The sand in Bahrain is mainly on the racetrack, it would appear, after a second day of testing at the Middle Eastern circuit was held up by a sandstorm.
Until mid-morning the three teams at the venue basked in the most perfect weather imaginable. Then, following a recent trend that has seen tests scuppered by hail, torrential rain and fog, it all went horribly wrong.
The conditions allowed for only limited running – but it was enough for Ferrari’s Felipe Massa to top the unofficial timesheets with a fastest lap of 1:33.639. BMW’s Robert Kubica was nearly eight tenths of a second behind him on 1:34.398 with Toyota’s Timo Glock slowest on 1:34.902
But the times were likely to be particularly unrepresentative on a day when between 14 and 22 laps’ running was all that anyone managed to put in.
However Massa, a Brazilian with an Italian grandfather, was delighted with his truncated day: “I was lucky and could watch the [Italy vs Brazil football friendly at Wembley]. You can’t miss Italy playing Brazil.” Especially since Brazil won 2-0 after a recent run of bad form.
In Jerez the five teams testing enjoyed good weather conditions with track temperatures climbing to 80 degrees.
Sebastian Buemi’s interim Toro Rosso was still the fastest car with a time of 1:17.591 – is this the equivalent of runners having a pacemaker to help them reach optimum times?
Behind him was McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen with a best lap of 1:20.799, achieved while testing set-ups and adding mileage to the KERS device, although with a modified 2008 rear wing rather than the 2009 model.
Kovalainen is due to hand over to team-mate Lewis Hamilton on Thursday.
Winning a tight battle for third-fastest was Red Bull’s Mark Webber on 1:21.321, who managed 83 laps despite his injured right leg.
Williams race driver Kazuki Nakajima was fourth on 1:21.451 as his team recovered from missed testing time following bad weather at Portimao. Fifth was Renault’s Nelson A Piquet on 1:21.908 in a car that has yet to prove itself.
Bahrain test times day two
- Felipe Massa, Ferrari: 1:33.639 (17 laps)
- Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber: 1:34.398 (22 laps)
- Timo Glock, Toyota: 1:34.902 (14 laps)
Jerez test times day two
- Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso: 1:17.591 (143 laps)
- Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren: 1:20.799 (110 laps)
- Mark Webber, Red Bull: 1:21.321 (83 laps)
- Kazuki Nakajima, Williams: 1:21.451 (125 laps)
- Nelson A Piquet, Renault: 1:21.908 (49 laps)