It is becoming increasingly clear that Ferrari, BMW and Toyota are leading the pack, closely followed by Renault and Red Bull. Where reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton's team fits in, however, remains a crucial question.

As the wick of the 2009 pre-season burns down, one nagging suspicion remains: the new McLaren does not seem quick.

It is becoming increasingly clear that Ferrari, BMW and Toyota are leading the pack, closely followed by Renault and Red Bull. Where reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton's team fits in, however, remains a crucial question.

Nick Heidfeld, quickest at Barcelona on Monday and confident his BMW-Sauber is on track to being a title contender, believes the Mercedes-powered team will bounce back.

"Where they are now, they do not belong," the German said, presumably referring to Heikki Kovalainen's place on Monday at the very bottom of the timesheets.

"Even if they are having problems now, they will get over them," Heidfeld is quoted as saying by Auto Motor und Sport.

Jarno Trulli, another driver looking strong at the wheel of his 2009 car, agrees that McLaren does not belong at the rear of the field.

"They are a very experienced team who can bounce back at any time," the Toyota driver told reporters. "So as soon as they understand what is wrong, what is right, and which direction they can take, I am sure they will be back."

Heidfeld and Trulli, like most of the F1 world, was also impressed with the form of the new Brawn GP car on Monday, after Jenson Button topped the morning session and raced to the fourth best time of the day.

"No matter how they did the time, it was good," Heidfeld said, addressing suggestions the BGP001 was not carrying much fuel.

Trulli added: "I was impressed by the Brawn, which was straight away looking well, which is positive for formula one, everybody, and I am happy for the team and everyone there as they have had such a difficult time.

 

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