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Friday, April 17, 2009

China Practice: "Double-decker" delight

McLaren spring a Shanghai surprise in the first session

Jenson Button put Brawn GP back in a familiar position in the second session Friday after Lewis Hamilton and his McLaren, complete with a new diffuser, edged his fellow Briton in the morning.

Button's 1:35.679 was just enough to top Nico Rosberg in the Williams in the afternoon. Teammate Rubens Barrichello rounded out the top three.

But McLaren was the talk of the morning session, with Hamilton on top and Heikki Kovalainen fourth, bracketing the two Brawn cars.

Hamilton was obviously happy with the progress. The team provided a new front wing and diffuser following Wednesday's decision, and he said the effect was immediate.

“The car instantly felt a bit better. I can definitely feel more stability and downforce from the front. We’ve definitely made a step forward for this race. The car feels much stronger through the corners and I think we’ve got a very positive baseline for the rest of the weekend.”

Formula One - F1


Renault also showed up with an alternate diffuser, but Flavio Briatore let it be known he still isn't happy with the FIA's decision.

“Our drivers (non-"trick" diffuser teams) are, or have been, world champions, and then you have a driver who was almost retired, and another who is a paracarro, fighting for the championship,” the Guardian reports Briatore told Gazzetta dello Sport. “I don't know how we can say we have credibility. It is impossible to recover the ground we have lost on those teams. In three or four races the championship will be decided and I don't know what the interest of the TV viewers will be when Button has 60 points and Nakajima 50. It will be better to listen only on radio and watch something else.”


Of course, he has plenty to be glum about. Friday times aren't necessarily indicative to true performance, but things do look especially dire for BMW, Renault, and Ferrari.

* Paracarro: Curbstone. Or as the Guardian translates, a concrete post.

First session
  1. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 1:37.334, 22 laps
  2. Jenson Button, Brawn, 1:37.450, 18
  3. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn, 1:37.566, 19
  4. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren, 1:37.672, 23
  5. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:37.752, 20
  6. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 1:37.764, 19
  7. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 1:37.860, 24
  8. Timo Glock, Toyota, 1:37.894, 21
  9. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 1:38.089, 19
  10. Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso, 1:38.195, 24
  11. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:38.223, 23
  12. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 1:38.274, 20
  13. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, 1:38.307, 26
  14. Adrian Sutil, Force India, 1:38.319, 18
  15. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:38.418, 20
  16. Nick Heidfeld, BMW, 1:38.456, 21
  17. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India, 1:38.460, 19
  18. Robert Kubica, BMW, 1:38.463, 18
  19. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams, 1:38.730, 25
  20. Nelson Piquet, Renault, 1:38.825, 20

Second session
  1. Jenson Button, Brawn, 1:35.679, 35 laps
  2. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 1:35.704, 36
  3. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn, 1:35.881, 35
  4. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:36.105, 32
  5. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 1:36.167, 22
  6. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 1:36.217, 42
  7. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams, 1:36.377, 32
  8. Timo Glock, Toyota, 1:36.548, 40
  9. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren, 1:36.674, 34
  10. Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso, 1:36.800, 34
  11. Adrian Sutil, Force India, 1:36.829, 30
  12. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:36.847, 34
  13. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 1:36.941, 28
  14. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:37.054, 33
  15. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, 1:37.219, 34
  16. Nelson Piquet, Renault, 1:37.273, 36
  17. Robert Kubica, BMW, 1:37.491, 34
  18. Nick Heidfeld, BMW, 1:37.544, 28
  19. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 1:37.638, 28
  20. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India, 1:37.750, 31

The quotes

The Friday Press Conference

In case you missed it: From the BBC -- Chinese GP practice as it happened

Non-F1 news


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