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Page last updated at 13:50 GMT, Friday, 7 May 2010 14:50 UK

Spanish Grand Prix practice as it happened


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By Caroline Cheese

1440: Thanks ever so muchly for your company today. Again, I'm truly very sorry for the problems with the live video - blame politicians, all of them. I'm off to do a rain-dance, I hope you'll be doing the same. We return at 0930 BST tomorrow ahead of final practice at 1000 BST and qualifying at 1300 BST. Hasta luego!

1435: If you want to claim that muffin I mentioned earlier (see 1412), please email I'msorryIsaidthatasajokeandnowI'mworriedyoumightholdmetoit

1430: Here endeth FP2. Sebastian Vettel is top and is the only man in the 1:19s. Mark Webber is second, ahead of Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Robert Kubica. That's Red Bull's first one-two in a practice session. Nico Rosberg is seventh, over half a second slower than his Mercedes team-mate. Championship leader Jenson Button down in ninth.

1426: Jaime Alguersuari's Toro Rosso given up the ghost. Looked like a bit of smoke coming out of the back as the Spaniard came to a sudden halt. The bandera amarilla is out.

From ankush83 on Twitter: "I bet Sunday belongs to Micky Schumacher."

1418: Red Bulls still one and two, which I think makes them favourites for the race. We've heard that before though. The BBC weather forecast expects drizzle on Sunday.

1412: Can I again apologise if you're not able to see the live video stream? These problems have been caused by unprecedented levels of traffic to the BBC website - caused not just by second practice for the Spanish Grand Prix, but also the UK election. I shall make you all a spinach and cheese muffin to make up for it. If that helps.

1406: Seb Vettel goes fastest with a 1:19.965, the first man into the 1:19s. He leads from Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber, Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso, Robert Kubica and Lewis Hamilton. Meanwhile, Vitaly Petrov tests out the gravel in his Renault before deciding he actually prefers the tarmac.

1358: Only half an hour remaining now, and I'm assuming we won't be seeing Niko Hulkenberg again until tomorrow. The McLarens are seventh and eighth at the moment. Timo Glock is out in his Virgin as he looks to drag himself off the bottom of the leaderboard.

1351: Eddie Jordan reveals that if it doesn't rain this weekend, the race will be "as boring as boring can be"... Great. Michael Schumacher moves up to second, 0.582 seconds P1 man Mark Webber. Then it's Massa, Hamilton, Button, Alonso. Seb Vettel back in seventh, 1.5 seconds off the pace set by his Red Bull team-mate.

BBC pit-lane reporter Lee McKenzie: "I spoke to Paul di Resta over lunchtime in Barcelona and he was saying that he's really enjoying his F1 experience. This morning was the first time he has driven around the Circuit de Catalunya in a single-seater, having only driven part of the track in a DTM car. Paul is now on a watching brief until after the Monaco Grand Prix as Force India drivers Vitantonio Liuzzi and Adrian Sutil will use Thursday morning practice in the principality to get used to keeping away from the barriers."

1346: Up pops Felipe Massa in second as Ferrari show for almost the first time today. Fernando Alonso is sixth... And there's Seb Vettel overtaking Adrian Sutil's Force India.

From red_assassin on 606: "Schumi's form looks fantastic. Nico's gonna be absolutely livid with car. And Chandhok is in for a major embarrassment at the next race."

1339: The red flag is long gone so there are cars on the track again. Still a Webber-Hamilton-Schumacher 1-2-3.

BBC Sport's Andrew Benson in Barcelona: "To answer Dave's question below (see 1258), the favoured food for F1 drivers over a grand prix weekend is pasta - it's very important for them to load up on the carbohydrate so they have enough energy for the extreme demands of racing an F1 car for nigh on 200 miles. Following their lead, I had a delicious plate of spicy ravioli with cherry tomatoes and rocket courtesy of Red Bull for lunch. No offence, Caroline, but I'm pretty sure it would have blown the socks off your spinach and cheese muffin."
Doubt it

From Simon, via text: "Don't F1 drivers eat fast food?"

