Formula One News » F1 2013: Raikkonen bags Friday practice honours in Bahrain Posted on 19/04/2013
Raikkonen, who had been ninth quickest in the morning, posted the marker for the day, a 1 minute 34.151 seconds, halfway through the second session. That was enough to put him top in his Lotus, although only marginally so, as Red Bull Racing’s Mark Webber was just 0.030 seconds slower.
“It’s nice to be fastest,” said Raikkonen, “but you never know what the others are doing; we just stick to our programme and don’t take too much notice of what else is happening.
“I actually made a mistake through the final corners on my fastest lap, so there’s still more time to be found. It’s tricky to get the setup right here and the wind can make a big difference; it might work for you one way but make things more tricky the other.
“It wasn’t a bad start today; things aren’t exactly where we want them but we’re reasonably fast, so let’s see what we can do from here.”
Webber was also happy with his day: “I would have liked to have got some more running in FP2, but I still think we learned what we expected,” he remarked.
“Saturdays are perhaps becoming less important overall than they used to be, but they’re still important in terms of traffic. You don’t want to be in too much traffic on Sunday, as the tyres don’t like being disturbed and wear more which will shorten your first stint – so you still need to be in a good position. We still have areas to improve on the car. Lotus and Ferrari look strong and Mercedes is there too.”
Sebastian Vettel meanwhile came in third in the other Red Bull on a 1m 34.282s, and while he wasn’t pleased with his short runs, he knows the car is quick.
Behind, Chinese Grand Prix winnner Fernando Alonso took fourth place for Ferrari, with team-mate, Felipe Massa, who was quickest in FP1, fifth on the combined times. Massa was one of the few drivers who failed to improve in the second session.
“It was a positive day and we are reasonably pleased with how the car behaved. We had no major problems and more importantly, we didn’t have to make any radical changes to the F138 to adapt it to this track and its long straights and slow corners, characteristics which I like a lot and usually produce a great show in the race,” Alonso said.
“Unfortunately, the wind and sand make everything a bit more complicated here, because the track surface never gets completely clean. However, the initial feelings are good and I think we can be up in the leading group tomorrow, a group that is all within the same two, maximum three tenths.”
Further back, Paul di Resta was impressive and right up there in P6 in his Force India, ahead of the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg – the only other runner in the top ten that was slower in FP2 – and Lotus #2 Romain Grosjean, who is using a new chassis this weekend in a bid to kick-start his season.
Adrian Sutil and Lewis Hamilton rounded out the top ten, the latter not happy with the balance of his Mercedes: “We worked as hard as we could today but couldn’t quite get the balance of the car to where it needs to be,” Hamilton confirmed. “I had some issues in FP1 which we were able to improve for this afternoon so that’s a positive, but we need to identify where we are losing time and find more performance.
“We have changed the set-up of the car to what we thought would suit this track but we need to look at that and make sure it is the right direction to go. The heat here is so hard on the tyres so another positive is that we did as many laps as possible to look at long runs and race preparation.
“We’re not as far off as we might look today but there is a lot of hard work ahead and it will be a tough battle for us this weekend.”
Jenson Button was the top McLaren, albeit only in P11, while Sergio Perez was 13th in the other MP4-28, sandwiched between the Toro Rosso’s of Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo.
“We managed to complete our full run-plan in both the morning and afternoon, which was a positive, but it’s going to be a difficult weekend for us,” Perez conceded.
Of the rest, Valtteri Bottas led the Williams charge in 15th – based on his time in Q1 – ahead of Nico Hulkenberg, Pastor Maldonado, Esteban Gutierrez, Charles Pic, Max Chilton, Jules Bianchi and Giedo van der Garde in positions 16 through to 22. Heikki Kovalainen and Rodolfo Gonzalez brought up the rear, although both only ran in FP1, the former replacing van dar Garde, while the latter used Bianchi’s Marussia.