Just one thousandth of a second separated the Ferrari of Rubens Barrichello and the Williams of Juan Pablo Montoya at the end of the second Friday practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix. The pair fought it out at practically the same time,...
Just one thousandth of a second separated the Ferrari of Rubens Barrichello and the Williams of Juan Pablo Montoya at the end of the second Friday practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix. The pair fought it out at practically the same time, Barrichello posting 1:31.450 with Montoya's .451 so close behind there was no room left on the clock to separate them. BAR third driver Anthony Davidson held his pace from the first session and was third quickest, just three hundredths behind.
The second session started with track temperature still around 50 degrees and the usual suspects were out on the circuit first, third drivers led by Davidson. Ralf Schumacher got an early start in the Williams, as did Renault's Jarno Trulli, but it was the Sauber of Giancarlo Fisichella that clocked the initial fastest time of the race drivers, 1:35.186. It was short lived, as he was demoted by Davidson's 1:34.864. The BAR spent an even shorter time at the top as Michael Schumacher charged in with a 1:33.337.
Fernando Alonso put his Renault into second, seven tenths down on Michael, and teammate Trulli was fourth quickest. The Jordan of Giorgio Pantano was an early runner in the top ten, as was Jaguar's Christian Klien. Jenson Button jumped into fifth and David Coulthard's McLaren demoted Alonso from second, closing the gap to the Ferrari to just over a tenth.
The day just got worse for Kimi Raikkonen: after coming to a halt on track at the end of the first session, the McLaren failed again almost as soon as the Finn left the pits this time around. The engine stopped after a fire in the air tray, caused by a fuel leak. Needing an engine change, Raikkonen will suffer a ten place grid demotion penalty in tomorrow's qualifying. Barrichello was next to top the times, 1:33.148, nine tenths up on teammate Michael. The Toyotas were clocking times just outside the top ten until third driver Ricardo Zonta shot up the list to scrap with Davidson for fourth fastest.
Nick Heidfeld's Jordan came to a halt in the middle sector of the lap with an engine related problem. The team is hoping it will not require a change. The second Williams of Juan Pablo Montoya moved up to sixth tenths behind Barrichello but the Colombian was swiftly replaced by BAR's Takuma Sato. Mark Webber moved his Jaguar into the top eight and Alonso clocked a 1:32.272 to take over the top of the times.
The Spaniard was in turn demoted by Ralf with a 1:32.106, the times coming down by the tenth and Button shifted Alonso back another space by taking second. After a little more action in the first half-hour than the previous session, things quieted down for a spell. There were some minor improvements in the midfield but the front runners remained static.
Heading for the last 15 minutes, Michael put in a very good lap to oust brother Ralf from the top spot, a 1:31.732. The top five at that point were all well into the 1:32 bracket, a good second faster than the predicted 1:33 lap time. Button and Alonso followed behind the Schumachers at the top, half a second astray, with Barrichello a further couple of tenths off. Zonta and Davidson remained the pair of third drivers in the top ten.
Barrichello and Montoya fought for the top of the times, the former posting 1:31.450 and the latter 1:31.451. A mere one thousandth of a second between Ferrari and Williams hopefully bodes well for the competition for the rest of the weekend. Trulli was the third retiree of the session, coming to a halt in the middle sector with an engine fuel system gremlin. Luckily for the Italian, he won't need an engine change.
Klien proved a surprise in the final minutes, hurling the Jaguar up to fourth fastest and Coulthard suffered a tyre blow out that sent him into the gravel. Davidson maintained his pace to slot into third in the dying moments.
A closer session than the first, the top seven separated by seven tenths and, as usual, the two Ferraris the only Bridgestone runners in the top ten. BAR, Renault and McLaren all suffered punctures with the Michelin tyres, later discovered to be caused by loose drainage hatches on the kerbs. A day to forget for McLaren. A good showing from Williams, BAR and Jaguar but Renault appeared slightly tentative.
Minardi's Gianmaria Bruni made it three in a row in Bahrian -- after being fined for speeding in the pitlane at both Melbourne and Sepang, he followed it up with another fine for the same today. Jordan's Timo Glock and Nick Heidfeld also fell foul of pitlane over-eagerness to lose thier pocket money. Final top eight classification: Barrichello, Montoya, Davidson, M. Schumacher, Klien, R. Schumacher, Button, Webber.