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Massa clocks best time in Bahrain practice

Latest update : 2008-04-05

Brazil's Felipe Massa gave Ferrari the fastest run in Friday's first practice session before Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix. Briton Lewis Hamilton crashed his McLaren at 180kph into a tyre wall.

Brazilian Felipe Massa is intent on opening his bid for this year's world championship with a win in Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix after clocking the fastest time in Friday's practice sessions.
  
The 26-year-old topped the times for Ferrari as rival and championship leader Lewis Hamilton crashed out in the second practice.
  
"I like the track, I always go very well here," Massa told reporters after stepping from his car. "Hopefully I can say the same thing on Sunday. I love the track. I have good memories.
  
"I think looking that I still have zero points, a podium will definitely be a good result, but sure if we can fight for a win and bring 10 points home it will be better. Let's just get the best weekend we can."
  
He added: "I did a very good lap. For sure it doesn't represent everything because Kimi (teammate Raikkonen) was doing one thing and I was doing another thing, but I did a very good lap."
  
Massa clocked a best time of one minute and 31.420 seconds to finish nearly a second quicker than Raikkonen in the afternoon.
  
Massa does not believe that Ferrari will have a performance advantage over McLaren despite having tested in Bahrain for six days during the winter.
  
"It's difficult to imagine," he said. "It was different days, the track was dirty today. It was the first day and for the first day it is not so bad, so it is very difficult to make a comparison.
  
"The car now is better than the car this winter, let's wait and see on Sunday if we did a good job or not."
  
Massa, whose failure to score a point for Ferrari in the opening two races raised speculation about his future with the Italian outfit, dominated both sessions on the desert track ahead of Raikkonen.
  
Hamilton ended the afternoon session on the back of a scooter after his 180kph shunt into a tyre wall with less than 10 minutes left as he battled to improve his time and stay on terms with the Ferrari men.
  
The 23-year-old Briton lost control of his McLaren at turn six as the car snapped sideways sending him skidding across the circuit and the sand-gravel run-off area into the barriers.
  
The car bounced back off the tyre wall with its two right-sided tyres hanging on by the tethers. Hamilton, who was lying fourth, was able to step from the cockpit.
  
"I made a mistake. I got caught out by the kerb and it spun me around. That kerb it is quite spiteful," said Hamilton.
  
"If you hit the wrong part of it is spits you off. That barrier is quite close to the side of the track. That's racing. It won't happen again."
  
Hamilton's incident was not the end of the drama with Renault's two-time world champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso and Force India's German Adrian Sutil clashing in the dying minutes.
  
Alonso tried to dart down the inside of the German at turn one, but Sutil closed the door on the Spaniard. The duo collided but both were able to continue.
  
World champion Raikkonen did have one brief excursion off the circuit in the opening session which cost him track time, but he is close enough to Massa to be confident of following up his victory in Kuala Lumpur.
  
Raikkonen is second in the championship on countback to BMW's Nick Heidfeld and just three points behind leader Hamilton whose mechanics face a repair job on the battered car.
  
Hamilton's McLaren team-mate Heikki Kovalainen was third fastest, but more than 1.3 seconds slower than the searing pace set by Massa.
  
Poland's Robert Kubica was fifth quickest for BMW with Nico Rosberg of Germany sixth in the Toyota powered Williams.

Date created : 2008-04-04

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