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Saturday, 3 April 2010
Friday, 2 April 2010
For the first session on Friday morning, Malaysian reserve driver Fairuz Fauzy took to the Lotus seat in place of Heikki Kovalainen, while Paul di Resta drove the Force India in place of Antonio Liuzzi. Fauzy ran around 6 seconds off the pace for the returning team; however he suffered a half-spin through turn twelve 40 minutes into the session - thankfully no damage was done to his green and yellow machine, but his car appears very nervous through some of the faster exits. There were also slight offs for Mark Webber, Pedro de la Rosa and Felipe Massa during the session. Red Bull continue to have reliability issues as Webber is parked early on with an overheating engine and Vettel suffers from brake problems. Red Bull's sister team - Toro Rosso - also appeared to have difficulties as an electronic problem brought an early end to Jaime Alguersuari's morning session; although he was able to get his car to beginning of the pitlane, rather than park it out on track. There were also mechanical problems for the experienced Michael Schumacher (hydraulics) and rookies Vitaly Petrov (fuel leak) and Lucas di Grassi (temperature issues), however all three drivers still managed to get some mileage in. The session was topped by the McLaren of with Lewis Hamilton with team mate Button in third, sandwiching the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg.
The second Friday session saw both Liuzzi and Kovalainen back in their respective seats as Fauzy and di Resta finish their runs for the Malaysian event and while di Resta will replace Liuzzi on Friday morning in China, it is yet unclear when Fauzy will be in the Lotus seat again. Spins and off track excursions dominated second practice as much as it had the morning session with Kamui Kobayashi, Adrian Sutil, Alguersuari (twice), Sebastien Buemi, Timo Glock and Bruno Senna all losing sight of the road at one point or another. Unreliability once again reaped havoc with Red Bull as Webber suffered from a gearbox problem early in the session that caused his number 6 machine to grind to a halt and Vettel having power steering difficulties; however the young German was able to continue for the rest of practice. It was a session that also saw very heavy tyre wear - especially on the left rear as hard and fast right hand turns stressed the rubber - as many of the principle runners did long stints, with the fast times all being set early on. At the top of the timing list once again was Hamilton, but this time Vettel and Rosberg claimed the next two spots. Button and Schumacher completed the top five with times around half-a-second slower than the 2008 World Champion.
Heavy rain was expected throughout the third session on Saturday morning and it prompted many drivers to hit the track early on to get laps in - especially Mark Webber, whose poor reliability issues during Friday, severely hampered his practice runs. The session became an exercise in fast lap swapping between Webber, Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso and Schumacher; with the McLaren and Ferrari pilots clearly having an advantage over their team mates, although the gap between the Mercedes duo remained very close throughout the sixty minutes.
Webber took fastest lap ahead of Hamilton and Vettel, but the German Red Bull driver was the victim of a bizarre incident thirty minutes in as a piece of tape wrapped itself around the suspension on his left front and caused some damage to the wishbones. Vettel was not the only driver to have drama's though as both Petrov and Alguersuari vaulted their respective machines over kerbs and gravel and Heikki Kovalainen damaged his front wing after he went wide entering the back straight.
While the practices may have stayed relatively dry, qualifying reminded the Formula 1 paddock just how changeable the Malaysian weather front can be. Dark clouds formed and the rain came very quickly, yet while many in the field poured out onto the track, a few of the leading runners stayed in and it cost them. By the time Alonso, Hamilton and Massa went out on track, it was far too wet to set a fast time and all three qualified 19th, 20th and 21st respectively. Jenson Button in the second McLaren put in a time good enough for second qualifying, but spun it into the gravel at turn 1, thereby finishing his day early - 17th position for the reigning champion. There were spins aplenty in the wet conditions; primarily from Hamilton, Petrov (twice), both Ferrari's, Buemi, Liuzzi and Senna. Precipitation continued during Qualifying 2, although not as drastic as the first period; however offs for Timo Glock and Jaime Alguersuari saw them drop out. Regen-meister, Michael Schumacher planted his car on the bubble in tenth position and for the first time this season, both Williams and Force India's made it into the final qualifying session.
All the remaining cars went straight out for the final part of qualifying, but another large shower halted the clock with seven-and-a-half minutes remaining - the red flag emerging for the first time in 2010. As the session restarted, both Webber and Rosberg go on track on intermediate tyres; however it took several laps for the lighter rubber to fall into a good operating window - all the while the full wet tyres drove for one good lap before trailing off in the final sector. The strategy worked perfectly as they secure the first two slots on the grid with Webber approximately 1.3 seconds ahead of the younger Mercedes driver; their respective team mates of Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher qualified 3rd and 8th. Sutil and Hulkenberg qualified their cars in 4th and 5th places respectively, thereby ensuring that four of top 5 qualifiers were German - a first in Formula 1.
Come Sunday afternoon, the race started dry although worries of a downpour abounded; however none of this mattered to Pedro de la Rosa as an engine failure scuppered his Grand Prix before the Spaniard had even made it to the grid. With the Sauber cleared from the circuit, the lights counted down and a charging Vettel swept into the race lead at the first corner ahead of Webber and Rosberg. The lead Mercedes driver fell to third place; however there were gains behind the front three as Kubica jumped to 4th and the Hamilton / Massa pair vaulted to 12th and 13th respectively from their lowly starting positions.
During the early laps, Hamilton continued to busy himself by charging through the the field in sublime fashion, unlike Virgin's Timo Glock who managed to take himself out of the Grand Prix by sliding into the side Trulli - the Lotus driver lucky to continue. Young Vitaly Petrov also found himself in the wars battled hard with both Toro Rosso cars and Hamilton - the latter battle became one of the prime moments of controversy during the race as once past the Russian, Hamilton weaved four times across the face of the circuit to try and break the tow to the Renault. It garnered the McLaren driver a warning from the stewards, but nothing else; however the incident successfully managed to reopen the many discussions about weaving and deliberate blocking. An early pitstop from the reigning champion saw him jump a number of places once the stops are completed - his fresher tyres allowing him to jump from 14th to 7th eventually, but come the end of the 190-miles, Button's 47 lap stint of Sepang hurt his tyres very badly and left him with an eighth place finish as Massa sliced by on fresher tyres with 12 remaining. Hamilton pitted his McLaren mid-way through the race and edged out his team mate into turn 1 by a aggressive wheel and registered the fastest pitstop in the process - the McLaren mechanics turning over the 2008 World Champion in 3.5 seconds and sending him out on another fruitless chase after Sutil.
