Hamilton Tops Practice 1 in Bahrain
Although McLaren's Martin Whitmarsh insisted the changes are not “a giant step forward”, the early time charts in Bahrain proved otherwise. Hamilton improved his lap times gradually – as it took some time for the medium tires to get up to temperature on the Sakhir track – until finally ending the session with a 0.260-second advantage over BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld. The German was followed by teammate Robert Kubica in 3rd place.
While all 3 drivers running in front competed on KERS-powered cars, Williams' Nico Rosberg went on to finish 4th in the time charts. His time (1:34.227), however, could have been a lot better hadn't it been for the yellow-flagged Turn 8 during his late quick lap (when Sebastien Buemi's car stopped on the track at the exit of Turn 8).
Championship leader Jenson Button did not have a problem-free practice session on Friday, as the Brawn GP driver ran through some gearbox problems early into the session. He eventually returned to the track in the second part of the session to only record the 5th best time of the pack, approximately eight tenths of a second behind Hamilton.
Heikki Kovalainen, Rubens Barrichello and Felipe Massa were the next drivers to complete the Top 8. Kimi Raikkonen, driving a non-KERS Ferrari F60, finished 10th overall, while Renault's Fernando Alonso scored a poor 18th place.
Here are the complete results of Practice Session 1 at Sakhir:
1. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren-Mercedes) 1:33.647
2. Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber) 1:33.907
3. Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber) 1:33.938
4. Nico Rosberg (Williams-Toyota) 1:34.227
5. Jenson Button (Brawn GP-Mercedes) 1:34.434
6. Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren-Mercedes) 1:34.502
7. Rubens Barrichello (Brawn GP-Mercedes) 1:34.531
8. Felipe Massa (Ferrari) 1:34.589
9. Mark Webber (Red Bull-Renault) 1:34.827
10. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 1:34.827
11. Kazuki Nakajima (Williams-Toyota) 1:34.880
12. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-Renault) 1:34.938
13. Nelson Piquet (Renault) 1:34.974
14. Adrian Sutil (Force India-Mercedes) 1:35.021
15. Jarno Trulli (Toyota) 1:35.036
16. Ginacarlo Fisichella (Force India-Mercedes) 1:35.042
17. Timo Glock (Toyota) 1:35.333
18. Fernando Alonso (Renault) 1:35.348
19. Sebastien Bourdais (Toro Rosso-Ferrari) 1:35.353
20. Sebastien Buemi (Toro Rosso-Ferrari) 1:35.369