Sutil heads Bahrain free practice one

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Adrian Sutil was fastest in the first session of the year driving the VJM03
Adrian Sutil was fastest in the first session of the year driving the VJM03

Adrian Sutil put Force India at the top of the times sheets at following free practice one at Bahrain.

Ferrari and McLaren also headed the times during the 90-minute session with Fernando Alonso ending the session second quickest ahead of the man who replaced him at Renault, Robert Kubica.

The three new teams struggled to find the pace on the extended Bahrain circuit. The two Lotus drivers many several laps but at Virgin only Timo Glock was able to set a time.

Neither HRT car managed a time either. Karun Chandhok spent the entire session in the pits while Bruno Senna went out for just three laps. On his final tour of the circuit he was 15 seconds off the pace over the first two sectors.

Bahrain Grand Prix free practice 1 times

Position Car number Driver Car Best lap Laps
1 14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’56.583 18
2 8 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’56.766 0.183 18
3 11 Robert Kubica Renault 1’57.041 0.458 19
4 7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’57.055 0.472 19
5 1 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’57.068 0.485 19
6 2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’57.163 0.58 19
7 15 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1’57.194 0.611 19
8 4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’57.199 0.616 15
9 6 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’57.255 0.672 17
10 3 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’57.662 1.079 16
11 17 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’57.722 1.139 18
12 10 Nico H???lkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1’57.894 1.311 20
13 5 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’57.943 1.36 17
14 16 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’58.399 1.816 13
15 9 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’58.782 2.199 11
16 12 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’58.880 2.297 13
17 22 Pedro de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 2’00.250 3.667 18
18 23 Kamui Kobyashi Sauber-Ferrari 2’01.388 4.805 11
19 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 2’03.680 7.097 8
20 19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 2’03.848 7.265 21
21 18 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 2’03.970 7.387 15
22 25 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 2
23 21 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 3
24 20 Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 0

More analysis of the practice times later today at F1 Fanatic.

112 comments on “Sutil heads Bahrain free practice one”

  1. that i didn’t expect!

    1. im afraid this season will fail his expectations

    2. im afraid this year its going to fail expectations

  2. classic friday practice.

    1. So is Sutil going to become classic Friday’s champion? :)

  3. Mark Hitchcock
    12th March 2010, 9:01

    “On his final tour of the circuit he was 15 seconds off the pace over the first two sectors.”

    After being held up for a few corners then rudely barged off-line by a Torro Rosso!

    Didn’t look nice to drive even before that though.

    1. He managed to lose 10 seconds in the twisty middle sector, as he was “only” 5 seconds down at the end of sector 1. The car really did look a handful through that series of new corners, the front tyres seemed to be chattering and skitting sideways at some points.

      He was looking to be 20 seconds down by the end of the lap before he pulled across into the pits

  4. Nice surprise to see the two Force India’s up there. Ditto Bob’s Renault. Interesting commentary from R5L chaps on Schumacher’s agitation about his cars setup. Nico must be laughing over his mid-morning wurst roll.

    Pleased to see Button keeping Hamilton honest, but early days yet. The true test won’t come till Sunday when these beasts are fully fuelled and the wrestling will begin.

  5. Lets hope that Force India have a strong season.

    Can’t help but feel a bit concerned for HRT, first they can’t put the wheels on their car the right way round, now they can’t even set a time.

    Still annoyed that Stefan weren’t given a place, oh well.

    1. What makes you think Stefan would be any better then Hispania?

      1. “What makes you think Stefan would be any better then Hispania?”


  6. Top 10 seperated with 0.627s. WOW. Combine that with some talent of Schumacher and we are going to have a freight train in the top 10.

    Vettel, a little dissapointing. But it is only P1. Renault and Force India look promising to me. Good session for Liuzzi.

    Expected better from Red Bull. But only FP1 so much more to come.

    You can see how excited I am with all my rambling. =D

    1. You mean top 9. Schumi is 10th

    2. Hey Karan, good to see you over here :D

      Pretty impressive pace from the Force Indias. Its early days of course but its looking good to be ‘best of the rest’ after the big four, if not even better.

      Great to see Senna and HRT make it out on track. I just hope it doesn’t lead to too many disputes over the pace of the slower cars. The top drivers just need to grow a pair and accept they’ll have to lap them a few times and even then its only if they last a while in the race.

