Massa on 1m 22.855s, Brawns Rubens Barrichello on 1m 22.859s and Ferraris Kimi Raikkonen on 1m 22.873s. Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel completed the sub-1m 23s runners with 1m 22.934s and 1m 22.959s respectively for Red Bull.
Behind them the times were just as close. Lewis Hamilton was 14th for McLaren with 1m 23.077s, chased by Toro Rossos Sebastien Bourdais on 1m 23.088s, Force Indias Giancarlo Fisichella on 1m 23.089s, Renaults Fernando Alonso on 1m 23.157s, Sebastien Buemi in the second Toro Rosso on 1m 23.185s, McLarens Heikki Kovalainen on 1m 23.522s and Force Indias Adrian Sutil on 1m 23.536s.
In the KERS stakes, both McLarens and Massas Ferrari ran with it, but both BMW Saubers and Renault have abandoned it for the weekend to focus on other issues.
There were a few lively moments, with Rosberg spinning in Turn 14, Sutil going off in Turn One and Turn Four catching out both Glock and Vettel. Right at the end Webber got into a lurid and nicely held slide going round one of the Force Indias.
These are early times, of course, but given the lack of testing and the need for everyone to assess quickly where they are, they are perhaps the most representative we have seen for some time on a Friday morning.