From John in Mansfield, with chicken n bacon pie, via text: "Free practice is all well and good are the McLaren boys gonna sort it in qualifying?"

Eddie Jordan on BBC Red Button: "I can't understand what Hulkenberg is thinking with that off, why can't he lift off and ease up? Does he not realise he has the whole team and the sponsors to look after - it's just stupid. I get quite angry about this - he might have the hump because he doesn't have all the upgrades in that Williams but he still needs to keep his head. I built Nico Hulkenberg up so much at the start of the season, I really expected big things from him - he has let me down."

1328: Red flag still out. Mark Webber is in P1, ahead of Lewis Hamilton, Michael Schumacher, Jenson Button, Nico Rosberg and Bob Kubica. Nico Hulkenberg is back in the pits while the stewards get the brooms out to clear the debris from his Williams off the track.

From anon via text: "The mighty hulk couldn't even hold that slide!"

1321: Mark Webber taking a turn at the top with a 1:21.063... Whoah! There's the first big off of the day, Niko Hulkenberg runs wide into the gravel and then onto the astroturf in his Williams and slews right across the track and into the tyre wall. We have a red flag situation.

From MacHiavelli on 606: "Can't you turn off the election feed and give us F1 instead?"
Gimme me a sec

1316: Now then, I must apologise again for the continuing problems with the live video stream. We think this may be down to election fever, but the boffins are still investigating. There is no commentary on 5 live Sports Extra because they're about to go to the cricket.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Barcelona: "Buenos dias a todos. The sun deigned to show itself over lunchtime in Barcelona when Jenson Button and Bernie Ecclestone huddled up to pose for pictures as Button got his name added to the Circuit de Catalunya's Champions' Avenue. Team Lotus were striding out in style in their striking new all-green ensemble, dubbed their Robin Hood costume and I used my basic Spanish to find out that there are stalls on the other side of the grandstand exclusively selling Fernando Alonso hoodies and the like. I may have to venture out to see what's on offer over the weekend, perhaps a Fernando umbrella if these grey clouds continue to cloud this weekend's proceedings. The circuit thermometer says it's 16C but it feels a lot cooler than that, so much so that a consignment of 400 tea-bags has been gratefully received at BBC HQ."

1313: The strange sight of MSC in P1 with a 1:21.322, ahead of Button, Rosberg, Kubica, Sutil and Liuzzi. Sutil's back! I feel better already.

From anon via text: "I see your spinach muffin and raise you a delicious chocolate bacon cupcake I enjoyed in Boulder, CO."

From LazerFX, Rugby, with bacon, eggs, sausages and beans, via text: "Jackie Stewart always said to race hungry... See his biography."
Bah, what does he know? Oh wait...

From ChrisDuffin on Twitter: "Re Dave from Manchester: Donuts?"

1300: Off we go then, and here's my man Pedro de la Rosa, lapping up the applause of the home fans as he creeps round in his BMW-Sauber.

1258: Hmmm, there's a man being interviewed on the telly who looks like a slightly younger Michael Schumacher but looks like he might be a far inferior Formula 1 driver. Yup, thought so: it's Ralf.

From Dave, Manchester, with a baked potato, via text: "Following on from spinach and cheese muffins, what do the drivers eat before getting into their cars?"
Is that the beginning of a joke?

1242: Not only did I eat a spinach and cheese muffin (see 1230), I really enjoyed it too. And to Klint in London who's just texted in: you can't buy them, they were made with my own hands. Experimental is my middle name. Anyway, we are less than 15 minutes away from second practice. I, for one, am hoping for better things for poor Pedro de la Rosa. The veteran Spaniard hasn't raced in front of his home fans in F1 since 2002 - and had to sit out most of this morning's session with a busted gearbox.

1240: Jenson Button has been inducted into Champions Avenue at the Circuit de Catalunya in recognition of his title win last year. F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone paid a warm tribute to his fellow Briton: "There's not a lot to say except he took too long to do it [win the title]."