      Incidently, if anybody would like to play my predictions game, I still have 7 slots left. You can’t read too much into FP1 so any entries before FP2 will be accepted for Bahrain:

      (sorry to spam!)

      Can’t wait for FP2 :D

      1. Hey man, I’ve been a lurker for about 8 months haha, I am a part of much smaller communities, but I love the time and effort Keith puts into this site, I feel we really owe him.

  7. Nice job by Sutil!(Running empty I suppose)This is just a warm up though. The real thing starts later on and will be at its maximum tomorrow during ‘real qualifying’. I can’t wait!

    1. I don’t think he was empty low maybe but not empty otherwise he would stopped )

  8. haha, had to laugh during the 5live coverage when someone made the comment that there was a relaxes atmosphere, and there had been no scandals yet. Boom! 5 minutes later renault were certainly not holding back on mclarens stalling the rear wing. Didn’t take long :)

  9. Prisoner Monkeys
    12th March 2010, 9:09

    Two things:

    HRT were doing a shakedown. Senna was no doubt specifically told not to drive the wheels off it.

    If Sutil was running light, then so was Fernando Alonso.

    1. Mark Hitchcock
      12th March 2010, 9:13

      “Senna was no doubt specifically told not to drive the wheels off it.”

      Probably because the wheels could quite literally come off.

      1. Prisoner Monkeys
        12th March 2010, 9:18

        Don’t tell me you actually mean that. The Hispania HRT spent longer in development than the Virgin VR-01 or the Lotus T127, and it was designed and built by Dallara. This was not a rush job; if they accelerated anything, it would be finishing Chandhok’s car, and given that they did it in two weeks, it would only be on the finishing touches. The Hispania is not going to suddenly fall apart the way everyone seems to think it wll just because it hasn’t had a shakedown until jsut now.

        1. Mark Hitchcock
          12th March 2010, 9:33

          It was only very, very slightly serious.

          As you say, they are well prepared, but you never know what could happen when the car hits the track at speed.
          You’ve gotta expect some sort of failure. Not necessarily anything extreme, but maybe problems with the hydraulics or the gearbox or something. The problems which are usually ironed out in testing.

          1. Mark Hitchcock
            12th March 2010, 9:41

            And if those problems are going to happen, I’d rather they happen in practice than qualifying when a hold-up in the session could jeopardise someone’s chances of getting into q2.

    2. Did Senna have wheels on?
      We dont have live coverage in Aust – and via the Live Timing on, i assumed that Senna/Lotus/Virgin had forgotten to put wheels on, and had the pit crew pushing them around the circuit they were that slow. 7 – 8 seconds off the pace! Most people were thinking that 3-4 would be bad. This could prove very interesting in the race – but also in Q1 when cars are trying to get a decent run – and run into a slow moving roadblock.

      1. In Barcelona the new teams were 4-5 seconds behind – but this circuit has a lap that takes almost 2 minutes to drive, compared to Barcelona’s 1.20. So 4-5 in Barcelona, 7-8 in Bahrain – basically the same.

    3. Button and Hamilton were out with 150kg of fuel were they? It is way to early for any kind of idea who has done what. Good on Force India for at least getting there. They may supprise many due to clever quali positions and having a choice of tyres.

    4. …then, so were the rest of the grid.

      Saturday we all will know what team/driver has the fastest car.

    5. and so was Jenson and so was Hamilton

  10. Sennas laps were just a shakedown run apparently.

    1. Beaten by prisoner monkey :)

  11. any hi res pics keith? the drivers and their cars photo would be great!

  12. Hmmm… Sounds unconvincing to me. Let’s see what happens tomorrow tough.

  13. Well, if the 107% rule was in operation then all the cars that set times would have been within it…

    1. The 107 % rule has been banished since 2002 (if I remember correctly it’s 2002)

  14. Good job Kubica! Did he have a new difusser? Any pics?

    1. Prisoner Monkeys
      12th March 2010, 9:19

      Why do you people all seem to think that pictures are going to be instantly available? The teams take pains to keep their diffusers hidden for as long as possible, so if Renalt have a new one, they’re going to ensure no-one sees it for as long as possible.

      1. The guy (sorry for assuming) only asked for pics, he didn’t demand them as if they were ‘instantly available’. It’s not really my place to say but I’m not sure why you’re being so confrontational, PM.

