Bahrain GP: Bourdais outpaces Vettel
Sebastien Bourdais was relieved to suffer no repeat of the Friday dramas that disrupted his preparations at each of the first two grands prix. Mechanical problems cost the French rookie vital track time in both Australia and Malaysia, but he took advantage of a trouble-free opening day in Bahrain to set the ninth fastest time.
“I got into a good groove this morning with no real problems and we carried on the same way this afternoon,” he related.
“It meant I got quite a bit of running done which is a ‘first’ for a Friday this season for me. So I’m happy about that.”
Bourdais expressed measured enthusiasm for the Sakhir track, though he admitted F1 cars, with their grooved tires, were ill at ease in the hairpins.
“This is my first time at this track and I think it’s quite nice, although the three slow corners are extremely slow and that does not seem to suit these cars,” he said.
“The track surface was actually in pretty good shape compared to what I had been expecting in terms of dirt and sand.
“They cleaned it very well and since the wind died down it greatly helped the situation.
“The wind is supposed to pick up again for tomorrow and Sunday so it could be a bit of an adventure into the unknown every time we go out.”
Team-mate Sebastian Vettel, who has generally outpaced Bourdais so far this year, ended the day an unaccustomed 20th on the timesheet behind only the Super Aguris.
The young German admitted he was baffled by his car’s lack of grip.
“It was a tough day,” he said.
“On a track that does not see much running during the year, there is never much grip at first.
“I found it extremely difficult to drive in the morning and while the afternoon was a bit better, we are still a long way off where we want to be.
“To sum it up, we lacked grip and were too slow.
“Honestly, I am not sure which way to go to improve, but I am sure the situation will change after we study all the data before starting again tomorrow morning.”