It was starting to look like the “old days” at practice 3 at Bahrain with McLaren and Ferrari in the first three positions towards the end of the session. Hamilton and Massa had just gone out on the super soft tyres and Raikkonen was up there to make it 1-2-3.

It was all change a few minutes later when the “new boys” started putting in their fast laps and Glock posted 1:32.605, the fastest of the session and nearly half a second inside Kubica’s pole of 1:33.096 last year. Having put in this stunning time his engine cut out while on full throttle. We wondered if he was ultra low on fuel and had run out, but the consensus is that it was an electrical/computer fault, rather than engine.

At the end of the session Glock was still top and Ferrari and McLaren ended up with 3 of the top five positions. Massa was second with Rosberg just behind.

The Brawns were looking good but had to include slow laps to allow the engine to cool in the hot 38C (about 100F) Bahrain temperatures. The Brawn was not originally designed for the Honda engine, and the last minute switch to Mercedes may prove problematic in the high desert temperatures.

Interestingly the teams were all having trouble getting the harder tyres up to temperature. Who would have thought that in the 100F which would cause most of us to wilt? The technical ones among us recon it is to do with the air being 7% less dense at 40C that it is in the normal 20C that we are used to for mast races. With the less dense air comes less downforce and so the tyres don’t have to work so hard.

Let’s wait and see how the new order works out in qualifying.

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