There were early retirements for Schumacher (loose left rear wheel), Kobayashi (engine) and Liuzzi (throttle) and they were joined by Petrov (lap 34 - gearbox) and Fernando Alonso, whose engine exploded spectacularly with two laps remaining. Alonso had driven the entire Grand Prix with a faulty downshift and his mechanical calamity promoted Nico Hulkenberg to tenth for his first points scoring race, while fellow German Adrian Sutil registered his best finish since Monza last season with 5th place - his first points of the 2010 season. There were improved performances from the Toro Rosso duo as Alguersuari secured his first Formula 1 score with a solid 9th place (and a supreme overtaking move around the outside of Hulkenberg on lap 31) and Buemi, who came home in 11th.
Up front though, the Grand Prix was an easily controlled race from the Red Bull's of Vettel and Webber as they serenely marched to a dominant victory - so much so, they barely appear on screen for the entire broadcast. There were also good performances too from Rosberg and Kubica - both of whom silently assumed 3rd and 4th place finishes. Amongst the new teams, both HRT finished the race with Di Grassi and Trulli also seeing the chequered flag - unfortunately for the Virgin, their fuel management nightmare appeared for the first time and he had to run some 15 seconds off of the pace in the final laps.
The 2010 Malaysian Grand Prix eventually stayed dry throughout - much to the surprise of all involved, but still managed to be solid race with lots of overtaking, yet one can't help but think the quality of the event was aided by a topsy-turvy qualifying result. However outside of the big teams, there was still a lot of overtaking and action - particularly from Williams, Toro Rosso and Petrov, so maybe all is not lost yet.
Race Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Sepang, Malaysian Grand Prix (Round 3, April 4th)
1 VETTEL Red Bull 2 WEBBER Red Bull +4.8s3
Sepang, Qualifying (April 3rd)
3rd Session1 WEBBER Red Bull 1m49.327s2 ROSBERG Mercedes 1m50.673s3 VETTEL Red Bull 1m50.789s4 SUTIL Force
Sepang, 3rd Free Practice (April 3rd)
Sepang, 2nd Free Practice (April 2nd)
1 HAMILTON McLaren 1m34.175s2 VETTEL Red Bull 1m34.441s3 ROSBERG Mercedes 1m34.443s4 BUTTON McLaren 1m34.538s5 SCHUMACHER Mercedes 1m34.674s6 KUBICA Renault 1m35.148s7 ALONSO Ferrari 1m35.581s8 BUEMI Toro Rosso 1m35.660s9 PETROV Renault 1m35.872s10 SUTIL Force India 1m35.957s11 KOBAYASHI Sauber 1m36.018s12 LIUZZI Force India 1m36.221s13 DE LA ROSA Sauber 1m36.325s14 ALGUERSUARI Toro Rosso 1m36.325s15 MASSA Ferrari 1m36.602s16 BARRICHELLO Williams 1m36.813s17 HULKENBERG Williams 1m37.415s18 TRULLI Lotus 1m38.454s19 KOVALAINEN Lotus 1m38.530s20 WEBBER Red Bull 1m38.786s21 GLOCK Virgin 1m39.061s22 DI GRASSI Virgin 1m39.158s23 CHANDHOK HRT 1m41.084s24 SENNA HRT 1m41.481s
Sepang, 1st Free Practice (April 2nd)
1 HAMILTON McLaren 1m34.921s2 ROSBERG Mercedes 1m35.106s3 BUTTON McLaren 1m35.207s4 SCHUMACHER Mercedes 1m35.225s5 KUBICA Renault 1m35.402s6 WEBBER Red Bull 1m35.479s7 SUTIL Force India 1m35.955s8 ALONSO Ferrari 1m35.959s9 VETTEL Red Bull 1m36.043s10 BUEMI Toro Rosso 1m36.100s11 MASSA Ferrari 1m36.451s12 KOBAYASHI Sauber 1m36.503s13 ALGUERSUARI Toro Rosso 1m36.645s14 PETROV Renault 1m36.712s15 DI RESTA Force India 1m36.891s16 DE LA ROSA Sauber 1m36.899s17 HULKENBERG Williams 1m37.802s18 BARRICHELLO Williams 1m38.278s19 TRULLI Lotus 1m39.460s20 GLOCK Virgin 1m39.755s21 DI GRASSI Virgin 1m40.159s22 FAUZY Lotus 1m40.721s23 SENNA HRT 1m41.832s24 CHANDHOK HRT 1m41.966s
|1. Felipe Massa||Ferrari||39|
|2. Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||37|
|3. Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing||37|
|4. Jenson Button||McLaren||35|
|5. Nico Rosberg||Mercedes GP||35|
|6. Lewis Hamilton||McLaren||31|
|7. Robert Kubica||Renault||30|
|8. Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing||24|
|9. Adrian Sutil||Force India||10|
|10. Michael Schumacher||Mercedes GP||9|
|11. Antonio Liuzzi||Force India||8|
|12. Rubens Barrichello||Williams||5|
|13. Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso||2|
|14. Nico Hulkenberg||Williams||1|
|3. Red Bull Racing||61|
|4. Mercedes GP||44|
|6. Force India||18|
|8. Toro Rosso||2|
Thursday, 1 April 2010
When Michelin originally left Formula in 2006, it almost felt as if they were forced out. The then FIA president, Max Mosley demanded that there had to be only one tyre supplier in Formula 1 and following the shocking farce of the 2005 US Grand Prix at Indianapolis, it was always going to be Bridgestone that had the sweet spot. What was clear about the 2005 season was that Michelin had easily mastered the rules of one set of tyres for an entire race (as it was for that season), whilst Bridgestone struggled badly with long term graining.
There is really very little point on Michelin being the sole tyre supplier for the sport - they are by their nature a competitive company and will be eager to display their wares against other entities. With Bridgestone having no other suppliers to compete against since the end of 2006, it would be interesting to see how much of the tyre regulations in recent years were drafted in order to keep reporters, commentators and fans alike talking about their product, because the current tyre regulations do very little to actually benefit the sport in any way. It should therefore be very interesting to see what other suppliers (if any) throw their hat into the ring.
Prior to last year's Indianapolis 500, former -Williams F1 test driver, Bruno Junqueira was asked to give up his spot on the grid for team mate Alex Tagliani following a mechanical failure on Tagliani's All Sport Conquest Racing machine. Realising that Tagliani was bringing a majority of sponsorship to the struggling outfit, Junqueira stood aside and Tagliani drove a solid race to finish in 11th place. Regardless of how much respect Tagliani commands and how well he performed, it was still a decision met with some derision. Since the 2009 event, things have been rather quiet for Junqueira who has not driven in any competition since he was replaced at Conquest Racing.