    2. yes, Robert said thay have new diffuser

  15. I read comments claimed to be from Heidfeld, that the Virgin is very unbalanced and that Lotus has better aerodynamics then the Virgin. Not sure i unserstand that, as both drivers and Gascoyne stated they lack a lot of downforce.

  16. Does anyone know if MercedesGp had the new diffusor installed or not ?

    1. Joe Saward said they do but it didn’t bring them them enough to challenge for the top.

  17. I thought all the cars were bouncing and juddering fairly alarmingly around some of the turns.

    1. Nick Someone
      12th March 2010, 9:32

      Yes very bumpy up that tight hilly bit.

      Still don’t really know for sure what’s going on. I think they should introduce a rule that they have to tell us the fuel weights at all times.

      1. No, Just no, stupid idea.

  18. we might be laughing at HRT now, but if they manage to be reliable cars, and their driver prudent and do the race as a test… the new regulation might catch out some of the guys in front of them, and yipe they finish and in the off chance might score a point… remember points run down to 10th this year so it wont be as hard as usual.

    1. Nick Someone
      12th March 2010, 9:35

      Can’t really say anything about them yet. they have done 3 shake down laps. If anyone is laughing they shouldn’t be. I know they are struggling to get the cars on track and I assume reliability will be a big problem for them, but I can’t determine anything about performance yet.

  19. when i heard the news teams were joining F1 I was excited, but I am not sure now. does it really improve F1 to have these teams so far off the pace? last season was great because even the slowest teams were pretty good, and teams like Force India had a few really great races – no one was well off the pace like now. I dont think its good for the sport.

  20. Why did Di Grassi not manage any laps?

  21. Sauber doesn’t look fast, that’s the biggest surprise for me at this moment.

    1. I expected them to be a bit slower in practices and qualifyings, as they’re true potential is that they don’t ruin tyres quickly – which helps the most in the race. But I didn’t expect them to be this slow.

  22. Prisoner Monkeys
    12th March 2010, 9:41

    Has anybody else notised the way the grey Hispania livery tends to blend in with the track?

    1. I would have noticed, but the two shades of grey are so similar, I didn’t even realise the car was there!

      On another note, the biggest disappointments for me were Williams and Sauber, but then this is only FP1, and they could have been running any kind of setup and fuel levels. Biggest surprise for me would be Kubica in the Renault, I really didn’t expect him to be up there.

      1. There is a rumor that he ran with more fuel than both ferraris…

    2. Don’t worry, the yellow helmet wil help clear up any confusion between car and track.

      1. A disembodied yellow helmet whipping round the track – very odd imagery.

        1. I remember you can do that in Grand Prix 2 on the PC. When I was having a go at modding the files and textures, I accidentially deleted some car files… some of the teams had cars made up of 4 wheels and a floating helmet!

          1. I remember playing around with that. I made a Scuderia Ferrari Kit Kat I was very proud of.

    3. Could be dangerous for other drivers when asphalt grey coloured pieces fall off the dodgy HRT and onto the track!!!

  23. The Red Bulls didn’t look good out there..
    But its still too early to tell, Next practice will be better, warmer and more rubber on track.

    I like that sutil was out in front, i think they will be dangerous all season. But that they just have a real shot in top score now in the beginning before some other team pass them in development.

    1. Yea Sutil will be dangerous this season, probably just not in the way you meant…

      1. Hehe, He has a bit of badluck to always hit some other car during the races.

        1. LOL. Bang on, force india may challenge byut Sutil does have massive reliability issues

  24. I’m not too surprised that Lotus/Virgin/HRT are seven seconds behind at the moment. They will more than likely be concentrating on full tank running, since there would seem to be no point doing otherwise. The other teams will be looking for a compromise setup for both qualifying and the race, whereas Lotus/Virgin/HRT need only worry about race setup, knowing that they will not be getting through to Q2 in qualifying.

  25. Prisoner Monkeys
    12th March 2010, 9:43

    I have to say … I’m kind of disappointed. The sheer coverage of the off-season testing has meant that I’m missing the whole “Yes! It’s finally here! The new season of acing is about to begin!” excitement. It feels like we’re in the middle of the season.

    1. Agreed. Also, I was kind of expecting something to all come together and we would see an actual pecking order. I guess that will have to wait until tomorrow!

      I am also a bit saddened that the words “McLaren” and “controversy” are in the same sentence again… It is not their fault this time, all they have done is be clever, but it would be nice if all results this season weren’t marked “provisional” for a week after the race.

