Although believed to be running lighter than most others during practice, Rosberg’s pace looks to point to a good weekend for Williams, who will be looking to get as many points as possible after failing to convert their pace into strong results at the previous three races.
However, Rosberg said he believed the field will return to Malaysia form, with the Brawns quickest, followed by, “Toyota, then us and Red Bull.”
Fernando Alonso spent much of both sessions at the bottom of the table, but right at the end of the final session the Spaniard hammered home a quick time, good enough for second.
Toyota’s Jarno Trulli rounded out the top three in second practice, followed by the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber respectively, then Brawn’s Jenson Button, and Adrian Sutil for Force India.
The latter team are running a much-updated car this weekend, which includes a rear diffuser similar to the fully-fledged double-deck efforts sported by Brawn, Toyota and Williams, which is already reaping significant benefits.
Lewis Hamilton topped the morning time sheet with the resurgent McLaren, but spent session two on longer runs to test out race pace for Sunday. He finished second practice in 11th.
The two Ferraris of Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen looked to be handling like a bag of spanners all day. Both cars struggled for grip, managing a lowly 16th and 18th.
Ferrari are expecting another tough weekend, so it looks highly unlikely that Massa will take a third consecutive win at a circuit where he’s usually so very strong.
Admittedly test sessions don’t reveal a lot to the outside world, but hey, it’s at least something to talk about on a Friday afternoon if you’re not outside enjoying the sun. Bahrain looks a bit chilly by comparison…