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Page last updated at 13:55 GMT, Friday, 8 May 2009 14:55 UK

Spanish GP practice as it happened


To get involved text us on 81111 with FORMULA 1 before your message. (Not all contributions can be used; UK mobiles only; network rates apply)

By Caroline Cheese

1443: For all the talk of a potential revolution in Barcelona, no sign of much change in the pecking order so far - although practice is of course a fickle barometer. Brawn and Red Bull still looking good, Williams ripping it up in practice, while Ferrari and McLaren struggle. We should find out a little bit more tomorrow when Sam Lyon takes over the live text duties, but... I'll be back (Can I have some of that sponsorship money please Mr Brawn?)

1447: By the way, if you missed it, Brawn have a new sponsor for this race only - the new Terminator film! Here's Brawn CEO Nick Fry to explain the link-up: "The Terminator brand promises exciting action and high drama as machines and human ingenuity battle for supremacy. It's a perfect match for Brawn GP and Formula 1."

From shortwords on 606: "I'd pay top dollar to see Flavio Briatore driving the second Renault."
Join the debate on 606

1437: Those yellow flags at the end of the session wrecked Toyota's hopes of putting in some quick laps and Timo Glock and Jarno Trulli remain 18th and 19th. The McLarens are 13th (Lewis) and 14th quickest, while Ferrari are 10th (Kimi) and 15th.

From Neil, sobbing uncontrollably in Warwick, via text on 81111: "Re 1422: MCLAREN DON'T POOTLE! I'm off to cry into my whisky and reminisce about happier times..."

1434: By my reckoning, that is the eighth time Nico Rosberg has gone quickest in practice in 14 sessions this year. Now to convert that pace into race form...

1432: Flavio Briatore marches back to the Renault garage with a satisfied smile on his face. Fernando Alonso is third quickest after a series of impressive laps, with the Williams of Nico Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajima one and two.

1430: It looks like Nico Rosberg ran out of fuel - which just goes to show how light his Williams was running.

1429: Lewis Hamilton and Timo Glock both having moments... and Nico Rosberg is on the grass at turn 10, so the yellow flags are out. That'll put paid to the flying laps.

1427: Time to put the soft tyres on and get going. The Toyotas are 18th and 19th at the moment. They'll be making a move surely.

From Ian, BBC weatherman in Bristol, via text on 81111: "On the topic of weather, we are anticipating a fair chance of showers affecting the race on Sunday."
BBC weather forecast

1422: Eight minutes remaining in second practice. Still Williams, Williams, Brawn, Red Bull. The McLarens and Ferraris still pootling about in midfield, much as they were this morning.

1416: It's a Williams lock-out at the top there as practice whizz Nico Rosberg takes over from Kazuki Nakajima. They are followed by Rubens Barrichello and Fernando Alonso.

1412: Nelsinho is really testing my faith now. The Brazilian is back in that flippin' gravel. Quite unbelievable. Dave has just texted in to say I could drive that Renault better than poor old Piquet. Yeah, but I wouldn't look so dashingly handsome while doing it.

From Jordan in Leeds via text on 81111: "Re Dave in Ashbourne: The sign of a great man is not his hair but his tash."

1406: And Fernando Alonso immediately goes third quickest. Renault team-mate Nelson Piquet Jr is back out on the track after his earlier off. Come on now, Nelsinho, I'm rooting for you like you wouldn't believe.

From Dave in Ashbourne via text on 81111: "Adrian Sutil is like the father I never had, plus he has great hair. Sign of a great man."

1403: The stands will be shaking... home hero Fernando Alonso is on his out lap.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Barcelona: "I managed to track down new Red Bull reserve driver Brendon Hartley (see 0923) to find out how he was getting on at his first-ever Grand Prix. Rest assured the 19-year-old is not worried about stepping into Sebastian Vettel or Mark Webber's cockpit at short notice. Hartley, who has only driven the 2009 car in straight line testing so far, says he's excited to be at his first Grand Prix - and to have a sniff of his first chance to race in a GP. Until that time comes, the New Zealander will begin racing in the new F3 Euroseries next weekend."

1356: Some very strange Adrian Sutil-related texts coming in now. He inspires a lot of love, that's all I can say. Still Kazuki Nakajima top of the pops, ahead of Rubens Barrichello and now Mark Webber. Toro Rosso are preparing to send Sebastien Buemi out for another run after his brakes mishap earlier.

From GM on 606: "Ah, flippin' Nelson. If he can't stay on the track on this circuit, in PRACTICE, where he's probably done more miles than anywhere else..."
Join the debate on 606

1351: Nelson Piquet Jr creeps back to the pits so his Renault team can tidy up his car after that 'off'. His dad is around in Barcelona, and probably has his head in his hands.