However with his new FAZZT Racing squad, former team mate Alex Tagliani has confirmed that he will be running a second car for this year's 500 mile race and that Junqueira will be in the driving seat. It is unclear at this time what sponsorship that the 33-year-old Brazilian will be bringing - or even if he will be bringing any - but it marks one of the rare times a truly positive story emerges from a motor racing paddock.
Junqueira does have a rather good competition record in motor racing - after losing out on a Williams F1 seat to current World Champion, Jenson Button in 2000, Junqueira went on to win the 2000 Formula 3000 Championship before going to the US with Chip Ganassi and taking 5th place at the 2001 Indy 500 and a pole position at the following year's event. He finished 2nd place in the Champ Car World Series (formerly CART) three seasons in a row - from 2002 to 2004 - to three different drivers; however since his last Champ Car success, his fortunes have suffered a downward turn as his career has been hampered by injury or poor seats. Junqueira broke his back at the 2005 Indianapolis 500 in a frightening accident with AJ Foyt IV.
Wednesday, 31 March 2010
Another certainty for Sepang will be Sebastian Vettel's determination to reach the chequered flag following mechanical issues at the first two events - both while leading. An additional retirement this weekend will only add to the young German's frustration.
Monday, 29 March 2010
Should he qualify, Andretti - who is 47 years-old - will be competing in his eleventh Indy 500 following his début at the famous race in 1988. He drove mainly Lola machinery for various team owners until 1994, before he left for what was then the NASCAR Winston Cup. Andretti returned to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as an Indycar driver in 2007 with Panther Racing and also drove for Marty Roth and Richard Petty Motorsports in the two 500-mile races since then.
Andretti has a best qualifying position of 7th in the 1991 Indy 500 and a best finish of 5th at the same event, however the likelihood of the veteran repeating that performance is rather slim.
There is still no confirmation as to who will be the main backer for the fifth Andretti Autosport car, but whether this year's entry will carry any NASCAR related sponsorship. The Indy Racing League has struggled somewhat in recent years with attendance and TV numbers; however it is thought these numbers have reached plateau and with a new CEO and title sponsor, the series may see a slow upswing in these figures.
Sunday, 28 March 2010
For eleven years, Adelaide finished the season, before the Grand Prix venue moved to its current location of Albert Park in 1996 and it has been the season opener for a majority of the years since that time. Of course, 1996 was not the first year the Grand Prix cars ran at Albert Park - Formula 1 cars débuted at the circuit on November 23rd 1953 for a non-Championship race won by Doug Whiteford in Talbot-Lago car, while Sterling Moss won the second Melbourne event in 1956, before a break of 40 years saw various Grand Prix machinery compete elsewhere in the country. For the most part, Melbourne has produced some excellent Grand Prix and following the slightly doddery start to the 2010 season in Sakhir, Melbourne restored the faith by producing some stellar action.
Before the weekend even got going, contentions were in full swing as it transpired that the new Virgin team may have designed a fuel tank that is too small to complete a race distance at a fat track, thereby necessitating a redesigned tank (and potentially other elements); while McLaren, Mercedes and two other squads have had to slightly close the gap around their starter motor and rear diffuser. Meanwhile eyebrows (and questions) were raised about Red Bull's "adjustable" ride height system - as yet unproven, of course.
On track, Force India's reserve driver, Paul di Resta ran in Adrian Sutil's car in free practice 1 to get some laps and experience; however the seat was relinquished for the later sessions - di Resta will occasionally swap seats with the two regular drivers throughout the season. Of the nine rookies that are in Melbourne, only Bruno Senna has previously competed at the circuit as the young Brazilian raced Formula 3 machinery on the Australian tarmac in 2006.
During the opening session itself, Kamui Kobayashi had a silly accident through the fast turn 11/12 chicane; as he took the entry too tight and fast and forcefully removed sections of his front wing and caused a red flag to emerge. It was not long before the session gets going again and when the young Japanese driver went back out, his front wing collapsed after only a few corners bringing out another red flag of the session. A poor practice session for Sauber got worse as Pedro de la Rosa stopped on circuit with mechanical problems. There were spins from Vitaly Petrov and the two Lotus cars, while Heikki Kovalainen pulled off track at the very end of the session with mechanical problems. At the top end of the results, fast laps from Robert Kubica (Renault), Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) and Jenson Button (McLaren) saw them take First Practice honours at the end of the first ninety minutes.
As the second session commenced, light rain began to fall on the Melbourne track prompting most of the cars to go on circuit and get some times on the board - especially the two McLaren's who spend the early part of the session swapping fastest laps as the rain fizzles out. Unfortunately the HRT driver Karun Chandhok suffered a driveshaft failure only meters after exiting the pitlane, ending his session early on - it would not be all bad for the Indian driver as he picked up many more miles during the weekend. Following a period of heavy running, the rain begins to come down heavily again, but this time the track clears as most of the drivers head back to the pits. Once again, the moisture softens and a few cars go out on track, but are significantly slower that the times already posted. Adrian Sutil returned to his car after di Resta's morning run. The track was somewhat drier by the end of the session, as a few drivers put in faster times - by the end of Friday practice, the lists were topped by Lewis Hamilton and Button (McLaren), with Mark Webber (Red Bull, Michael Schumacher (Mercedes) not far behind. Following the Friday evening sessions, Hamilton was pulled over by police for "over-exuberant" driving in his Mercedes sports car; to say that it was quite silly would be an understatement - whether it harms his attitude over the weekend remains to be seen.
A much cooler Saturday greeted the field for Saturday morning practice as Webber took the fastest time in his Red Bull Racing machine. Vettel also ran fast on circuit, as did Schumacher, Hamilton and Alonso - the five drivers swapped fastest laps throughout the session. For the two-time world Champion, Alonso struggled with heavy traffic - at one point baulked by the HRT of Bruno Senna. Unfortunately for the Brazilian driver, his engine cut out shortly afterward and his car ground to a halt on the exit of turn two. It went from bad to worse for the Spanish squad as Senna's team mate Karun Chandhok, retired quietly in the pits - his car motionless with a hydraulic problem.
As the afternoon drifted onward, the opening qualifying session saw much traffic with all twenty-four cars on circuit - something noted on team radio by Williams driver Rubens Barrichello. Unsurprisingly, all six new cars were knocked out and were joined by Petrov; however the session saw a big improvement for HRT as Senna and Chandhok lined up less than six seconds slower than the leading drivers and well within 107% of the fastest time. In the second part of the session, Lewis Hamilton was a surprise drop-out as he placed his car 11th on the grid - it appears the McLaren pilot was struggling badly with a poor balance and probably poor concentration too - while the much fancied Nico Hulkenberg qualified a disappointing 15th. Both of their team mates made it into the final part of qualifying.
