The Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona signifies the start of the second part of the season after the four “Fly Away” races in Australia, Malaysia, China and Bahrain. The teams have fitted all their new goodies and are ready for the next big push.
Since the move to Barcelona the Spanish Grand Prix has just continued to grow, with more stands being built and filled each year, fuelled by the Fernando Alonso effect on the local Spanish fans.
The circuit is also in an ideal location for a hospitality venue. Corporates are able to fly their clients into the early season sunshine on a very reasonable budget. The location has a lot of what Monaco has to offer without the crippling costs.
Friday practice was a busy time for all the teams. Many were doing continuous laps with alternating body parts and different wings, tyres and fuel loads so as to get a feel for their new updates after having got back nearer to home.
Practice 1 got off to a slow start in the lovely sunny 19C morning with most teams doing a quick bedding in lap and then sat back waiting for the track to gain some rubber.
Renault, Ferrari and McLaren will be running KERS. BMW have decided not to use KERS because of weight issues. KERS really comes into its own on tracks with long straights and tight corners so will be less of an advantage at Barcelona with its long high speed corners.
Massa has a problem with the Flanges on his Ferrari which were rubbing on used tyres, so he only completed 15 laps before deciding to sit out the rest of the session so as to conserve his new types.
Kovalainen spent the session trying different front wings.
The end of the session saw a mixed bag of constructors at the top with Button (Brawn) leading the pack, closely followed by Trulli (Toyota), Kubica (BMW) and Heidfeld (BMW).with Nakajima bringing in his Williams just 0.008 seconds ahead of team mate Rosberg.
The first 18 were all within 1.3 seconds with Kovalainen and Sutil trailing by another 0.4 seconds.
Practice 2 was a lovely warm 25C with a fresh breeze that had shifted through 180 degrees since this morning. Most teams did 30 to 40 laps, while the Toyotas of Glock and Trulli did 46 and 47 respectively.
It cannot be for the want of trying and putting in the effort that they have not yet won their first race. They have consistently been doing up among the most laps in each of the practice sessions this year and this has shown through in their good qualifying positions. This has especially been the case for Jarno Trulli, one of the best qualifying drivers around at the moment.
Toyota must surely break their duck soon.
Maybe if Trulli can get on the front row in Monaco and repeat his 2004 win for Renault, the pressure will be off and that will signify the start of a winning streak.
Or maybe he could make it into pole position here and be like the last eight drivers in the Spain Grand Prix who have won the race from pole position. Once you get out in front it is notoriously difficult to pass here.
Lewis Hamilton had a big moment while attempting a flying lap at the end so ended up just 13th.
Rosberg completed 43 laps (just a few less than Glock) and posted the fastest time, with team make Nakajima just one tenth behind in second. Right at the end of the session with under a minute to go Rosberg looked to be on an even faster lap, but ground to a halt on his last flying lap. It looked as if he had run out of petrol and was swaying his car from side to side to pick up any remaining fuel.
Button who was on a flyer (along with several others) was not able to keep pushing under the yellow flags and so ended up 6th for the session.
Of the 19 runners Buemi did the least laps (17) of the session after his brakes caught fire on his first out lap. He finally got back to the pits 45 minutes later and within a quarter of an hour his car was fixed and he finally got going again with just 30 minutes of the session left.
Sutil had to sit out the session completely while a problem with his fuel cell was sorted out.
Piquet had a torrid session going off at least twice which won’t help the security of his position in the team. He ended up a respectable eight about half a second slower than Alonso who ended up third.
The day ended with no major incidents except for the brake fire and a few people slithering off the track and Rosberg apparently running out of petrol in the last few seconds of the day’s seconds practice session.
Tags: Spanish Grand Prix