F1: Battle of the Brits in Shanghai Friday practice

By LJ Hutchins

CalendarFriday, April 17th, 2009

 
 

Improvements to Lewis Hamilton’s car could see him back among the front-runners in Shanghai, as he gave Jenson Button a run for his money in today’s Shanghai practice sessions.

Hamilton topped the first session after improvements to his car, including a new diffuser, helped him find extra and much-needed performance.

His fastest lap of 1:37.334 was nearly a tenth of a second faster than the two closely-matched Brawn GP cars, with team-mate Heikki Kovalainen also bucking recent form to come fourth.

Red Bull and Toyota were also very competitive, with Ferrari and Renault in the midfield, plus a surprisingly quick performance from Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Bourdais and both BMW Saubers near the bottom of the pack.

But Button’s double-race-winning Brawn GP triumphed in the second session to declare the upcoming Shanghai qualifying session a potential Battle of the Brits.

Button put in a lap of 1:35.679 while Williams’ Nico Rosberg in second split the two Brawn GP cars and this time it was McLaren that could do no better than 11th and 13th.

Of course, David Coulthard continues as the stand-in reserve driver for Red Bull until the official holder of that role, 19-year-old Kiwi Brendon Hartley, clocks up the mileage he needs for his super licence.

But we definitely wouldn’t wish the necessary dodgy prawn ball and resulting stomach upset on either Mark Webber or Sebastian Vettel – however much fun it would be to have our favourite veteran driver back in the mix in a competitive car alongside Button and Hamilton.

Second session times

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

First session times

  1. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren: 1:37.334 (22 laps)
  2. Jenson Button, Brawn GP: 1:37.450 (18 laps)
  3. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP: 1:37.566 (19 laps)
  4. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren: 1:37.672 0.106 (23 laps)
  5. Mark Webber, Red Bull: 1:37.752 (20 laps)
  6. Jarno Trulli, Toyota: 1:37.764 (19 laps)
  7. Nico Rosberg, Williams: 1:37.860 (24 laps)
  8. Timo Glock, Toyota: 1:37.894 (21 laps)
  9. Fernando Alonso, Renault: 1:38.089 (19 laps)
  10. Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso: 1:38.195 (24 laps)
  11. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari: 1:38.223 (23 laps)
  12. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull: 1:38.274 (20 laps)
  13. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso: 1:38.307 (26 laps)
  14. Adrian Sutil, Force India: 1:38.319 (18 laps)
  15. Felipe Massa, Ferrari: 1:38.418 (20 laps)
  16. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber: 1:38.456 (21 laps)
  17. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India: 1:38.460 (19 laps)
  18. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber: 1:38.463 (18 laps)
  19. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams: 1:38.730 (25 laps)
  20. Nelson A. Piquet, Renault: 1:38.825 (20 laps)

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