1349: And it will surprise none of you to learn that NELSON'S GONE SIDEWAYS! The Brazilian glides into the gravel at the notoriously difficult Campsa corner, kissing the barrier.

From Ben via text on 81111: "I love Sutil."

1347: Nakajima from Vettel from Barrichello at the moment. The Ferraris are 10th (Raikkonen) and 16th at the moment. Not exactly pulling up trees.

From Arles, London, via text on 81111: "Please tell me Ferrari are sandbagging?! Otherwise they have gone backwards!"

1341: Good question 'anon'. He's not hiding from Mark Webber (after wrecking the Aussie's qualifying hopes last time out). He is, in fact, having to sit out this session as Force India fix a problem with a fuel cell in his car.

From anon via text on 81111: "Where's Sutil?"

1336: Replays of something flying off Lewis Hamilton's car and the front of his McLaren bouncing around... Not sure what happened there. The world champion currently ninth quickest.

From Owen in Dartford, via text on 81111: "I'm yet to be convinced of Toyota's ability to challenge for wins. The package needs to be more consistent."

1329: Sebastian Vettel is our new leader, his Red Bull running with soft tyres. Mark Webber, on the hard compound, is third.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Barcelona: "We are up and running on the celebrity count - gracias Espana! Accompanied by the sound of furiously clicking photographers, Samuel Eto'o took a lunchtime stroll down the paddock. The Barcelona striker didn't have much luck slipping under the radar of local fans as he was decked out in an eye-catching canary yellow t-shirt. Equally exciting, was the more demurely dressed former driver Riccardo Patrese, who lost his title of most experienced F1 driver - with 256 starts under his belt - to Rubens Barrichello last season. We won't mention where a brief flash of Sir Jackie Stewart's tartan trousers, as he exited Red Bull's motorhome, ranks in the clothing stakes."

BBC pit-lane reporter Lee McKenzie: "Toyota are getting worried about the fact they still haven't won a Grand Prix. They think the longer it goes on, the harder it's going to become because it will be a mental block."

1323: Williams bigwig Patrick Head scrunches up his face - in delight? - as he watches Kazuki Nakajima send Nelson Piquet Jr down to second. We'll always remember those three minutes, Nelsinho, don't you worry.

1320: I hereby name this Nelson Piquet Jr Day. The Brazilian roars to the top with a 1:22.740. He's probably got a dribble of fuel on board, coupled with a set of softs, but progress is progress...

1317: Or maybe not. Jenson Button's 1:23.057 puts him in P1, ahead of Rubens Barrichello. Sebastian Vettel seems a lot happier than this morning, sitting in third at the moment.

1315: Rubens Barrichello goes top of the times, while Brawn team-mate Jenson Button appears to be on a slightly different strategy - he's 16th. No sign of Brawn letting up this weekend though.

1309: Flying laps, well, flying in now. Timo Glock quickly usurps Nelson Piquet Jr, Robert Kubica third in his BMW. Kovalainen, Button, Sutil yet to show. Sebastien Buemi pits-bound.

From Blythy_vxR on 606: "Re 1241: Piquet Jr might be the more handsome, but he'll never be facing the right way."
Join the debate on 606

1303: Flames licking from the rear brakes of Sebastien Buemi's Toro Rosso. He wasn't even on a flyer. Oh dear. About 10 stewards are immediately out to attend to Buemi's stricken car.

1300: Off we go then, Nico Rosberg of Williams among the early runners.

1259: And more from Sarah: "BMW say 'more than half the car' is different. They have not yet introduced a split-level diffuser but have updated both their rear and front wings as well as enhancing other aerodynamic features. However, both BMWs were running on soft tyres by the end of first practice and so that probably explains their strong showing. Not a huge amount to report from the McLaren camp, who look like they have a new engine cover amidst their tweaked bodywork. Red Bull's updates are "doing what they say on the tin" and apparently it's all about the front wing. See what you can spot in the second session."

1256:BBC Sport's Sarah Holt has made a scouting trip to the Barcelona paddock and returns with this: "For F1 observers, it is also a little too early to pinpoint all the subtle changes each team have made to their cars in an attempt to close some ground on frontrunners Brawn GP. What we have noticed is that Brawn themselves have made a development to their double-decker diffuser. As expected, there has been a major overhaul at Ferrari, who have a new diffuser, sidepods, a revised front suspension and an altered end plate on their front wing."

From Owain, Denbigh, via text on 81111: "Button was over two seconds slower than his fastest March testing time. Those Brawns have plenty more potential."