The final session of qualifying saw Red Bull cars grab the front row, as Sebastien Vettel that took pole over Australian native Mark Webber. Button secured 4th place inbetween the two Ferrari's and just ahead of the Mercedes duo of Rosberg and Schumacher.
If you though the Bahrain Grand Prix was a little dull, then the Australian Grand Prix could not have been more different. From the second the lights went out until the moment the chequered flag dropped, the second race of 2010 was all action. As expected, the weather played its part for a very short period as the rain teemed down only minutes prior to the formation lap, necessitating intermediate wet tyres for all the drivers, except for the Lotus of Jarno Trulli - the Italian did not even make it to the grid as a hydraulic failure ended his race before it even started.
When the Grand Prix did start, Vettel romped into the lead, but a feisty looking Robert Kubica jumped ahead some of the frontrunners and into fourth place - partially because of an excellent start, but also because Button, Schumacher and Alonso clashed at turn 1 leaving the the Ferrari driver at the back of the field and Schumacher needing a new front wing. The damage inflicted on the 7-time world champion was nothing compared to the destruction inflicted by Kobayashi on Hulkenberg and Buemi at turn 3 - the Sauber driver lost his front wing entering turn 6 and ploughed into the side of his two hapless victims. Not even half a lap had been completed and the safety car was already touring the circuit. As the Mercedes sportscar pulled in, four laps were in the books and the track had began to dry out significantly - it was not long before the McLaren's were struggling on their inters changed to the soft tyres on the seventh and eighth laps respectively. Hamilton had gotten by Button prior to his stop, but it was the current Champion that emerged ahead of the two from the pitlane and instantly began to set fastest laps - within one tour, the rest of the field begins to change rubber as well. Australian native, Mark Webber was the last stopper and it dropped him a few spots behind race leader Vettel; however he didn't lose quite as many places as Petrov - the Russian driver lost traction in his Renault entering turn 3 and buried his machine in the gravel to retire from his second Grand Prix.
By this stage Button had progressed to second place - behind Vettel, but ahead of Kubica, Rosberg and Massa; however an under pressure Massa went wide at the first turn and dropped places to both Hamilton and Webber, but reclaimed his those two spots at turn 3 as the McLaren and Red Bull drivers tangle in the middle of the corner - the Red Bull coming off the worse of the two. This opened the door for the second Ferrari, as a hard charging Alonso had already moved up to eighth position by lap 15 and was setting fastest times. He reeled in the battling threesome with aplomb and now his attention turned to his 2007 team mate. It was clear at this point that the rear tyres on Massa's and Rosberg's respective sets were graining badly and this enabled Hamilton to get by the Brazilian into turn 1 - a brave move perfectly executed, but not quite as sublime as his move around Rosberg. Hamilton made quick work of the German to power around the outside of him through the fast turn 11/12 chicane.
On lap 26 and down at turn 13, the dust became airborne, the gravel shook violently and a backward drifting car grasped the attention of the grandstand and television viewers - Sebastian Vettel was out - break failure. For the second consecutive race, a Red Bull failure would hand the race to someone else - on this occasion, the lead was gifted to Jenson Button. Kubica slotted up to second place and was busy absorbing pressure from Hamilton; however behind the McLaren driver, others began to pit and Hamilton's team react by bringing the Englishman in on lap 34 - a move that would eventually stifle his race. Both Webber and Rosberg changed tyres also, but Hamilton had the jump on both - unfortunately they rejoined the race some over 35 seconds behind Button with only 20 laps remaining; although whereas it was unlikely for Button to get caught, the Renault of Robert Kubica and both Ferrari's were within catching distance on their old tyres.
Soon the laps fell away like the rubber from the leading four and Hamilton and Webber closed on the Kubica / Massa / Alonso battle by over 1 second per lap. With less than ten laps left on the counter, Button possessed a 17 second lead on Kubica with Massa not far behind the Pole - Alonso still in fourth had both Hamilton and Webber in his mirrors; however a stalemate ensued as Hamilton with scuffed rubber entered Alonso's dirty air. The 2008 World Champion tried a number of moves on his former team mate - unsuccessfully - but when an attempt in turn turn 13 on lap 56 doesn't quite come together, the McLaren pilot is rammed from the back by Webber. Both kept going, but Lewis lost a spot while Webber pitted for a new wing and dropped to ninth.
With nothing left, Button cruised to his second consecutive Australian Grand Prix victory and the eight of his Formula 1 career. A marvellous race that was the antithesis of the procession around Sakhir from two weeks ago and easily one of the stand out races from the last few seasons - fantastic stuff. A note of congratulations to for the HRT team, as their driver Karun Chandhok made it to the end of the race, albeit 5 laps adrift of the winner, but everyone has to start somewhere.
Come Thursday, the teams will be in Sepang for the twelfth Malaysian Grand Prix and the third race of 2010, but will it live up to this?
