Adrian Sutil was fastest in the first practice session at Bahrain but Felipe Massa impressed with his consistency in the Ferrari. Here’s a look at the data from free practice 1.
The teams and drivers got their first taste of the extended Bahrain Grand Prix circuit in the first free practice session this morning.
After a quiet start all bar one of the cars made it onto the circuit. As ever the Bahrain circuit proved very dusty, the cars kicking up as much dirt off-line as they do off-track at some venues. Medium tyres were the order of the day as they acclimatised to the changed track.
McLaren, Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari
The first graph shows the times for the top four teams and when they set them during the session.
McLaren appear to have switched their drivers from light-fuel running at the beginning of the session to heavier fuel loads later on. Although Lewis Hamilton achieved a quicker time than Button on his later run, Button’s times appear to be more consistent.
McLaren made the early running until they were knocked off the top spot by Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari. Felipe Massa was out at the same time posting some consistently quick laps – ten of his 19 were within 1% of his quickest time.
Red Bull, meanwhile, struggled to find the pace.
Williams, Force India, Renault, Toro Rosso and Sauber
Adrian Sutil set the fastest time of the session at the end of a stint of seven flying laps.
Robert Kubica was a surprising third fastest but the time seems to have been a bit of a one-off – his other times in the same stint were around 1.5s slower.
Sauber did not show the kind of pace that had been expected from them after testing, but looking at the size of the gap between them and the fastest runners it looks like a safe bet they were concentrating on heavy fuel running in this session.
Lotus, Virgin and HRT
The main story with the small teams was how little running they did. Indeed, HRT F1 didn’t even set a time in the first session, with Bruno Senna appearing on the track only for a few laps in the final minutes.
Lotus and Virgin at least got some running in but neither got within two seconds of the slowest established running. The sheer length of the Bahrain circuit this year is exaggerating the gap somewhat, but it is still a depressing figure for them.
Top 50 lap times
The top 50 times set during the session:
Extended data on the times set by all the drivers. The only times set by Senna and di Grassi were ‘out’ or ‘in’ laps and are not counted in the official classification:
|1||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1’56.583||10||0||4||18|
|7||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Force India-Mercedes||1’57.194||9||0.611||7||19|
|9||Mark Webber||Red Bull-Renault||1’57.255||14||0.672||6||17|
|11||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1’57.722||7||1.139||6||18|
|13||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Renault||1’57.943||12||1.36||6||17|
|14||Sebastien Buemi||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1’58.399||6||1.816||6||13|
|17||Pedro de la Rosa||Sauber-Ferrari||2’00.250||17||3.667||6||18|
|23||Lucas di Grassi||Virgin-Cosworth||2’24.558||2||27.975||1||2|
NB. ‘Within 1%’ refers to the number of times a driver set a lap time that was within 1% of his best.
This is the first in a new series of articles analysing the lap times from practice. If you have any suggestions for improvements or changes you would like to see, please post them in the comments.