From Feb_Friday on 606: "I know we're only in practice so real absolute pace isn't clear but the field is just so close. I can't remember a time in F1 when 1.7 seconds covered all the cars."
Join the debate on 606

1249: Yeah but Dan (see below), is he more handsome than his dad? Anyway, Nelsinho was fully 10 places ahead of Fernando Alonso in first practice - but Renault are running his car light to get his confidence up, so expect Nando to set the record straight before the weekend is out.

Dan, RAF Lyneham, via text on 81111: "It will be interesting to see if Nelson Piquet Jr can keep ahead of Fernando Alonso in this second session. I don't think he has much time left to prove himself."

1241: Can't wait for the action to get under way, largely because conversation here has turned to who is the more handsome: Nelson Piquet or Nelson Piquet Jr? I'm not even involved in it...

Spain circuit guide
1238: Second practice under way in 22 minutes. In between cricket/rain updates, I was checking out this website's super-spangly circuit guide for the Spanish GP, accompanied by the Australian lilt of Red Bull's Mark Webber. Ha. Look at that, I've managed to get two soft drinks into a sentence there. I'm not sponsored you know.
Spain circuit guide

1230: Welcome back. Hope you've all had a productive hour and three quarters. Or maybe you, like me, have been a touch distracted by Sir Tom Fordyce's rain-at-Lord's commentary? So much better than actual cricket…
Live text - England v West Indies

1047: Right then. Pit-stop time. Second practice begins at 1300 BST, I shall be here at 1230 BST prompt. If you're not here too, I shall cry.

1043: The much-maligned Nelson Piquet Jr finishes first practice in seventh, fully 10 places ahead of Renault team-mate Fernando Alonso. Don't get too excited though, Piquet fans. Apparently, Renault are running him light on fuel to boost his confidence.

1039: Shortly before the session ended, Mark Webber ran wide as he tried to overtake Adrian Sutil's Force India. Those two just can't keep away from each other can they? Webber ends up 12th quickest, just ahead of his Red Bull team-mates Seb Vettel. Sutil 20th and last.
Bahrain GP qualifying as it happened

From jonathan_189 on 606: "The BMWs were showboating on the soft tyres, trying to make a splash... and they still couldn't go fastest! Oh dear."
Join the debate on 606

1033: Kubica may be third, ahead of BMW team-mate Nick Heidfeld, but he's still nearly half a second slower than Button.

1030: Session over. With the track temperature up, these softer tyres are looking good. Jenson Button is the only man into the 21s with a 1:21.799, ahead of Jarno Trulli's Toyota and Robert Kubica's BMW.

1028: Hello! BMW's Robert Kubica pops up in second with a 1:22.221. Welcome back Bob. He's on the soft tyres.

From PhilSlocombe on 606: "First practice is never a good indicator of how the teams and drivers will perform in quali or in the race. Interesting to see the Renaults and Kimi's Ferrari so far off the pace early on."
Join the debate on 606

1021: A little over eight minutes remaining in this session, and it's very much the usual suspects leading the pack. Trulli from Button from Rosberg. So much for the revolution. Heikki Kovalainen's McLaren is stricken in the pits - and Ted Kravitz mentions the dreaded "gearbox problem".

1018: Jarno Trulli knocks Jenson Button off the top - and the Toyota driver is on the harder tyres so looks like those are the quick ones.

1016: Ferrari's publicity man explains there is a problem with the "front two flanges" on Felipe Massa's car. Oo-er.

1010: It wouldn't be a huge surprise if Brawn were focusing on qualifying (see last comment). The pole sitter has won the Spanish Grand Prix on the last eight occasions.

From homercles on 606: "Button goes fastest apparently on a low fuel, which goes against what they usually do on Fridays. Maybe they have decided to concentrate a bit more on quali pace?"
Join the debate on 606

1005: Felipe Massa has his helmet off, arms folded. Doesn't look like the Ferrari man will be back on the track in this session. He lies third quickest at the moment, but are there problems with the much-modified Ferrari?

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel on his radio: "The car seemed to pick up more and more understeer towards the end. I should have been quicker, especially in the last sector, I didn't get it right."

0958: That gravel at turns three and four is proving very popular. Timo Glock follow Seb Vettel in and he'll return to the pits with his tail between his legs.

0956: Jenson Button sticks his Brawn on top, and Ted Kravitz explains that was a low fuel run.

0954: Woah. Sebastien Vettel runs wide as he comes out of turn three and goes off-road at four. Time for his Red Bull team to start plucking the gravel out.

0952: Here comes those Brawns though, Rubens Barrichello popping up in second, with Jenson Button fourth. Not much from McLaren so far, Lewis Hamilton 15th, Heikki Kovalainen 19th.

0949: Felipe Massa now takes over at the top with a 1:22.855, the first man into the 22s. He's got the harder tyres on his Ferrari.

