18 Apr 2009

Final practice - Rosberg makes amends for Williams

Nico Rosberg (GER) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Practice Day, Shanghai, China, Friday, 17 April 2009 Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) McLaren MP4/24.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Practice Day, Shanghai, China, Friday, 17 April 2009 Robert Kubica (POL) BMW Sauber F1.09.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Practice Day, Shanghai, China, Friday, 17 April 2009 Timo Glock (GER) Toyota TF109.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Practice Day, Shanghai, China, Friday, 17 April 2009

Nico Rosberg’s final practice session in Shanghai began with embarrassment and ended in triumph. The German fell off the road coming into the pits and the end of his out lap at the beginning of the hour-long session, but ended it fastest for Williams with 1m 36.133s.

It was an odd session, with some people apparently going a lot quicker than they did on Friday, and it is likely that some, particularly the Brawn drivers, kept something in hand.

Jarno Trulli was second fastest for Toyota on 1m 36.272s, chased by late improver Lewis Hamilton on 1m 36.330s for McLaren, Brawn’s Jenson Button on 1m 36.463s, Nelson Piquet (unlike team mate Fernando Alonso, in a standard Renault R29) on 1m 36.464s and Ferrari’s Felipe Massa on 1m 36.528s.

Then came McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen on 1m 36.547s, Kazuki Nakajima on 1m 36.560s for Williams, Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen on 1m 36.568s, Rubens Barrichello on 1m 36.642s in the second Brawn, the BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld on 1m 36.702s, team mate Robert Kubica on 1m 36.742s (in an F1.09 that is no longer running KERS), and the Toro Rossos of Sebastiens Buemi and Bourdais on 1m 36.742s and 1m 36.834s.

You cannot say that the 2009 regulations haven’t made things incredibly close!

Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel were slower than expected on 1m 37.330s and 1m 37.349s respectively, though both got little running after suffering identical driveshaft problems. Next up were the Force Indias of Adrian Sutil and Giancarlo Fisichella (both off-roaders in the session) on 1m 37.534s and 1m 37.732s respectively.

Revisions to Alonso’s Renault, which included a new diffuser and removal of the KERS package, did not help much as he was 19th on 1m 38.003s after managing just six laps. And at the back was Timo Glock whose Toyota encountered a transmission problem after he lapped it in 1m 39.110s early on.