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Friday Practice in Bahrain

There were few surprises in practice at Sakhir, Kimi Raikkonen quickest in both sessions, although his advantage decreased in the second. Times were much affected by varying fortunes amongst the drivers but we are beginning to see a pattern emerge this season. Essentially, it looks like being a season of three halves, as the soccer commentators might say.

Kimi

Kimi Raikkonen

At the front we have a fairly closely-packed bunch comprising Ferrari, McLaren, BMW and Williams – in that order, but the slightest mistake by any of them can mix everything up and confound predictions. That has to be good news and augurs well for the battle royal we all hoped for this year.

Just behind is a midfield group, less predictable in order but generally competitive with each other: Toyota, Renault, Honda and Red Bull. Renault and Red Bull seem to be having great difficulty in adapting to the Bridgestone tires but the Japanese teams’ problems look a little more fundamental than that. If any of them manage to overcome their problems, they could easily join the leading bunch – which would make the racing even more interesting.

Then there are the tail enders, Super Aguri, Toro Rosso and Spyker. Liuzzi surprised everyone with his eighth fastest time in the first session but fell back to TR’s more accustomed hunting ground in the second. There is potential there, however, and I will not be surprised to see the TRs improving to the point where they can fight with the Red Bulls in later races. Super Aguri, however, have not looked convincing to me, their early form indicative of running a car that was well-sorted last year, and they will most likely have a season of squabbling with Spyker to avoid being last.

Qualifying looms tomorrow and we can bet that there will be some disappointments as the dustiness of the track takes out a few of the hopefuls. My money is on Raikkonen for pole with Massa and the McLarens fighting over the next three positions. Kimi hated having to take it easy in Malaysia and he is showing extra determination now – he will be a hard man to beat on Sunday.

4 Responses to “Friday Practice in Bahrain”

  1. It strikes me that all the drivers are incredible. It excites me to realize that almost all the people in the world who are capable of driving F1 cars will be out there driving F1 cars.

  2. That’s true, Barry – an amazing thought. We might think that there are people walking around who never went motor racing but have the ability should they ever do so, but without the long apprenticeship of go-karts and lesser formulae, coupled with intense training, they would never manage in F1.

    I’m sure we all have our fantasies, however. ;)

  3. Bahrain was a wonderful race, with some real competition and a few surprises. I hope David Coulthard is able to show more of his skill this season, Nick Heidfelt showed his mettle in Bahrain, and the Red Bulls might be getting their legs under them.

  4. Agreed, Barry, especially about Coulthard and the Red Bulls. Nick is confounding everything I said about him pre-season and could be challenging the accepted championship contenders if the BMW continues to improve. What is particularly pleasing about the season so far is that the Ferrari car is not quite as superior as we had thought. With McLaren able to run with the Italian team, BMW getting up there too, and even Red Bull and Williams with the potential to get amongst the leaders, we could have a season that swings all over the place, with first one driver then another leading and some fantastic dogfights developing as they move from track to track. Whoever becomes champion this year will have earned it!

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