1236: As many of you noticed, Karun Chandhok said before FP1 that he would be "amazed" if Hispania test driver Christian Klien went half a second quicker than Bruno Senna. "I highly doubt it," added the Indian. Klien went 0.502 seconds quicker than Senna in FP1.

1230: Oh hello. Welcome back. While you were gone, I ate a spinach and cheese muffin. Yes, a savoury muffin. I live on the edge, it's true.

1036: Folks, time for a cup of tea and a sitdown. I return at 1230 BST for FP2. See you then.

1032: That's only the fourth time all season that Michael Schumacher has finished ahead of Nico Rosberg in any session, and he's done it by four-tenths of a second. Bravo, Mickey Schu. Further back, test driver Christian Klien went five-tenths quicker than Bruno Senna in the Hispania. Karun Chandhok will return for second practice.

1030: Session ends. And the one-two-three is Hamilton-Button-Schumacher, followed by the Red Bulls of Webber and Vettel, Schumacher's team-mate Rosberg in sixth, Kubica and Alonso.

From Pharaoh_Divine on Twitter: "Ferrari's seem to be sandbagging. But great FP1 for Schumacher. Has the upgrade taken something away from Nico?"

1022: Michael Schumacher remains third quickest, 0.582 off the pace set by Lewis Hamilton, and three-tenths of a second ahead of Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.

1020: Rubens Barrichello's Williams has an oil pressure problem, Nico Hulkenberg has stopped at turn six. Not a great session for Williams then.

1015: As Jenson Button's coming out of the pitlane, something flies off his McLaren car. A big bit of what looks like carbon fibre shooting into the air. The car is damaged so he's back in the pits. Williams have got an oil pressure problem. Pedro de la Rosa won't be back out in his BMW-Sauber: that gearbox of his is bust. Muchos problemas.

1012: To celebrate the upcoming Spanish races in Barcelona and Valencia, Sauber have secured sponsorship from... Burger King. Un Whopper, por favor!

1009: If you're still having live feed issues, I have some advice from my Twitter pal spacepenguintim: "I open a new window it is not there, "Force Refresh" the page after 30 secs and it loads OK."

From James in Weymouth, via text: "Am I just being cynical or at this point in time does it look like Ross has made Michael Schumacher a car to suit his driving style more than Nico's?"

Hispania driver Karun Chandhok on 5 live Sports Extra: "I've started to get used to chatting to you on a Friday morning! The team want another option. Christian has got good experience of some good teams so he could bring something. The team is a little bit behind the game, so any information we can get from other people is useful. It's frustrating for me, I want to drive the car as much as possible, but I'm getting used to it. It's not a big problem."

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Barcelona: "Bruno Senna was asked on Thursday if Hispania had brought any updates to Barcelona, to which the Brazilian rookie drily replied: 'Yes, a driver'. The Spanish team have signed former Red Bull racer Christian Klien as a second reserve driver and Karun Chandhok has made way for him during first practice. Team boss Colin Kolles brought in Klien, who has not raced until 2007, because he feels Klien's experience will give Hispania more informed feedback as they develop the car. However, the last time Klien was in F1 he was well off the pace of team-mate David Coulthard. Senna was not happy with the decision saying: 'We need every lap that we can do in the car. We haven't tested before the season and this is not our choice.' Chandhok added: 'I'll be amazed if he goes half a second quicker than Bruno on Friday morning; I highly doubt it. We're both rookies and they want another opinion on the car but mileage is useful for us.' Hispania have also signed Japan's Sakon Yamamoto but the former Super Aguri driver has yet to drive the car."

1000: Half an hour remaining, and it's still a McLaren one-two followed by Michael Schumacher. Fernando Alonso is putting the laps in now, and is up to seventh.

