The pace of the Red Bull Racing RB6 might be 'frightening', according to Mercedes Grand Prix reserve driver Nick Heidfeld [see separate story – click here
], but it unfortunately does not yet have the reliability to match, judging by opening practice for the F1 2010 curtain-raising Bahrain Grand Prix at Sakhir.
With the track still necessarily 'green' to begin with, most teams elected to wait until the afternoon session to conduct the majority of their running – but in the case of Mark Webber at least, that running was limited to just twelve laps as gearbox issues intervened, leaving the Australian an unrepresentative and frustrated 17th on the timing screens, and 13th overall based upon his FP1 effort.
“Not such a good day and not enough mileage,” the 33-year-old New South Wales native concluded. “We missed out a bit this afternoon; I had a gearbox problem, so the team made a precautionary stop with the car which ended FP2 early.
“We'll have to regroup and get what we can out of today, and we'll be focusing on qualifying in tomorrow's practice. We still learnt some stuff today, and Seb [Vettel – team-mate] looked at the tyres. You can already see that it's going to be bloody competitive this year – it's going to be a good fight out there.”
Vettel enjoyed a less troubled day, but still the 22-year-old German lost time due to brake problems, leaving the sport's youngest-ever grand prix-winner lamenting Red Bull's less-than flawless preparations, well aware that early reliability and points can in the final reckoning make a vital difference to the overall picture.
“Unfortunately we didn't get a lot of running today,” the man from Heppenheim rued. “The track was still green this morning, so everyone was just checking their cars. In second practice I had to have the brakes changed and Mark couldn't do the whole session, so it wasn't ideal.
“I would have liked more track time, but it's not Christmas and we're not given things for free. We have a lot of work to do, but we know where we need to improve, so we will work on that.”