Race Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Melbourne, Australian Grand Prix (Round 2, March 28th)
1 BUTTON McLaren
2 KUBICA Renault +12.0s
4 ALONSO Ferrari +16.3s
5 ROSBERG Mercedes +16.6s
7 LIUZZI Force
8 BARRICHELLO Williams +60.5s
9 WEBBER Red Bull +67.3s
10 SCHUMACHER Mercedes +69.3s
11 ALGUERSUARI Toro Rosso +71.3s
12 DE LA
13 KOVALAINEN Lotus +2 laps
14 CHANDHOK HRT +5 laps
R. GLOCK Virgin +17 laps
R. DI GRASSI Virgin +32 laps
R. VETTEL Red Bull +33 laps
R. SUTIL Force India +49 laps
R. PETROV Renault +49 laps
R. SENNA HRT +54 laps
R. BUEMI Toro Rosso +58 laps
R. HULKENBERG Williams +58 laps
R. KOBAYASHI Sauber +58 laps
R. TRULLI Lotus +58 laps
Melbourne, Qualifying (March 27th)
1 VETTEL Red Bull 1m23.919s
2 WEBBER Red Bull 1m24.035s
3 ALONSO Ferrari 1m24.111s
5 MASSA Ferrari 1m24.837s
6 ROSBERG Mercedes 1m24.884s
7 SCHUMACHER Mercedes 1m24.927s
8 BARRICHELLO Williams 1m25.217s
9 KUBICA Renault 1m25.372s
10 SUTIL Force India 1m26.036s2nd Session
11 HAMILTON McLaren 1m25.184s
12 BUEMI Toro Rosso 1m25.638s
13 LIUZZI Force India 1m25.743s
14 DE LA
15 HULKENBERG Williams 1m25.748s
16 KOBAYASHI Sauber 1m25.777s17 ALGUERSUARI Toro Rosso 1m26.089s
18 PETROV Renault 1m26.471s
19 KOVALAINEN Lotus 1m28.797s
20 TRULLI Lotus 1m29.111s
21 GLOCK Virgin 1m29.592s
22 DI GRASSI Virgin 1m30.185s
23 SENNA HRT 1m30.526s24 CHANDHOK HRT 1m30.613s
Melbourne, 3rd Free Practice (March 27th)
1 WEBBER Red Bull 1m24.719s
2 ALONSO Ferrari 1m24.929s
3 SCHUMACHER Mercedes 1m24.963s
4 VETTEL Red Bull 1m25.122s
5 ROSBERG Mercedes 1m25.366s
6 BUTTON McLaren 1m25.399s
7 HAMILTON McLaren 1m25.505s
8 SUTIL Force
9 MASSA Ferrari 1m25.549s
10 LIUZZI Force India 1m25.782s
11 BARRICHELLO Williams 1m25.852s
12 BUEMI Toro Rosso 1m26.104s
13 KUBICA Renault 1m26.184s
14 KOBAYASHI Sauber 1m26.275s
15 ALGUERSUARI Toro Rosso 1m26.368s
16 PETROV Renault 1m26.661s
18 DE LA ROSA Sauber 1m26.818s
19 KOVALAINEN Lotus 1m29.539s
20 TRULLI Lotus 1m29.800s
21 DI GRASSI Virgin 1m30.800s
22 GLOCK Virgin 1m31.114s
23 CHANDHOK HRT 1m34.334s
24 SENNA HRT 1m36.649s
Melbourne, 2nd Free Practice (March 26th)
2 BUTTON McLaren 1m26.076s
3 WEBBER Red Bull 1m26.248s
4 SCHUMACHER Mercedes 1m26.511s
5 PETROV Renault 1m26.732s
6 BUEMI Toro Rosso 1m26.832s
7 SUTIL Force
8 LIUZZI Force
9 BARRICHELLO Williams 1m26.904s
10 ROSBERG Mercedes 1m26.956s
11 KUBICA Renault 1m27.108s
12 DE LA
13 KOBAYASHI Sauber 1m27.455s
14 HULKENBERG Williams 1m27.545s
15 ALONSO Ferrari 1m29.025s
16 VETTEL Red Bull 1m29.134s
18 KOVALAINEN Lotus 1m29.860s
19 ALGUERSUARI Toro Rosso 1m30.510s
20 TRULLI Lotus 1m30.695s
21 GLOCK Virgin 1m32.117s
22 DI GRASSI Virgin no time
23 CHANDHOK HRT no time24 SENNA HRT no time
Melbourne, 1st Free Practice (March 26th)
2 ROSBERG Mercedes 1m27.126s
3 BUTTON McLaren 1m27.482s
5 VETTEL Red Bull 1m27.686s
6 ALONSO Ferrari 1m27.747s
8 BUEMI Toro Rosso 1m28.014s
9 PETROV Renault 1m28.114s
10 LIUZZI Force
11 DI RESTA Force
12 SCHUMACHER Mercedes 1m28.550s
13 ALGUERSUARI Toro Rosso 1m28.572s
14 WEBBER Red Bull 1m28.683s
15 DE LA
16 BARRICHELLO Williams 1m29.712s
17 HULKENBERG Williams 1m30.249s
18 KOBAYASHI Sauber 1m31.588s
19 TRULLI Lotus 1m31.652s
20 KOVALAINEN Lotus 1m31.654s
21 DI GRASSI Virgin 1m32.831s
22 SENNA HRT 1m33.401s
23 CHANDHOK HRT 1m34.251s
24 GLOCK Virgin 1m34.925s
Saturday, 27 March 2010
Should the teenager make the transition, he will be yet another driver from down under to join the Red Bull Racing squad - a team that already contains Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) and Brendon Hartley (New Zealand). Evans is currently competing in the Australian Formula 3 Championship with Team BRM, where he has taken three wins from his first three events. In 2008, he claimed the Formula Ford Manfield Winter Series and last year, he took second overall in the Australian Formula Ford Championship.
Evans' new mentor also owns shares in the GP3 team MW Arden with Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner, so if Evans does make the jump to European Formula racing, a clear path of progression is set to be cleared for him. With the Australian Grand Prix happening this weekend, this is a very positive move for not just Red Bull, but also for the sport as a whole.
Wednesday, 24 March 2010
At this stage it has already been determined that the controversial double-diffuser, that was introduced in 2009 by Brawn, Williams and the now defunct Toyota squad, is to be banned in an effort to reduce the downforce the cars produce to supposed 2009 levels, but whether can be feasibly achieved is an unknown at this stage. Since the Overtaking Working Group's suggestions for new aerodynamic regulation during 2008, the engineers and designers have worked tirelessly to grab much of that back - there were rumours during the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend that downforce levels were already closing in on the numbers produced two seasons ago. The removal of the double-diffuser will hopefully take those aerodynamic figures down somewhat, but it raises another question - has the refuelling ban come a year too early?
In hindsight, the refuelling ban twinned with the ejection of double-diffusers would have made much more sense; however the series is now left with one year of cars that are unable to pass on track while unable to extract the most from strategy. Races could potentially be decided by how teams treat their tyres, yet for their final season in the sport, Bridgestone have produced what appear to be their most reliable rubber yet, thereby making variations in tyre strategy rather limited as well.
The refuelling ban was not going to be the only answer to the question of dull races though. As stated many times by many people, as long as the dirty air from the front wing and undertray is prevalent, then passing is always going to be incredibly difficult (here's my contribution). We are not looking for easy passing manoeuvres - it's simply not fun to watch when there's no challenge - but the car's at least need to be able to attempt a pass and getting designers to easily give up on aerodynamic downforce will be no easy task.
Tuesday, 23 March 2010
This weekend also sees the second Indycar race of the season on the streets of St Petersburg, Florida. Mark Webber's fellow Aussie, Will Power will be looking to add to his Sao Paolo success in his Verizon Penske machine and has a great opportunity to do so on another tough street event.
Monday, 22 March 2010
In January, Bernie Ecclestone commented that shortcuts could be introduced to Formula 1 in order to spice up the racing (I wrote about his suggestion here); possibly because he foresaw that there may be processions during the season. Some sections of the media and fandom wrote off shortcuts as nonsense sprouted by an out of touch money hog, while others went into an epileptic fervour when confronted by the suggestion. Regardless of their ultimate intention, Ecclestone's comments were made, people reacted and the quote was quickly forgotten when pre-season testing commenced two weeks later. Headlines were written and Formula 1 was in the news once more during the January lull; however it is doubtful that many thought the shortcuts story would return - yet like the Olympic medals idea that Bernie has been peddling occasionally, it came back like a bad rash. However, there was a method to the medals idea and as far as Bernie may be concerned, it eventually gave him the result that was wanted.
