What happened this week in Bahrain

This website tends not to report on testing in a blow-by-blow fashion because we do not think that it does anything but confuse by reporting on different cars setting fastest times on different days. Exact comparisons between the teams are virtually impossible because teams are running different fuel loads and pursuing different development programmes. At best the tests give us an indication of the state of play, at worst they lead us astray. Next week's test will be very low key but will probably be the most significant as teams finally put all the aeordynamic parts on the cars and run them to see the result.

What emerged in Bahrain is that Ferrari still seems to be at the front Felipe Massa set the best lap times on each of the three days and ended up with a best of 1m29.989s. That was four-tenths of a second ahead of Renault's Heikki Kovalainen, who recorded a 1m30.384s, just a tenth ahead of teammate Giancarlo Fisichella (1m30.498s). The pair were split by the BMW Sauber of Nick Heidfeld, apparently underlining the progress that the team has made in recent months. Kimi Raikkonen was next up in his Ferrari but his 1m30.534s was probably not the best time he could have managed. The same is true for Robert Kubica who waound up 10th in his BMW with a best time that was 1.1secs off that of Heidfeld.

McLaren had a low-key test this time with Fernando Alonso in sixth and Lewis Hamilton eighth with times of 1m30.564s and 1m31.094s respectively. The team seems to be confident that it will be closer to the front in Melbourne.

Honda admits it has a bit to do to get on the pace of the other teams but Rubens Barrichello was seventh with a 1m31.067s and Jenson Button was 14th with a 1m31.807s.

Red Bull Racing too continues to struggle to find speed and overcome teething troubles. David Coulthard and Mark Webber were 11th and 12th but were still ahead of the Toyota of 13th placed Ralf Schumacher. Jarno Trulli had a miserable time and was 22nd out of 24 drivers who appeared in Bahrain.

Williams and Spyker were both in action in Europe rather than going to Bahrain and Nico Rosberg topped the times in their tests at Barcelona. It iss still not really clear where either team will fit into the pecking order but all will be revealed soon in Melbourne.

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