I will preface this bit by saying this will only cover free practice 2 since that is all we in the US are legally capable of getting. I was happy to see that cars were on track for the first time in 2010. With all the depressing news on USF1 and the other teams as well as the return of Michael and all of the positive stories in the news, I was like a boy on Christmas Eve hardly able to sleep last night. Here are just a few things that I saw during the practice, please generate conversation in the comments block or on the forum if you like.
The first thing that I found myself really thinking about after practice was how many pieces fell off of the Lotus. A few small pieces of aero actually came off the car including a random end plate that came off and shot into the air. It was clear that this year is going to be a long one for the Cosworth side of the grid. Speaking of that side of the grid, I don’t know whether to be happy for HRT or sad!?! The team formerly known as Campos was actually in Bahrain. That by itself seems like a miracle and I should be happy for them. This morning was the first time this year the car had actually ran, but when it did it was nearly 14 seconds off the first place time. 14 seconds!!! It may have been that the team was just running its shakedown laps and did not want to push their luck, or that car is going to be dead slow. Then again…it could have been both really.
Back towards the front of the grid and what a practice session for the Williams cars. I was suspect on whether the Cosworth would work out for them, but they laid down some quick times. Granted it is Friday practice and you really can’t tell how quick one will be, I am willing to applaud the Cosworth Williams in what I will declare a successful practice. Conversely I will ask what the hell was up with Red Bull?? Has Newey made a mistake by placing the exhaust on the bottom of the car amongst the suspension? Is it a move by the drink racers to throw the competition off? The guys at Speed did make a good observation in regards to the Vettel runoff incidents. Those brakes did not really look like they were doing their job.
Ferrari performed alright this session in my view. Last year they were nowhere near this pace during P1. Massa thinks the team may be in for their best opening race in sometime…I would tend to think so. Ferrari are always strong in this desert race and I would think that if the team did their homework, Ferrari could be looking at a 1 and 2 finish. Given their track record at Australia is not the best in the world, they typically don’t have a chance to hit the ground running like this. Mercedes on the other hand had a very good session. They would finish first and third with Nico Rosberg claiming the top spot. Like Massa, Rosberg is very good at this track and needs to go strong here in an attempt to catch the cobbler off guard. Schumacher did very well after a few seasons break. The German looks as though he has lost zero pace and has the advantage of running with no fuel refills before. That team is set up really well this year and given their session, I may have been right picking the Schumi to win this race. I didn’t really hear much out of McLaren…they had some interesting body work on their car that I am a fan of. Their cars are always sharp…but this year they have really refined their shape and look compared to last year’s plain Jane piece of chrome junk.
All in all I was happy to see the season start and I will be even more excited for qualifying tomorrow morning. Should be interesting and I may open up a pool for how many seconds off the pace HRT will be. I know its not cool to make fun of one team’s poor management…wait…yes it is! I will start the line at 12 seconds. Stay tuned to The Paddock for quali results tomorrow. Below are the listed times for FP 2:
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Rosberg Mercedes 1:55.409 23
2. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:55.854 + 0.445 22
3. Schumacher Mercedes 1:55.903 + 0.494 23
4. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:56.076 + 0.667 28
5. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:56.459 + 1.050 18
6. Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1:56.501 + 1.092 26
7. Massa Ferrari 1:56.555 + 1.146 30
8. Petrov Renault 1:56.750 + 1.341 26
9. Alonso Ferrari 1:57.140 + 1.731 25
10. de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1:57.255 + 1.846 24
11. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:57.352 + 1.943 27
12. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:57.361 + 1.952 29
13. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:57.452 + 2.043 21
14. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:57.833 + 2.424 29
15. Kubica Renault 1:58.155 + 2.746 29
16. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:59.799 + 4.390 31
17. Webber Red Bull-Renault 2:00.444 + 5.035 12
18. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 2:00.873 + 5.464 23
19. Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 2:00.990 + 5.581 14
20. Glock Virgin-Cosworth 2:02.037 + 6.628 3
21. di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 2:02.188 + 6.779 21
22. Senna HRT-Cosworth 2:06.968 + 11.559 17
23. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1
24. Chandhok HRT-Cosworth