Bridgestone's super soft tyre took Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team driver Nico Rosberg to the fastest time as the 2010 Formula One season got underway in searing temperatures at the new configuration Sakhir circuit for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Rosberg set a time of 1m 55.409secs
in the afternoon practice session, leaving him fastest from Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton and his team-mate, returning multiple champion, Michael Schumacher
. Force India driver Adrian Sutil was fastest in the morning practice session, using the medium compound Bridgestone Potenza.
Q&A with Hirohide Hamashima - Bridgestone Director of Motorsport Tyre Development
What was significant about today's running?
"Today was the first time that teams have run in hot weather with the 2010 Bridgestone Potenza tyres. In addition, this was the first time that teams have run on the new configuration Sakhir circuit. This is quite a severe circuit so it gives our tyres a good test, especially in these hot temperatures. After the limited pre-season testing there is still much to learn and we have seen a variety of tyre usage across the field. Significantly this was the first time we've seen the new teams at a Grand Prix. For data collection the teams are approaching Friday practice differently this season as there are big differences in fuel loads to evaluate and there are fewer tyres available to use. The difference in fuel loads and the length of stint being undertaken on new or old tyres makes it difficult to interpret the results without all the data, and this makes practice very interesting indeed."
How do you expect this allocation to work over the weekend?
"It is difficult to say from the data we have seen so far as the track is very green and we predict a lot of circuit improvement over the weekend. Even today we saw a significant reduction in graining and degradation as the circuit improved. The medium compound was used for the majority of running today with fewer laps undertaken on the super soft compound. From today's running there is not much difference between the two compounds however this could change with further track and car set-up improvements tomorrow."