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Page last updated at 10:33 GMT, Saturday, 5 April 2008 11:33 UK
Bahrain Grand Prix
Sakhir, 4-6 April 2008
The Chequered Flag podcast



Latest positions in Bahrain:

1. Kubica (BMW Sauber)

2 Massa (Ferrari)

3. Hamilton (McLaren)

4. Raikkonen (Ferrari)

5. Kovalainen (McLaren)

6. Heidfeld (BMW Sauber)

7. Trulli (Toyota)


Saturday: Qualifying 1200 BST. Sunday: Race 1230 BST

LATEST NEWS (all times BST)

To get involved in all the pre-race chat, text us on 81111 (UK users only) or contribute to 606

By Sarah Holt


1312: "Ferrari look too strong for anyone else; only thing to stop them now is a car failure."
C-Ronaldo7 on 606

1307: But Massa pays for a slow middle sector as he has to settle for second, meaning Kubica takes the first pole of his career.

It looks as though his BMW Sauber was running with less fuel than the Ferraris but things are poised nicely for an exciting race in Bahrain.

Hamilton lines up on the second row alongside Raikkonen with Kovalainen fifth, Heidfeld sixth and Trulli seventh. Rosberg takes up eighth spot with Button ninth and Alonso rounding out the top 10.

1306: Kubica crosses the line first in 1:33.096 to take pole as Massa enters the final bend.

1305: Hamilton has a fast middle sector, what can he do? He takes provisional pole in 1:33.292 but Massa and Kubica still to come.

1303: Massa is back out there, knowing his pole position isn't safe from a further attack from Kubica, Raikkonen and Hamilton.

1301: Kubica lays down a hot lap for BMW Sauber of 1:33.350 but he is just edged out - and it is just - by Massa, who climbs back to the top. Hamilton is back in the pits for his final preparations. The McLaren man sticks to the soft tyres for the final run.

1259: All 10 men out on track now.

1256: Lights go green for the final session, and Button makes his mark as the first man out for Honda. But it's a conservative lap from the Brit as he sets the pace with 1:35.057.

1248: Good news for Jenson Button as he pushes his Honda into the top 10 shootout for the first time this season as he sneaks through in 10th. And here's who hasn't made it; Mark Webber (Red Bull), Rubens Barrichello (Honda), Timo Glock (Toyota), Nelson Piquet (Renault), Sebastian Bourdais (Toro Rosso) and Kazuki Nakajima (Williams).

1246: Everyone is out except the top five. The final push is on.

1244: Hamilton steps out of his car, so the team must think he has done enough to make the top 10. On the cusp at the moment are Rubens Barrichello, Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber, Jenson Button, Nelson Piquet, Sebastian Bourdais and Kazuki Nakajima.

1243: All the cars are back out on the circuit; Hamilton and Massa are both out on flyers and the pair swap top spot with the Ferrari man overtaking McLaren with at time of 1:31.188.

1237: The Renaults once again take the lead as Piquet and Alonso are the first out with Piquet setting the first flying lap.

1233: A little breather after a rather hectic first session and now the battle to make the top 10 cut gets underway - but so far no-one is out of the pits in Sakhir. Sato says he had "a bit of a fright" as he hit the kerb with unfortunate consequences in that first spell.

1230: "A huge disappointment for David Coulthard as he arrives back in the pits."
BBC 5 Live analyst Maurice Hamilton

1225: An exciting end to the first sector as all the cars pour across the line one by one to make the cut. First of all, here's who is out: Coulthard, Fisichella, Sutil, Davidson, Vettel and Sato.

Among the interesting moves are Jenson Button who jumps up to fifth for Honda while one-lap demon Jarno Trulli is up to second.

1222: Two minutes left now and still a lot of drivers under pressure out there. Everyone is out on the track now with the exception of the top six and Sato.

1220: "I wonder if there is a problem with Fisichella's car as he just hasn't come out at all so far."
BBC 5 Live analyst Maurice Hamilton

1215: The red flag is being waved so the track officials can clear up the track after Sato's spin and nudge into the tyre barrier. So, the clock is stopped with four minutes, 49 second remaining.

The drivers in the drop zone at the moment are Sebastian Vettel (Toro Rosso), David Coulthard (Red Bull), Adrian Sutil (Force India), Anthony Davidson (Super Aguri), Sato (Super Aguri) and Giancarlo Fisichella (Force India).

1213: Massa is fastest through the first two sectors and jumps to the top spot in 1:31.937 and Raikkonen goes second. But Massa set his fastest lap under yellow-flag conditions because Takuma Sato span his Super Aguri off at the final turn just seconds before.

1212: Just under eight minutes remaining and both of the Ferraris emerge from the pits.

1209: Hamilton sets two fastest laps to top the timesheets with a mark of 1:32.750.

1207: Lewis Hamilton is out on the track and looking good so far.

1206: Nico Rosberg, who was fastest during Saturday's final practice, climbs to the top of the timesheets with 1:34945 but he is quickly overhauled by Jarno Trulli's Toyota, who is out on the hard tyres.

1202: Piquet runs tight round the tricky turn nine and turn 10 series and he sets the benchmark of 1:34.945.

1200: And the first car out on the track is Nelson Piquet, who roars out of the Renault pits. He is swiftly followed by the Toro Rossos and Super Aguris.

1158: Almost under way in Bahrain and just to let you know that the maximum lap time allowed under the new qualifying rules will be one minute, 39 seconds.

1154: "I see Massa taking pole and Kimi second on this one."
Kimizegooner on 606

1150: "McLaren looked on the face of it that they were in a spot of bother in practice but I think that will translate into a better performance during qualifying. Hamilton will have lost a little bit of preparation time but he should not have been too affected."
BBC 5 Live analyst Maurice Hamilton

1148: The weather in Bahrain is clear and sunny for qualifying with the temperature up at 28C. But there is a pretty strong breeze sweeping across the desert circuit which means the drivers will have to watch out for the occasional strong gust.

1145: I'm not suggesting you lot are forgetful but I struggle from one weekend to the next; so here are the rules of qualifying again:

After the first 15-minute session, the slowest six cars will be eliminated. Six more cars will then be eliminated during a second spell before the remaining top 10 cars battle it out for the grid positions.

1135: "Felipe Massa will bounce back this weekend I feel, and put himself back in the title hunt!"
Ipswichcarl on 606

1130: We're getting closer to the business end of the weekend in Bahrain and already there has been plenty to wet our appetites.

Lewis Hamilton ploughed his McLaren into the tyre wall during Friday's practice and apologised to his team of mechanics, who've had to rebuild his car overnight.

The championship leader is running with a new chassis but was well off the pace, down in 18th during final practice.

Ferrari's Felipe Massa is desperate to get his first points of 2008. He'll be fairly confident this weekend as he won in Sakhir last season, and was second fastest during Saturday's practice.

The Italian team spent some of the winter testing in Bahrain so that could play into their hands too.

And there have also been some tweaks to qualifying itself.

To avoid the problems that led to McLaren drivers Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen being penalised five grid positions in Malaysia, the drivers have been ordered to continue driving relatively quickly after their qualifying laps.

The McLaren pair were cruising back to the pits slowly to save fuel at the end of qualifying in Malaysia when they were narrowly avoided by BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld and Renault's Fernando Alonso on their final qualifying laps.

Recognising the potential danger of that situation, governing body the FIA has said that all laps in qualifying must be completed within a specified percentage of a driver's fastest time.

So we're all set.




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