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Despite the right-rear suspension failure that eliminated him from qualifying after just two laps yesterday, let's not forget Kimi Raikkonen's parting shot as he left the Bahrain paddock: "Although it is far from ideal to start from the back of the grid, there are overtaking opportunities at this track, and I have done this before and still achieved good results."
And so he has. Indeed, it is for his 'never say die' approach that, as far as many F1 fans are concerned, he was the 'moral' World Champion last season, having never given up the fight.
Anyway, as the cars line up on the grid, it's still quite windy, which, of course, means sand on the track. The air temperature is 21 degrees C, while the track temperature is 31 degrees.
Despite the rinky-dinky new qualifying format, we still have the question mark as to fuel strategy, and as has been the case in recent seasons, we will have to wait until the first fuel stops to see who is doing what.
The only last minute drama is that Tiago Monteiro is starting from the pitlane, having encountered a driveshaft problem which meant transferring to the spare car.
The grid clears, and we are just moments away from the start of the 2006 Formula One World Championship, a season that promises so very much.
As the complete the warm-up lap, the race stewards reveal that Yuji Ide is 'under investigation'.
They form up on the grid, the two Ferraris side-by-side.
Massa holds off Alonso, as Michael leads the field into the first corner. At turn four however, the Spaniard gets past the second Ferrari.
Further back, Raikkonen is up to fifteenth, while Rosberg has spun. Both Toyotas are fighting one another.
At the end of the first lap, it's Michael, from Alonso (1.4s), followed by Massa, Montoya, Barrichello, Button, Fisichella and Webber. Rosberg pits for a new front wing, Albers also pits. Nick Heidfeld is back in nineteenth.
Button, who lost ground at the start, is all over Barrichello. He attempts to go around the outside of the Brazilian, but Rubens is having none of it.
Alonso goes quickest (34.733), but Michael hits back by going quickest in the first sector. Meanwhile, Raikkonen is up to thirteenth.
Michael goes quickest (34.313), as Klien passes Fisichella to take seventh, and Button passes Barrichello with a brave move at the end of the main straight.
Liuzzi passes Coulthard with ease, so much for the legality of the V10 powered STR1 - then again it could be running lighter!
After 5 laps, Michael leads Alonso by 2s, with Massa third, ahead of Montoya, Button, Barrichello, Klien, Fisichella, Webber and Villeneuve. Raikkonen is eleventh.
Fastest through the speed-trap is Liuzzi at 190.76 mph. Button is second quickest, ahead of Heidfeld.
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