Toyota’s Timo Glock put in a surprise fastest lap during Bahrain testing to put himself at the top of the unofficial timesheet ahead of Felipe Massa and Robert Kubica.
On a day that started foggy and chilly, enough to see the circuit closed for a while, the German managed a time of 1:33.501 on a track that eventually saw temperatures of more than 80 degrees.
Mere hundredths of a second behind him was Massa in the new Ferrari F60 with a time of 1:33.615 and Kubica in the BMW Sauber F1.09 almost as close on 1:33.702.
Meanwhile, in Jerez, Sebastian Buemi continued his reign at the top of the timesheet in Toro Rosso’s interim car – the only team still running in this way – with a fastest lap of 1:19.660.
Some two and a half seconds behind him was Sebastian Vettel in the new Red Bull machine. Milton Keynes’ finest engineering was on display as the team finally unveiled its 2009 competitor, the RB5.
A day previously Sebastian Vettel took to the track for an installation lap before returning to the garage for the car to be checked over. He was able to put in further laps, which the team said provided useful information, until concerns with the gearbox brought the day to a close.
Vettel said: “The guys did a fantastic job to get the car here and ready for this first run. I was happy to be driving again, but don’t ask me to comment on the feel of the car as it’s far too early for that.
“With the shakedown out of the way, we can get down to developing the car starting tomorrow and over the next few days.
“Stopping early today was the right decision, as you really need to understand exactly what causes any problem on a brand new car.”
Team boss Christian Horner added: “Following a successful shakedown, we stopped the car as a precautionary measure because the gearbox oil temperature was beginning to rise.
“We ran with our KERS system fitted to the car, but it was not operational. We simply carried it to assess its impact on other elements of the package, such as weight distribution, and to study the effects on the system of vibrations and other forces.”
Mark Webber shared driving duties with Vettel on the first full day of testing to assess the recovery of his broken leg.
Behind the Red Bull was Williams test driver Nico Hulkenberg with a close challenge on 1:22.443 while in fourth place was McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen on 1:22.643
McLaren said of Heikki Kovalainen’s day: “First running of MP4-24 in familiar conditions. Heikki ran a parallel programme, focusing on developing useful set-ups for the new car while also putting mileage on the car’s active KERS device.
“The team set itself prudent targets on both thermal and pressure thresholds in order to safeguard the machinery and this resulted in a few aborted runs when those thresholds were reached.
“Heikki felt the KERS device worked well but required further work in concert with the car’s set-up to produce optimum results. As much of the day’s work was exploratory, the team chose to undertake most of its work on a single set of dry tyres choosing only to switch to fresh rubber – and set its fastest lap – towards the end of the day.
“The team will continue with the same programme tomorrow and is optimistic of increasing the length of the runs as it increases its understanding of the KERS device.”
Bringing up the rear was Renault’s Nelson A Piquet with a fastest time of 1:23.313 in just 35 laps after rain cost the team valuable track time.
Bahrain test times day one:
- Timo Glock, Toyota: 1:33.501 (82 laps)
- Felipe Massa, Ferrari: 1:33.615 (98 laps)
- Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber: 1:33.702 (95 laps)
Jerez test times day one:
- Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso: 1:19.660 (104 laps)
- Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull: 1:22.177 (61 laps)
- Nico Hulkenberg, Williams: 1:22.443 (82)
- Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren: 1:22.643 (58 laps)
- Nelson A. Piquet, Renault: 1:23.313 (35 laps)