Apr.24 (GMM) It was a hot start to Bahrain grand prix action on Friday, as championship leader Jenson Button went fifth fastest following an early gearbox glitch.
The Briton ultimately returned from the pits to the Sakhir layout to complete a short programme of 15 laps, nearly eight tenths slower than the leading pace of world champion Lewis Hamilton.
The BMWs, having tested here in the winter, were a promising second and third quickest, but Ferrari (8th and 10th) and Toyota (15th and 17th) also attended the February test.
Kimi Raikkonen had an early scare after losing control of his Ferrari and narrowly avoiding a barrier.
The Red Bulls finished first and second in the Chinese rain less than a week ago, but Sebastian Vettel was just 12th fastest after the opening 90 minutes of Bahrain practice.
Rookie Sebastien Buemi ended his session at the side of the track, after his Toro Rosso lost power following an awkward hit over a high kerb.
The entire field was covered by less than two seconds, with Fernando Alonso 1.7 seconds off Hamilton's pace, and eighteenth on the timing sheet.