    2. I found exactly the same thing!

      I think qualifying might get the juices flowing a bit more :)

      1. Prisoner Monkeys
        12th March 2010, 10:00

        It probabl doesn’t help that I won’t be able to get any coverage until 10:30pm on Sunday night – and even then, it probably won’t be live. The local broadcaster tends to put the races on late because they only care about the Autralian Grand Prix.

        That, and the fact that 2009 was the first time I actually got to watch a full season at my leisure. I didn’t have a television from 2006-2008 (and when I did have access to one, it was usually taken by the Grey’s Anatomy fanclub), I worked very early on Monday mornings in 2005 and was usually too exhausted to stay up past 9pm, I was doing my HSC in 2004 and so had no time for it, and in 2003 I was only sixteen, so anything earlier than that and I was never really old enough to watch every race and follow every pice of news the way I obsessively-compulsively do now.

  26. Did anyone expect so slow times? I thought they would need around 1.45 for a lap.

    1. Considering how slow and long the lap is now: yes.

  27. Last year Red Bull were 9th and 12th in firday practice 1 in Baharin. Thye wen’t onto score a 2nd place and could have done better if not Webber being held up. So I believe that we can’t rely on prac 1 to much.

  28. Trap times on F1 Live has the Mercedes powered cars on top, low downforce Force india or tricked up wing McLaren or maybe just that Merc engine. Funny Kubica and Petrov both getting a mention even with their lagging engine.

  29. Prisoner: that’s on demand media saturation for ya. :)

    And shakedown or not, that HRT car looked extremely unbalanced. I almost felt sorry they put Bruno’s name on that car in such a large typeface, as it was easy to read while the car was skiddishly understeering at low speeds…

    Now I’m even more curious how they’ll perform against the other newcomers.

    1. Prisoner Monkeys
      12th March 2010, 9:56

      Well, considering that the car had never been driven before – much less driven in anger – it’s not surprising that the car looked unstable. They had absolutely no idea what kind of setup data they’d need; sure, Virgin and Lotus haven’t driven around Bahrain before, but they know how their cars respond to setup changes. Hispania have no idea, but now tat they’d got several laps’ worth of data, they should be good for the second session.

  30. BBC red button wasnt working for me :-(

    1. If you have digital terrestrial TV, it’s channel 301

  31. Any chance you can add % of position 1 time to the tables will be especially handy if they’re indeed going to bring back the 107% rule for qualifying.

    1. 124.743 seconds is 107% of Sutil’s time, providing my maths is correct (which has been proven unreliable by many exam boards in the past).

  32. Button 1 Hamilton 0 :)

    1. Are you Englishman? I just have a question… Who is most popular in England – Button or Hamilton?

      1. Probably even – they each have staunch unmoveable followers

  33. Alonso, Kubica both makes a difference. Hope Roberto will join Ferrari in next season!

    1. Well obviously I hope that doesn’t happen :P

      1. Osvaldos, why d u hope that?

        1. Kubica’s good but I prefer Massa. Just personal opinion although I rate him over Rosberg

          1. massa over kubica… really interesting :)

  34. Force India can be a bit of surprise, they look very strong and they can very well be on the podium this weekend. Red Bull didn’t show the pace but they will, and hopefully Vettel will win this sunday!

  35. It’s FP1 so it doesn’t mean that much. Perhaps slightly more indicative than testing but this will not be the order of quali so I don’t see why it is being taken so seriously.
    Welcome back Massa after 8 months.
    Congratulations to HRT who I most certainly think are not a joke. I hope their car can be fairly reliable although I do expect some issues. It was great to see Bruno on track and as Mark says, they may have been 15 seconds down but he had to let cars through.
    Schumacher didn’t seem happy with his cars but it is very early.
    Kubica did better than expected but who knows, that pace could vanish slightly by quali.
    A few drivers marked out that Sauber and FI looked good. Sutil may well be lighter as I don’t expct FI to be at the front but there could be some genuine pace there. As for Sauber, they’re best on their tires so I expect them to shine race day rather than for outright speed.
    Anyway, thank God F1 has returned!

    1. ya most important news is F1 has returned!

    2. I’m with you in the HRT fan club. They have done really well to even make it ot the race, and once Bruno and Karun have got a few miles under their belts, they will be challenging Virgin and Lotus.