For those that don't remember, the medals idea was initially suggested by Ecclestone just prior to the 1989 Hungarian Grand Prix and is thought to have been a move against the then Formula 1 points system of 9-6-4-3-2-1 from first place to sixth respectively. Crucially only the eleven best results counted towards the championship standings and the 1988 title was won by Ayrton Senna, despite Senna scoring eleven points less than team mate and rival Alain Prost. Whatever the machinations that Ecclestone employs, it had the desired effect and from 1991, all results counted and the points for a win rounded up to 10. The moment the chequered flag dropped in Bahrain, stories of shortcuts and other controversial ideas reappeared in the media, but rather than take them literally, this may well be a push to get the sport to move quickly to try to fix the overtaking problem. Give an extreme proposition and those on the inside may come up with more amicable solutions...
Apart from shortcuts, another idea that has cropped up since the end of the Bahrain race is that of two mandatory pitstops per car. Although this might sound like an intriguing idea on paper, it is more than conceivable that this enforced strategy will produce racing that is just as boring in practice as the current regulations. When such strategic restraints are placed upon the teams, it is highly likely that they may end up pitting their drivers within one or two laps of eachother - in essence, the rulemakers may end up replacing one stalemate with another. Considering that one of the potential results of removing refuelling would be to also shake up tyre strategy, enforcing such specific strategies on teams could in turn make every race utterly predictable in every way and it is this very end game that Formula 1 must avoid at all costs.
There was also the notion the Bridgestone should bring ultra-soft tyres that would easily fall apart seems utterly daft and completely pointless and may surely only incur bad press for the Japanese company. In motor racing circles, Bridgestone ooze excellence, whether it be in Formula 1 and its related feeder formulae or in the US under its Firestone/Firehawk branding and it is not and entity that prides itself on producing sub-standard material because the sports own regulations are faulty.
These suggestions, comments and ideas ultimately ignore the main issue of top flight motor racing; namely aerodynamics. All of the fancy quirks and minor rule changes pale into insignificance when compared to the power of a cars' aerodynamic wake. For so many years, drivers have been rather vocal about the dirty air of the car in front preventing passing, yet it is the one element that the FIA have struggled to contain and it looks like the issue may continue to elude them for some time - despite the banning of the controversial double-diffuser from 2011.
On James Allen's blog last week, he received "a note" from former Williams and Toyota aerodynamacist Frank Dernie about the aero problem and while Dernie made some valid points about the reduction of aerodynamic downforce not making it easier to pass (as seen with the exclusion of the skirts in 1982), the consideration of the dirty air that the wings create was largely ignored, but how can this issue seriously be address? The racing manufacturer, Swift may have a partial answer with their 2012 IRL chassis proposal.
In December 2007, Swift Engineering announced that the new Formula Nippon chassis would contain an element called the "mushroom buster" - essentially taking the under-wing concept also seen in the GP2/05 and the Toyota Atlantics series up until recently a step further. Swift's chief designer Chris Norris commented in the manufacturer's proposal that "...whatever our final (...) concept design, Swift will incorporate its new pioneering technology to improve passing..."
The term "mushroom buster" is in reference to the shape of the aerodynamic wake that a car produces. Norris claims the 'busters' will "...sweep up the wake behind the leading car without harming the handling of the following car. We have already effectively utilised Mushroom Busters in our Formula Nippon car design, the 017.n and believe we can take this technology much further..." It is a theory that Formula 1 may need to consider as the current route of aerodynamics of the cars appears to lead the quality of racing further and further down a dark alleyway.
The poor perception of the Bahrain event was not helped by some sub-standard TV direction. While there may not have been much overtaking up front, there were still a solid number of moves for position below the top 10; mainly from Renault's Robert Kubica and Adrian Sutil of Force India. Both these drivers spun from their mid-pack positions at the first corner and fell to the rear of the field and for much of the rest of the race, the duo picked up places by either forcing their way through on track or by nabbing positions during the pitstops. Unfortunately viewers rarely ever saw it, because - for obvious reasons - the TV direction was to the front of the field for that was where the real "action" was. If anything, the refuelling may be a blessing in disguise for Formula 1, for it has exposed how little on track passing there actually is in the series - this time it will not be masked by pitlane "action".
Of course, this could all be academic - should the Australian Grand Prix be a good race, then the Bahrain race will be put down to it just being a singular poor event and like the 1999 Spanish Grand Prix and 2005 Hungarian Grand Prix will be consigned to the history books as epic blips on the map. With all the talk from the organisers and rule-makers of Formula 1 about spicing up the spectacle, you would think they could draft regulations that will allow for some sort of competition and overtaking; thereby actually providing a spectacle.
Sunday, 21 March 2010
It feels so long ago, yet it still haunts. Today is the fifteenth anniversary of Ayrton Senna's Death - a day that virtually transformed the face of motorsport forever. It was a weekend that also claimed the life of the Austrian driver Roland Ratzenberger during Saturday qualifying for the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix and left Rubens Barrichello hospitalised following a severe Friday practice crash.
It's odd that their deaths actually feel like they happened longer ago. Formula 1 (and motor sport in general) has changed beyond recognition in the past 15 years - it had too. The safety of drivers, fans and mechanics have become paramount and the days of 180 mph corners lined only with concrete walls are gone.
Where once the drivers were fairly exposed, they are now cocooned in their cockpits; where mechanics once wore shorts and t-shirts whilst hanging around the pitlane, they now all wear fire protective attire and for better or for worse where fans once could get relatively close to the action and leave messages on the track for drivers and teams (dead or alive), they are now sat behind distant fences watching sporting royalty from afar.
There will always be people who watch motor racing for the thrill of seeing a big accident, but even then everyone wants the driver to jump out and walk away - how cruel that in the apace of twenty-four hours, the motor racing world received two very real warnings as to why it should never be so complacent.
Ayrton Senna "The Whole Story" (by Christopher Hilton)
A few days ago I mumbled on about how Franz Ferdinand's new album felt like a cheap biography - there would be an excellent opening section that would inform the reader/listener about the subject's youth, determination and ultimate motivation. The next chapters would tell of the struggles as well as the success' and eventually the next section would dwell on the peaks before the inevitable epilogue.
The very best biographies will weave stories continuously throughout a book, while some lamentable efforts slot into a recession of stop/start storytelling that relies specifically on blow-by-blow, date-by-date entries. It is possible that it's just me, but biographies are a lot less fun when they steer away from the subject as a person and instead follow a path of results and short quotations.