0944: Que sorpresa! Nico Rosberg - the king of practice - is sitting pretty at P1 with a 1:23.122, but who's that in second? It's only Felipe Massa's Ferrari. Rosberg's just taken a diversion, his second of the day, but he keeps the engine running at turn 13 and is back on his way.

From Chris the drummer via text on 81111: "Re 0929: Brendan Hartley looks like a member of Hanson. Mmmm....bop!"

0938: Nico Rosberg's Williams splits the two Toyotas at the moment, with Jarno Trulli topping the times. The Ferraris are still in the garage - but Lewis Hamilton is out in his McLaren.

BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "Just looking at the flat nose on the restyled BMW - it wasn't exactly pretty beforehand but now it's as flat as a table tennis board."

From Sharon in Edinburgh via text on 81111: "Please let Raikkonen win! I have a bet on with my boyfriend Neil that Raikkonen wins. He wants Hamilton to win."

0929: Hurray, Sebastien Bourdais posts the first flying lap of the weekend in his Toro Rosso. It's a 1:26.551. Last year's pole position time - set by Kimi Raikkonen - was 1:21.813. So not exactly flying, more gliding.

Brendon Hartley
Brendon Hartley: the new face of F1
From Phil, via text on 81111: "Brendan Hartley - F1 driver?! Looks like a surfer dude!"

0923: Brendon Hartley - the 19-year-old Kiwi who has just joined Red Bull as reserve driver - has just revealed this is his first Formula One race. Lordy. Should be interesting if anything should prevent Seb Vettel or Mark Webber from racing on Sunday.

Red Bull's new reserve driver Brendon Hartley: "For young drivers trying to get into F1, it's very difficult to get into the car these days, with the ban on testing. I did some straight-line testing - but the real experience is from driving on the race track."
Hartley joins Red Bull as reserve

From left_toe_lace_ups on 606: "Today belongs to Alonso, wait and see."
Join the debate on 606

0916: BMW have sacked off Kers for this race and the next one in Monaco. Ferrari are sticking with it.

0912: Ted Kravitz has made his way to the BMW garage. After an appalling start to the season, the team have a new front wing, nose cone and engine cover. More significantly, Kravitz reports, they've got a completely new rear wing. The revamped car is getting a lot of attention in the pits...

Matt, Poole, via text on 81111: "If the start of the European leg wasn't exciting enough, the postman's just delivered my Jenson Button flag and pole! Roll on June and Silverstone."

BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "Kimi Raikkonen is running the new Ferrari diffuser. It's not a double-deck as we have come to know, it's more an interpretation of what Brawn have."

0903: Red Bull's Seb Vettel goes against usual form by staying on the track for a second lap after his first taster. It's not a flyer though.

0900: Timo Glock is the first man out of the traps, quite a few following the Toyota. If you are UK-based, I recommend you refresh this page and you'll have moving pictures to look at.

0853: I know someone else who's looking forward to some close-up diffuser shots - and that's BBC Sport's Sarah Holt, who reports from Barcelona that the sun is just trying to poke its way through the clouds. She also tells me there is a 60% chance of rain on race day. "The teams to watch today," she adds, "are Ferrari, who have had a major upgrade, and Toyota and Brawn, who have made some tweaks in a bid to stay ahead of the pack."

From James, Acton, via text on 81111: "It's like the first race of the season again! I'm looking forward to some close-up diffuser shots as the session progresses."

From Nick in Bristol via text on 81111: "I appreciate your football comparisons but surely Brawn are more akin to Onions' performance in the cricket; a remarkable debut?"

0844: It's a new beginning in Spain - or a "nuevo comienzo" if you like. After four 'long-haul' races, the F1 bandwagon has made its way back to Europe - where the teams have made upgrades to their cars ready for another push.

0837: So will Brawn turn out to be the F1 equivalent of Hull City? Will Ferrari leave behind their early season struggles and rise, like Tottenham, to the heady heights of, er, mid-table? Should I stop drawing tiresome comparisons between F1 and the Premier League? Don't answer the last one. If you want to answer the first two though, why not drop me a text on 81111? Lovely.

0830: Hello there. Trust you've tweaked your chassis, hastily fitted a double-decker diffuser and are ready for part two of this absorbing F1 season?

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see also
Spanish Grand Prix practice results
05 May 09 |  Results
Button and Rosberg set Spain pace
08 May 09 |  Formula 1
Bold Button to push for Spain win
07 May 09 |  Formula 1
Alonso offers advice to Hamilton
07 May 09 |  Formula 1
F1 teams demand budget cap talks
06 May 09 |  Formula 1
Mark Webber column
07 May 09 |  Formula 1
F1 on the BBC
01 Dec 11 |  Formula 1

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