The second day of testing at Bahrain’s Sakhir circuit saw Nick Heidfeld climb to the top of the time sheets, beating reigning champion Fernando Alonso by 0.8s. This is the second time Heidfeld has ended a testing day this year at the top, and the BMW is certainly looking like a strong car for the 2007 season, due to start in Australia on March 16th. Heidfeld’s pace was compounded by fellow BMW driver Robert Kubica, who posted the fifth fastest lap of the day, finishing just behind Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton.
The McLaren’s ran well again, underlining their dominance with Alonso placed second and Hamilton in fourth. Alonso was driving a Melbourne spec car and again showed us all his talent as well as the talent behind the new MP4-22. And while BMW and McLaren were wowing local spectators, Ferrari languished back in sixth and eighth for Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa respectively. Both Ferrari drivers did manage to complete 146 laps between them, although Massa had one incident when he stopped on the circuit early on in the day.
Renault fielded rookie racer Heikki Kovalainen and test driver Nelson Piquet Jr, and the pair focused on the Bridgestone tyres and finished in seventh and tenth, Piquet Jr getting the better of Heikki.
Our main focus today was on set-up, and once again we found plenty of useful directions. There is lots of data to analyse this evening so we can make more progress tomorrow. Christian Silk.
Honda had a better day though, with Jenson Button again showing the improvements to his RA-106 by posting the third quickest lap, and Rubens Barrichello finished 0.8s shy of his team mate in ninth.
Red Bull Racing continued their woeful winter testing with Mark Webber struggling in eleventh and David Coulthard in fourteenth. Mark is driving with an improved seat after he had problems fitting in the new RBR3. It is the first Red Bull to be designed by Adrian Newey, who is a man known not to compromise on the quest for aerodynamic perfection. At over 6ft tall, Webber is certainly not your average height for a racing driver, and despite having initial problems, he seems more at home in the car now. However, it is still not performing to the levels some (myself including) were expecting. Winter testing should always be taken with a rather large grain of salt, but it does appear that Red Bull still have a long way to go before scaling the dizzy heights of the podium again.
I would definitely like to be more comfortable. I would not have liked to race the way the seat was. It seems a lot better now. We’ve done a new seat and flattened things to get me into the car better. We’re trying to get me comfortable- the car is pretty tight in places. Mark Webber.
Toyota are also continuing their struggle towards the bottom of the timing sheets, with Jarno Trulli ending in twelfth and Ralf Schumacher at the very bottom in sixteenth.
We had some issues so we still have some work to do. This was my last day of this test and it has been quite difficult. I will come back to Bahrain next week and I am hoping we can have a better time then. Ralf Schumacher.
1. Heidfeld – BMW – 1m30.469s
2. Alonso – McLaren – 1m31.221s
3. Button – Honda – 1m31.806s
4. Hamilton – McLaren – 1m31.925s
5. Kubica – BMW – 1m32.226s
6. Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1m32.252s
7. Piquet Jr – Renault – 1m32.542s
8. Massa – Ferrari – 1m32.595s
9. Barrichello – Honda – 1m32.620s
10. Kovalainen – Renault – 1m32.967s
11. Webber – Red Bull Racing – 1m33.126s
12. Trulli – Toyota – 1m33.162s
13. Davidson – Super Aguri – 1m33.255s
14. Coulthard – Red Bull Racing – 1m33.927s
15. Liuzzi – Toro Rosso – 1m34.197s
16. Schumacher – Toyota – 1m34.474s