While Ayrton Senna: the Whole Story is not a bad book by any stretch of the imagination, it does fall ever so slightly into statistical storytelling during the latter half of Senna's career rather than regaling the reader with tales of Senna's powerful personality. While this in itself isn't too bad, it means that closeness of the subject is lost. After a time, it begins to read a little like a memo and as a result detaches itself from the reader somewhat.
Inevitably, the tragic weekend of Imola 1994 is covered in great depth, covering, not just the many accidents of the meeting, but also the feelings of around the paddock over the course of the four days and it is in these chapters that Christopher Hilton excels. The book covers Senna's near obsession with religion with a deft hand and avoids any temptation to be overzealous in favour of subtlety.
Although I already admired and knew a great deal about the man, many of the interviews show a much greater insight into Senna and reveal the passion and intelligence through which his mind worked. To be honest, I don't think any words that I can come up would ever truly describe Senna, but hopefully this two-part interview with Steve Rider in February 1990 can delve ever so slightly into his person.
May the 1st, 1994 is a date that is burned deep into my head. I remember getting up on Sunday morning and I remember the picture of Roland Ratzenberger on the back of the Sunday World (killed the previous day in Qualifying - followed by imagining the spluttering morons claiming the motor racing was a disgrace and should be banned - let's not forget the gobshites that chose to speak following Richard Hammond's Top Gear accident). There was the start-line accident between Pedro Lamy and JJ Lehto and fifteen-minutes later, the accident.
I remember my Dad and I used to go for drives to the Curragh on occasional Sunday's as soon as the race was over - but I recollect that on this particular Sunday, we didn't watch the rest of the race. A time later my Dad turned on the radio in the car and it was the death of Senna that governed the conversation of the weekend sports show (Ireland doesn't have weekends - it has 48-hour long Sundays). I also remember another neighbour coming out that evening playfully announcing that "...your mate got in the head, just like that guy yesterday..."
This year will be the 15th anniversary of Senna's death; however this book did not remind of his death - in fact, it reminded me of a wonderfully passionate life. I often look at modern musicians and racing drivers and so many look devoid of passion for they are more often than not PR controlled - in order to offend no one, you must show no passion.
There is a moment, a facial expression and a feeling that is frozen time time. I had the same feeling when I stayed up all night listening to reports of Princess Diana's death (although I am no royalist, it was such news) and that feeling emerged again when I learned of Joe Strummer's death, but nothing burns quite like that accident.
I will never forget that day as long as I live.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Simon Armitage "Gig"
Through game communities and websites, a "driver" can play with and explore many circuits from the world over that will never find it itself on any international racing calendar.
Originally, touring cars and club class machinery ran around the town of Benguela, but it was in May 1972 that the 4km long permanent circuit was opened; however as with much of the African continent, various economic and political problems had kept the arena virtually abandoned for the most part over the next nearly 30 years.
It was a great loss considering the layout possesses some truly fantastic corners - in particular the nearly flat turns 4-5 section and difficult last two corners are stand outs, followed by a very long straight for overtaking.
Initially the circuit was designed for the Springbok Sportscar Series which was popular in some African territories throughout the 1960's, but even that dried up once many European competitors - turned off by fear and the threat of violence - stopped coming in later years. While Kyalami in South Africa held Formula 1 events right up until the early 1993, it wasn't until 2001 that the circuit reappeared on the international calendar as it hosted the inaugural Motorcycle Grand Prix of Benguela.
Unfortunately, since Angola is not part of the African Motorcycle Union, the Benguela circuit could run any officially sanctioned events, meaning that any races that did take part were most likely organised by the competitors themselves. As of 2004, the circuit no longer appears to be operational; although the area around the track and nearby towns are continuing to develop at a rapid pace. Now the Ombaka National Football Stadium sits in the town where the course once stood supreme - it is unfortunate that Benguela Raceway will not be part Angola's future development, but the political and economic difficulties that the country continues to endure may keep motor racing away from Angola for many years to come.
Sunday, 14 March 2010
It appeared as if most of the teams were trying out heavy runs to see how they will go in the race, except for HRT who just seemed happy to get their car running for the first time. Unfortunately for the new Spanish team, Bruno Senna only managed three laps in the morning and not a whole lot more during the second session and was way off the front running pace - his HRT machine looking massively unstable through the faster sweeps.
The teams that everyone expected to be fast - Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren and Mercedes - did not disappoint and there were signs of Force India tagging onto the back of that group. At the back end of the field, the teams that were expected to be off the pace - Lotus, Virgin and the aforementioned HRT - were indeed quite off the pace. An unretired Michael Schumacher seemed to be struggling with his new Mercedes car if the reports from the pits are to be believed, although his new team mate, Nico Rosberg, found his car much more comfortable.
There were also a couple of wheel problems over the first couple of days of running. On Friday afternoon, a wheel nut from Bruno Senna's car came free at the end of second practice, thereby stopping his session and Timo Glock's Virgin Racing machine lost his front right wheel during Saturday morning, leaving him trundling around the circuit on three wheels.
Come qualifying, Sebastian Vettel secured the first pole of the season only just 1/10th of a second ahead of Felipe Massa and a further 4/10th's of a second in front of Fernando Alonso - a key early victory for the Brazilian driver in his first back since his horrific injury in Hungary last season. Congratulations to Timo Glock for being the first if the new teams and an even greater heads up must be given to Karun Chandhok whose first ever laps in the HRT machine was during today's qualifying session - I cannot remember the last time I saw such a cool driver as Chandhok, when facing the possibility of not racing.
On Sunday, the reshaped circuit decreed that the race came in at 49 laps and of the top 10, it was Adrian Sutil who looked like he might spring a surprise as he started from 10th place with the harder tyres; unfortunately contact from his team mate Antonio Liuzzi spun the young German down to back of the field. The Renault of Robert Kubica also spun exiting turn 1 where he joined Sutil. Both Sutil and Kubica showed very good pace during the race, so to be handicapped so early in the event made sure that points would not be coming their way. An interesting return to racing for the 7-time World Champion Michael Schumacher as he finished in 6th place, behind Rosberg; however the returnee still managed to get to the line ahead of the defending champion Jenson Button.
For the new teams, it was a mixed series of results as both Lotus cars managed to finish the race - an excellent result in itself - made even better by Kovalainen beating Buemi by the flag. Chandhok retired following contact with the barrier on lap 2, while both Virgin's and the second HRT of Senna retired with mechanical problems.
