Nico Hulkenberg shone in free practice on Friday for Williams ahead of this Sunday's F1 2010 opener in Bahrain and finished proceedings sixth overall on the combined timesheets.

Hulkenberg began by setting the twelfth best time in the opening session, a 1m 57.894s. He then improved in FP2 and ended proceedings having completed 46 laps in total, his best effort a 1m 56.501s.

"It's still very difficult to form a picture of where everyone is at competitively, but I am satisfied that we had a relatively good day today and managed to compete everything we set out to do," The Hulk said. "The ambition remains the same though, to make sure we get through to Q3 and to finish the weekend with some points."

Hulkenberg's team-mate Rubens Barrichello however only managed 11 laps in the first session and consequently was around a second slower than his rookie team-mate, on a 1m 58.782s.

Although the Brazilian completed more tours in FP2 - and finished the day with 31 on the board, he was still quite a bit off the sister car. Indeed Rubens' best was a 1m 57.452s, which left him 13th in the second session and only 16th on the combined times.

"Because we had some minor issues in the garage today, we didn't get as much track time as we wanted," Barrichello explained, "We didn't manage to finish our programme, but I am confident tomorrow will be a better day and we will catch up on the lost time."

Willliams technical director, Sam Michael meanwhile is also hopeful that the Grove-based outfit can make further progress on Saturday.

"It was a very busy day with the usual teething problems. We lost some track time due to an electrics problem in the garage in the morning and we also had minor technical issues to resolve on the cars. We then had a much more productive afternoon looking at race set-ups and qualifying preparation.

"We have more work to do, but nothing that looks unachievable. It has been a marathon effort from everyone at Williams and Cosworth to get us to this stage and soon the hard work will start to pay off," he concluded.


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