BBC Sport's Andrew Benson in Barcelona: "The Spanish Grand Prix used to be a quiet, low-key race but all that changed with the rise of Fernando Alonso, and now the place is packed out on Saturdays and Sundays with fans cheering on their hero. Many of them come to Barcelona from Alonso's home region, Asturias. Its colours are blue and yellow, which coincidentally are the same colours as the Renault car in which he won the world title in 2005 and 2006. This year, Ferrari have taken the unusual step of producing T-shirts in Asturias blue for sale here, rather than the more familiar red, so the fans can support Alonso at his new team while still wearing their regional colours. It won't harm the company's marketing or bank balance either, obviously."

0957: Pedro de la Rosa's BMW-Sauber has got gearbox problems and the Spaniard is so annoyed about it, he doesn't even want to talk to the BBC's Holly Samos. Cripes.

0956: Another message for those of you still having problems with the live video coverage on the website: we're investigating the problem, but one theory is it could have something to do with very high levels of internet traffic following the UK general election having a detrimental effect on some internet service providers and their servers. If we find out any more, we'll let you know.

0953: Nico Rosberg trundles into the gravel at turn two, as the McLarens take charge at the top, Hamilton quickest ahead of Button. Michael Schumacher is third! He'll be chuffed with that.

Ted Kravitz on BBC 5 live Sports Extra: "Ferrari have made little tweaks to the front wing, they have a new floor that they are being very secretive about, new barge boards and of course their take on the F-Duct and they have moved their mirrors."

0947: It's a Red Bull one-two with Mark Webber on top with a 1:22.011 ahead of Seb Vettel. Kamui Kobayashi is clinging on to third, then Vitaly Petrov, Michael Schumacher and Jenson Button. Christian Klien has done 10 laps in the Hispania, and is 18th, but ahead of Bruno Senna.

BBC Sport's Andrew Benson in Barcelona: "Re 0933: Caroline, I think you'll find volcano plugging is explicitly forbidden under the cost-cutting arrangement agreed for this year during last year's political war... The era of austerity extends to F1, too, you know."

From Galahad on 606: "I'll say it now - I believe that Hispania is potentially quicker than the Lotus or the Virgin. It just hasn't been driven properly."

BBC F1 commentator Jonathan Legard: "One part of the Mercedes upgrades is causing a bit of a stir. Mercedes have mounted their on-board television camera low down on the front wing pillar, where it could influence the airflow and give them an aerodynamic advantage. At least one of the other teams applied to do this earlier in the season and were told by governing body the FIA that it was not allowed."

0940: BMW's Kamui Kobayashi still sitting pretty in P1, ahead of Mark Webber's Red Bull, and Renault's Vitaly Petrov. Exactly half the grid have yet to post flying laps, including both McLarens.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner describes his volcanic ash-disrupted journey home from China on 5 live Sports Extra: "We had a bit of an epic journey back, which included Mark Webber losing his passport. To cut it short, five stops and 42 hours later we made it back to Glasgow, I then called Bernie and he said what are you doing in Scotland? I have been in the office for three hours!"

0933: With a little under an hour remaining, it's a Massa, Kobayashi, Alguersuari one-two-three, so get your money on that for Sunday... No, actually don't. Don't know about you, getting a bit tired of these F1 jetsetting types whinging about their long journeys back from Shanghai. They could probably afford to put a plug in the volcano if they could be bothered.

0929: I hear that although Virgin haven't managed to fit a full-sized fuel tank on Lucas di Grassi's car, they have put some pedals on it... Has someone done that gag already? Sorry, I'm out of touch.

BBC Sport's Andrew Benson in Barcelona: "The Barcelona upgrade battle is almost as intense at the back of the grid as it is at the front. Virgin, Lotus and Hispania all have upgrades here. Lotus technical director Mike Gascoyne is typically bullish about the progress he expects his team to make, predicting a gain of as much as 1.5 seconds a lap, which he hopes will take them clear of arch-rivals Virgin. Richard Branson's team have a new car here for Timo Glock, with aerodynamic modifications as well as the larger fuel tank they need to allow them to get to the end of races without having to slow down. Team-mate Lucas di Grassi has the old car - travel delays caused by the Icelandic volcano meant Virgin ran out of time to build two new ones."

0925: Those of you having problems with the live feed, I'm not ignoring you. I've asked the boffins to look into it.

