F1

Massa still fastest at Bahrain

Massa still fastest at Bahrain

The second day of testing at Bahrain's Sakhir circuit was another busy one with 16 drivers from nine teams at work. Ferrari's Felipe Massa set the pace again, 1:30.640, and teammate Kimi Raikkonen was third fastest. Both drivers took their...

The second day of testing at Bahrain's Sakhir circuit was another busy one with 16 drivers from nine teams at work. Ferrari's Felipe Massa set the pace again, 1:30.640, and teammate Kimi Raikkonen was third fastest. Both drivers took their engines to the end of the duty cycle and Massa ran the new aerodynamic package that Raikkonen tried out yesterday.

Felipe Massa.
Photo by xpb.cc.

Splitting the two scarlet cars in second was the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton, just over half a second off Massa. He and team test driver Pedro de la Rosa, fifth on the time sheet, continued to evaluate tyre and set up options. Fernando Alonso, who was an interested spectator today, is scheduled to be back on track on Thursday.

Giancarlo Fisichella was the lead Renault in fourth and, after his heavy crash yesterday, Heikki Kovalainen was back behind the wheel to clock sixth overall. Fisichella focused on handling over long runs before moving onto set up and tyres. The team managed to repair Kovalainen's car by lunchtime and he worked on set up in the afternoon.

"I did lots of laps today, and that meant we made some good progress with the programme," said Fisichella. "I think we got some good results on the long runs as well as our performance work, so I am quite pleased. We will try and build on this work tomorrow during the final day of pre-season testing. It will be an important day."

Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica were on track for BMW Sauber and were seventh and 10th respectively. Mechanical set up and tyres were their focus, although Kubica lost time to a hydraulic leak. On Thursday, the last day of the test, the drivers will carry out final system checks and confirmation of the cooling system.

The race drivers were back on duty for Honda, Jenson Button eighth and Rubens Barrichello 11th. After general set up work their programme included aerodynamic and suspension evaluations. Tonio Liuzzi was a notable ninth for Toro Rosso despite not being able to run in the afternoon due to an unspecified problem.

Takuma Sato continued for Super Aguri and was 12th fastest even though he is suffering from the flu. He worked on 'various scenarios' for Melbourne and completed the mileage on the Honda engine. He too lost time but the mechanical problem only curtailed his running by around half an hour.

Ralf Schumacher was back in the Toyota cockpit, after sitting out most of Tuesday due to back pain and was 13th, while teammate Jarno Trulli rounded off the times in 16th. Set up and aerodynamics were their focus but both had problems -- clutch issues for Schumacher and gearbox for Trulli.

"Jarno went through quite a lot of problems and we are not really happy with the reliability record on his car today," said chassis chief Pascal Vasselon. "Still, despite this lack of running, his programme has been very fruitful. It has been useful in terms of results and they have been interesting."

"Ralf had much better conditions but at the end of the session he had an issue with the clutch which forced him to stop early. Overall he had a good day which went smoothly and brought us some very interesting results."

Red Bull's David Coulthard and Mark Webber were 14th and 15th respectively. Several red flags interrupted the day's running but there were no serious incidents -- mostly mechanical/technical issues -- including Massa, who stopped on track towards the end of the session.

Meanwhile, Williams and Spyker continued their programmes at Barcelona. There were four race drivers were on track and Nico Rosberg's Williams was top of the times with a 1:21.231. Teammate Alex Wurz was a tenth behind and they carried out mapping, set up and long runs.

Spyker's Christijan Albers and Adrian Sutil were third and fourth, just under two seconds off the Williams pair. Tyres, set up and race simulations were their programme: Sutil completed his full race distance but Albers was hampered by a mechanical problem.

"We had a reasonably productive day, working on the basic set-up and building up speed over a race distance," said chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne. "Adrian had no issues during the day, however Christijan's car developed a hydraulic leak that cut his race run short. It's not a major issue though and we should be back out tomorrow."

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