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Friday, March 25, 2011

Free Practice News

Free practice took place during the night for me and as I couldn't see it live on the TV I slept through it.  It was on my mind though cos all night long I dreamt about F1 Melbourne and this morning I woke up anxious to see the free practice times and read the stories and quotes surrounding the First Day of F1 2011.

My wife and daughter were particularly unimpressed with my perky attitude which was regularly interspersed with snatches of "The Chain" and dancing around the bedroom with my daughter in my arms who looked more than a little disgruntled at such abuse at an early hour!

Webbo set the marker in FP1 with a last minute lap to oust teammate Vettel - delighted for him as, regardless of the fact that its only practice, it gives him a little psychological boost for the race and set his mind towards victory on Sunday morning.

In FP2 Button topped the timing sheet above Hamilton thus announcing the rebirth of McLaren - Can this translate into a race result? We'll have to wait and see.  Button has form at this track and given a fast and reliable car would be one of the few who could guarantee a result.  I've said in a previous post that I think Lewis will probably go out while trying a pass on degraded rubber (only in this first race mind you).

"Nadgers" Alonso showed strong pace coming third fastest in both sessions for the Prancing Horse but Massa's times did nothing to make me think that he is particularly motivated or considers himself anything other than a No.2.  He made the point afterwards that they were both working on different aspects of the car BUT... (and as you can see its a big one!).

HRT got one car out of the garage for one installation lap.  107% here we come would appear to be the conclusion there, with one website suggesting that they will attempt to qualify one car only - attempt being the operative word in that sentence.

Chandhok lost the Lotus on his first lap after Turn 3 and put the car into the barrier - Trulli's time in FP2 were compromised by the fact he had to drive the Chandhok car so we can't read too much into his performance.

Williams may be regretting Maldonado already - Barrichello did ok with the 9th fastest time of the practice sessions but Maldonado is over two seconds off Ruben's pace and down in 18th on the timing sheets with only Lotus and Virgin below him.  Bad start for the Rookie.

Schumacher showed that the Mercedes has pace as he clocked in at 6th overall but it seems clear (or as clear as mud given its only practice) that Mclaren, Ferrari and RBR are still the boys to beat.  Nico clocked in 10th overall.

It's hard to say what you can take out of free practice but one thing is for sure and that's that McLaren have made huge progress between Barcelona and here.  As Nadgers said afterwards:

"Nothing new yet and what else would you expect? These two free practice sessions have not actually revealed the real relative strengths of the teams: this morning Red Bull went well and in the afternoon it was McLaren's turn, with us and Mercedes always in the mix, while Williams and Renault also seem competitive".

No doubt Quali will sort all the confusion out in terms of raw speed, then all they've got to worry about is the dreaded reliability.

Free practice 2 Results:

PositionDriverTeamTime  Laps
1Jenson ButtonMcLaren1:25.854  32
2Lewis HamiltonMcLaren1:25.986  31
3Fernando AlonsoFerrari1:26.001  28
4Sebastian VettelRed Bull1:26.014  35
5Mark WebberRed Bull1:26.283  33
6Michael SchumacherMercedes1:26.590  31
7Felipe MassaFerrari1:26.789  34
8Sergio PérezSauber1:27.101  39
9Rubens BarrichelloWilliams1:27.280  34
10Nico RosbergMercedes1:27.448  23
11Jaime AlguersuariToro Rosso1:27.525  31
12Vitaly PetrovRenault1:27.528  29
13Nick HeidfeldRenault1:27.536  22
14Sebastién BuemiToro Rosso1:27.697  30
15Kamui KobayashiSauber1:28.095  35
16Paul di RestaForce India1:28.376  33
17Adrian SutilForce India1:28.583  31
18Pastor MaldonadoWilliams1:29.386  29
19Heikki KovalainenLotus1:30.829  22
20Jarno TrulliLotus1:30.912  23
21Jérôme D'AmbrosioVirgin1:32.106  36
22Timo GlockVirgin1:32.135  30
23Tonio LiuzziHRTNo Time  1
24Narain KarthikeyanHRTNo Time  0

Free Practice 1 Results:

PositionDriverTeamTime  Laps
1Mark WebberRed Bull1:26.831  20
2Sebastian VettelRed Bull1:27.158  19
3Fernando AlonsoFerrari1:27.749  20
4Nico RosbergMercedes1:28.152  16
5Rubens BarrichelloWilliams1:28.430  24
6Jenson ButtonMcLaren1:28.440  29
7Lewis HamiltonMcLaren1:28.483  26
8Michael SchumacherMercedes1:28.690  14
9Kamui KobayashiSauber1:28.725  13
10Vitaly PetrovRenault1:28.765  15
11Felipe MassaFerrari1:28.842  20
12Nick HeidfeldRenault1:28.928  14
13Adrian SutilForce India1:29.314  19
14Sebastién BuemiToro Rosso1:29.328  21
15Pastor MaldonadoWilliams1:29.403  24
16Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso1:29.468  23
17Sergio PérezSauber1:29.643  18
18Nico HülkenbergForce India1:31.002  20
19Heikki KovalainenLotus1:32.428  13
20Jérôme D'AmbrosioVirgin Racing1:35.282  17
21Timo GlockVirgin Racing1:35.289  15
22Karun ChandhokLotusNo Time    1
23Tonio LiuzziHRTNo Time    0
24Narain KarthikeyanHRTNo Time    0