0921: Pedro de la Rosa taking a little spin there, and the camera rather cruelly pans to a massive banner reading Go Pedro Go (but not like that, it doesn't add). Felipe Massa pops a 1:23.536 up the top of the board.

0915: Where is Adrian Sutil? That's the question I and the kooky German's legions of fans will be asking. Scotland's Paul di Resta is sitting in Sutil's Force India seat for Friday practice. Anyway, we've got a time on the board and it's Timo Glock taking his Virgin-Cosworth round in 1:34.777.

BBC Sport's pit-lane reporter Lee McKenzie: "Sauber driver Pedro de la Rosa has been telling me about the secrets of the Circuit de Catalunya, which is very close to where he grew up. The 39-year-old says his former team McLaren even nicknamed him 'The Barcelona Bullet'. De la Rosa describes the track as a 'neck-breaker' because of its combination of long, quick corners and says he is more desperate than ever to finish a race - something he has only managed to do once this season. He is looking for a good result in Spain in front of his family and friends who are coming to the track. His three daughters will be here supporting him, although he did say that they are not too keen on the noise of the cars!"

0908: Christian Klien is filling in for Karun Chandhok for Hispania this morning. That was always planned, but as it happens, the Indian driver has been suffering from a stomach bug this week so is probably quite grateful for the morning off. He told his Twitter followers he was planning a "real meal for dinner" last night. No news on how that went though.

From domcovkid on Twitter: "Was in China watching Jenson win! Got stuck & only got back last week; just in time to hopefully see another Button victory!"

0900: Off they go then, the Ferraris stripped of their barcodes after the row over subliminal advertising.

0858: Couple of minutes until the green light and the pit lane's looking quite busy. Many eyes will be on Michael Schumacher, who will be giving the upgraded Mercedes a spin. Basically, Mercedes are hoping to have solved their understeer problems, which have no doubt contributed to the German's problems.

From Ian, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, via text: "Looking forward to this weekend, brings back memories when we were there two years ago! Hoping that Jens can win again."

0847: First practice from the Circuit de Catalunya coming up at 0900 BST. That, dear UK users, will be live on your Red Button, the BBC website and 5 live Sports Extra. It's been a bit chilly and damp in Barcelona the last few days, and BBC weatherman and F1 fanatic Ian Fergusson tells me "it looks dry for FP1 at least, with nothing showing on rainfall radar and hints of some brighter weather at times despite the noticeably cool feel to things."

From mgzs180 on Twitter: "Off with the election and on with the cars."

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Barcelona: "After a three-week break, delayed by, well, delays getting home from the last grand prix in China, Formula 1 has returned to Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix. A chance to modify the cars and kit them out with gizmos - keep an eye out for Mercedes's innovative split air inlets behind the drivers' seat - means all the teams have arrived in Barcelona eager to find out just how effective their upgrades are. The Circuit de Catalunya's status as a regular testing venue means the teams have mountains of data to make comparisons - and, as Lewis Hamilton glumly pointed out, February's grey and gloomy pre-season weather is back too."

0839: Yes, this is my slightly belated season debut on F1, so expect plenty of references to refuelling, Kimi Raikkonen, Kers, and Toyota. And plenty of questions like: who's this Schumacher fella then? He must have a lot of money behind him...

0830: Oh hello. Sorry I'm a bit late. Have I missed much?

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see also
Spanish Grand Prix practice results
24 Feb 10 |  Results
Spanish Grand Prix practice photos
07 May 10 |  Formula 1
Red Bull duo fastest in Barcelona
07 May 10 |  Formula 1
Friday's F1 gossip column
07 May 10 |  Formula 1
Schumacher not fazed by problems
06 May 10 |  Formula 1
Hamilton hails salvaged title bid
06 May 10 |  Formula 1
McLaren target front row in Spain
05 May 10 |  Formula 1
Kubica wary of rivals' upgrades
04 May 10 |  Formula 1
Volcano delay hits Virgin's plans
03 May 10 |  Formula 1

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