      On the HRT story, did anyone else notice the new logo’s on BRuno’s overalls and on the car? It says “Banco di something or other”…

      1. Yeah I am in the fan club to :D. I saw those logo’s, I assume they are a Senna sponsor, like Embratel.

        1. Cool we’ve started a fan club now :p should we have t shirts or something? ;)

          1. Haha that would be awesome!

          2. Let’s go with Blue caps, just like Bruno.

      2. Ditto re: HRT. First time the car has rolled – those were instalation laps in a car they have no data on. Will take several install laps with various setup changes to gauge the cars reaction to them. Sunday will be a good reliability run for the car, but daft testing restrictions make the first 2 or 3 GPs a write off for them.

        Good to see them there and wish them all the best. All teams have to start somewhere.

        Suspect Shovlin is wondering whether he drew the short straw if Michael is tossing his toys out of his grey pram already ;)

        1. I’d love to see HRT do well this season. I have to admit I was extremely excited to see Bruno out in that car today, especially with that Senna yellow helmet. It brought back those sad memories of watching in 1994 and I just hope things work out for the team.

          Imagine if Bruno had been given the Brawn GP drive last year like planned? He probably would have been in the running of the championship and one of the potentials for this season.

  36. Wow, so many surprises and big question marks!
    1. Force India
    – Are they so fast or is it just the track that suits them so well? Or were they just light on fuel…
    2. Renault/Kubica – right on!
    – Was Kubica very light as he’s so much in front of Petrov? Or is Renault so fast and Petrov so slow?
    Is Kubica going to be the dark horse?
    3. Button 1:0 Hamilton.
    – Yeah! Go champ! This is important for the image of the sport. Button must show he carries the “1” deservingly.
    4. Sauber-Ferrari 17th and 18th.
    – What a disappointment!
    5. Williams-Cosworth 12th and 15th.
    – Will we see the team joining the ‘Cosworth group’ at the bottom of the pack?
    6. Trulli, Glock, Kovalainen “+7sec or more”.
    – It’s sad seeing those drivers so far off the pace.

    @ Keith.
    Could you bring the Prediction Game Article back on the first page of the site? It’d be unfair for many of the guys to miss it because they didn’t know it was there.

    I see a poll about the first drivers to get lapped in the race coming. :-)

    1. I think Keith said it will be on the front page after first two practices.

    2. @2 according to paddock rumors kubica was not light. havier than ferrari. this looks optimistic for renault but we will see at quali.

      petrov was probably very heavy.

  37. Good for Sutil

    Hope all cars will start on Sat/Sun

    This will be a very close season! :)

  38. I have not seen any F1 cars actually going flat out against each other since Abu Dhabi. I will watch the 2nd practice and I just cannot wait. Welcome back F1!

  39. i hope HRT can be out with both cars during the whole P2.
    Same with Virgin & Lotus.

    they should almost get an extra practice hour (read day haha) to help them catch up.

    1. That will be quite emotional for some older fans like myself.
      Michael Schumacher and a Senna together on a F1 track. Hmm. Kinda brings a tear to my eyes.

  40. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to have an underdog win this race?

    1. Like Senna? :D

    2. Prisoner Monkeys
      12th March 2010, 10:46

      Cast your mind back twelve months to Melbourne: Nico Rosberg and Williams were fastest in the first practic session. They didn’t win.

      As has no doubt been repeated time and again both here and elsewhere on the internet: it’s FP1 of the first race of the season. It doesn’t count for anything.

  41. Osvald, Massa is great driver and great man as well. He deserved for title 2 years ago. No doubt.

  42. Anyone know when the GP2 Practice session is? I’m interested to know if how much faster (or slower) the new F1 teams are in comparison.

    1. apparently they were doing 2.08, that is senna’s quickest at the moment(19 mins of the session to go)

  43. And this is Force India’s Season, Congrats Mallaya !!!

  44. What I do not copletely understand is that Senna drove is first lap 70 minutes into the session.
    Why did not start preps earlier? Probably just a load of work to be done. But out of professional interest I am just curious how they manage the process. As a project manager I can relate to time-boxed projects. But I cannot understand to loose 70 minutes of a 90 minutes session that can mean live or death for your entire operation. Starting completely new in the first session means you have to work twice as hard as all the other teams to get there.

  45. Force India is the force to reckon with this season. They are showing some good pace.They may be one of the best in the mid-field runner.

  46. F1 is back, and so is Friday Pratice: nice, suspicious surprises, as well as shades of things to come. We missed you, F1!

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