Another shame for the race was Vettel dropping back with a cracked exhaust - a failure that nullified the battle at the front, as the Ferrari duo of Massa and Alonso appeared to settle into engine saving mode once the Red Bull was out of the way. Alonso stretched his legs and won the Grand Prix by quite a large margin ahead of his team mate, with Lewis Hamilton in third place - Vettel eventually finished in fourth place. It was quite noticeable during Alonso's slow down lap that his fist was out and he was waving his hands in celebration - to no one. There were absolutely no grandstands or general admission areas in the middle of the track and apart from a few marshals, there was absolutely no one around - it was a very eerie sight.
All in all, it was not a great race, but then again Bahrain has rarely produced stunning Grand Prix. It also doesn't help that it is very hard to tell any of the corners apart in the middle of the desert track and it only makes me want the Australian Grand Prix to come around quicker. The next race takes place in Melbourne in two weeks time. It should be interesting to see if Ferrari and Red Bull can continue their Bahrain pace. My thanks to ICON, Kartographie Huber and Hot Maps for supplying the extremely detailed map of the Sakhir circuit above - their website should anyone want a swift look around can be found at hot-map.com.
Kartographie Huber Website
Race Rating: 2 out of 5
Sakhir, Bahrain Grand Prix (Round 1, March 14th)
1. ALONSO Ferrari 49 Laps
2. MASSA Ferrari +16.0s
3. HAMILTON McLaren +23.1s
4. VETTEL Red Bull +38.7s
5. ROSBERG Mercedes +40.2s
6. SCHUMACHER Mercedes +44.1s
7. BUTTON McLaren +45.2s
8. WEBBER Red Bull +46.3s
9. LIUZZI Force India +53.0s
10. BARRICHELLO Williams +62.4s
11. KUBICA Renault +69.0s
12. SUTIL Force India +82.9s
13. ALGUERSUARI Toro Rosso +92.6s
14. HULKENBERG Williams +1 lap
15. KOVALAINEN Lotus +2 laps
16. BUEMI Toro Rosso +3 laps
17. TRULLI Lotus +3 laps
R. DE LA ROSA Sauber +21 laps
R. SENNA HRT +32 laps
R. GLOCK Virgin +33 laps
R. PETROV Renault +36 laps
R. KOBAYASHI Sauber +38 laps
R. DI GRASSI Virgin +47 laps
R. CHANDHOK HRT +48 laps
Sakhir, Qualifying (March 13th)
1 VETTEL Red Bull 1m54.101s
3 ALONSO Ferrari 1m54.608s
5 ROSBERG Mercedes 1m55.241s
6 WEBBER Red Bull 1m55.284s
7 SCHUMACHER Mercedes 1m55.524s
8 BUTTON McLaren 1m55.672s
9 KUBICA Renault 1m55.885s
10 SUTIL Force
11 BARRICHELLO Williams 1m55.330s
12 LIUZZI Force
13 HULKENBERG Williams 1m55.857s
14 DE LA
15 BUEMI Toro Rosso 1m56.265s
16 KOBAYASHI Sauber 1m56.270s
17 PETROV Renault 1m56.619s
18 ALGUERSUARI Toro Rosso 1m57.071s
19 GLOCK Virgin 1m59.728s
20 TRULLI Lotus 1m59.852s
21 KOVALAINEN Lotus 2m00.313s
22 DI GRASSI Virgin 2m00.587s
23 SENNA HRT 2m03.240s
24 CHANDHOK HRT 2m04.904s
Sakhir, 3rd Free Practice (March 13th)
1 ALONSO Ferrari 1m54.099s
3 WEBBER Red Bull 1m54.500s
4 SCHUMACHER Mercedes 1m54.533s
5 VETTEL Red Bull 1m54.646s
6 MASSA Ferrari 1m54.739s
7 BUTTON McLaren 1m55.000s
8 KUBICA Renault 1m55.331s
9 LIUZZI Force India 1m55.432s
10 HULKENBERG Williams 1m55.461s
11 SUTIL Force India 1m55.521s
12 HAMILTON McLaren 1m55.860s
13 DE LA ROSA Sauber 1m56.063s
14 BARRICHELLO Williams 1m56.259s
15 BUEMI Toro Rosso 1m56.295s
16 ALGUERSUARI Toro Rosso 1m56.504s
17 KOBAYASHI Sauber 1m56.530s
18 PETROV Renault 1m56.811s
19 GLOCK Virgin 1m59.173s
20 KOVALAINEN Lotus 1m59.789s
21 TRULLI Lotus 2m01.259s
22 SENNA HRT 2m04.001s
23 DI GRASSI Virgin no time
24 CHANDHOK HRT no time
Sakhir, 2nd Free Practice (March 12th)
1 ROSBERG Mercedes 1m55.409s
3 SCHUMACHER Mercedes 1m55.903s
4 BUTTON McLaren 1m56.076s
5 VETTEL Red Bull 1m56.459s
6 HULKENBERG Williams 1m56.501s
8 PETROV Renault 1m56.750s
9 ALONSO Ferrari 1m57.140s
10 DE LA
11 KOBAYASHI Sauber 1m57.352s
12 SUTIL Force
13 BARRICHELLO Williams 1m57.452s
14 LIUZZI Force
15 KUBICA Renault 1m58.155s
16 ALGUERSUARI Toro Rosso 1m59.799s
17 WEBBER Red Bull 2m00.444s
18 KOVALAINEN Lotus 2m00.873s
19 TRULLI Lotus 2m00.990s
20 GLOCK Virgin 2m02.037s
21 DI GRASSI Virgin 2m02.188s
22 SENNA HRT 2m06.968s
23 BUEMI Toro Rosso no time
24 CHANDHOK HRT no time
Sakhir, 1st Free Practice (March 12th)
1 SUTIL Force
2 ALONSO Ferrari 1m56.766s
3 KUBICA Renault 1m57.041s
5 BUTTON McLaren 1m57.068s
7 LIUZZI Force
8 ROSBERG Mercedes 1m57.199s
9 WEBBER Red Bull 1m57.255s
10 SCHUMACHER Mercedes 1m57.662s
11 ALGUERSUARI Toro Rosso 1m57.722s
12 HULKENBERG Williams 1m57.894s
13 VETTEL Red Bull 1m57.943s
14 BUEMI Toro Rosso 1m58.399s
15 BARRICHELLO Williams 1m58.782s
16 PETROV Renault 1m58.880s
17 DE LA
18 KOBAYASHI Sauber 2m01.388s
19 GLOCK Virgin 2m03.680s
20 KOVALAINEN Lotus 2m03.848s
21 TRULLI Lotus 2m03.970s
22 DI GRASSI Virgin no time
23 SENNA HRT no time
24 CHANDHOK HRT no time