Button quickest in Bahrain GP final practice

Button quickest in Bahrain GP final practice

In the last practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix Honda's Jenson Button was the man at the top of the time sheet with a best of 1:31.857. He was just a hundredth quicker than the Ferrari of Michael Schumacher in second and Renault's Fernando...

In the last practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix Honda's Jenson Button was the man at the top of the time sheet with a best of 1:31.857. He was just a hundredth quicker than the Ferrari of Michael Schumacher in second and Renault's Fernando Alonso was a tenth further down in third.

Jenson Button.
Photo by Honda Racing F1 Team.

Super Aguri's Yuji Ide was first to take to the track, followed by the MF1s of Tiago Monteiro and Christijan Albers. Ide clocked a slow 1:44.022 to start with then bought it down to 1:41.889. Toro Rosso's Scott Speed and Tonio Liuzzi were next to put in an appearance, along with the second Super Aguri of Takuma Sato.

After 20 minutes BMW Sauber's Jacques Villeneuve, Button and the Toyota of Jarno Trulli ventured out and there was a little more activity. Villeneuve clocked 1:40.973 then was demoted by Button's 1:37.873, while McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen and Toyota's Ralf Schumacher joined the track.

Sato posted fourth and Button improved to 1:36.894. Trulli took third but Liuzzi immediately demoted him and Villeneuve closed the gap to Button to a tenth and a half. Button responded with a 1:36.568 and Raikkonen clocked fourth, while further down the list Speed took ninth.

The Red Bulls of Christian Klien and David Coulthard took fifth and seventh, and the Honda of Rubens Barrichello 10th, and Raikkonen was next to the top, 1:35.629. Nick Heidfeld's BMW Sauber clocked ninth and Speed improved to sixth, followed by Albers into seventh. Button returned to the top, 1:35.081 for half a second up on Raikkonen.

Coulthard climbed to fourth and Trulli to eighth after being shuffled down the order. Juan Pablo Montoya put his McLaren sixth and the Renault of Giancarlo Fisichella arrived in eighth. Coulthard moved up again to second, and Montoya to fourth, then Fisichella went to the top, 1:34.383.

Teammate Alonso slotted into second but was quickly ousted by Raikkonen and Michael was the first of the Ferraris on the time sheet in fourth. Alonso then took over from Fisichella with a 1:34.014 and Heidfeld jumped up to fifth. Trulli climbed to second but was quickly demoted by Alonso and Raikkonen.

Michael posted 1:33.275 for the top and the Williams duo of Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg made their presence felt in seventh and 10th. Felipe Massa was the last to get on the time sheet and the Ferrari posted 10th on his initial effort. Klien went up to fifth and Villeneuve improved, if it can be called that, to 17th after being bumped down the order.

Massa shot to the top with a 1:32.826, nearly half a second up on Michael, and Villeneuve made a better effort for 11th. Barrichello, who had been keeping rather quiet, sneaked up to 13th behind teammate Button then it quietened down until the last five minutes when there was a final rush of activity.

Alonso removed Massa from the top with a 1:31.975, eight tenths up, and Albers improved to 13th. Montoya went up to 11th from the midfield and Button improved to second, seven and half tenths off Alonso. Ralf climbed to fourth and Michael took over at the top, 1:31.868. Fisichella moved into third then Button went fastest, 1:31.857.

Villeneuve climbed to sixth and Raikkonen to eighth after being moved down, and Trulli went one better for seventh. Speed was a late casualty when his Toro Rosso came to a halt in the first sector near the end of the session. Massa had a minor spin and Klien took 11th as time ran out.

Once again there were not a great deal of laps done but Renault, Ferrari and Honda looked to have good pace, while BMW, Toyota and Williams appeared to have woken up a bit. Red Bull wasn't too bad but McLaren seemed a bit hit and miss. Are those engine rumours not entirely untrue or are they just biding their time?

Qualifying should be interesting -- Ferrari looks good over a quick lap but it remains to be seen if they have the staying power over a race distance, while Renault, Honda and McLaren should all be in with a shout for pole. Final top eight classification: Button, M. Schumacher, Alonso, Fisichella, Massa, Villeneuve, Trulli, Raikkonen.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Toro Rosso , Williams , Honda Racing F1 Team