Renault had a rather difficult day with Vitaly Petrov having to learn the track mainly in FP1, while Robert Kubica was sidelined for most of FP2 due to a hydraulic problem. Chief race engineer Alan Permane however doesn't believe it will pose much problems.
Robert Kubica, R30-05
Free Practice 1: P9, 1:55.672, 11 laps
Free Practice 2: P9, 1:48.855, 15 laps
Robert: It was a more difficult Friday than usual because we had a problem with the hydraulics during the second session, when the track was at its best, so I only completed about five clean laps today. That makes it very difficult to say where we stand relative to the competition. The track conditions were changing a lot throughout the day, too, and it was clear to see that the new sections of tarmac took a long time to dry up.
Vitaly Petrov, R30-04
Free Practice 1: P10, 1.55.914, 20 laps
Free Practice 2: P14, 1:49.608, 30 laps
Vitaly: Today was a learning day for me and it was made even more complicated by the fact that the circuit was wet this morning. I worked hard on adapting my style to suit this circuit and the car, and we started looking at the set-up during the second session. It is hard to find a comfortable balance here but if we can continue in the same direction overnight, I don’t think it will be too bad. I made a mistake on my quickest lap so I know there is more performance to come, and my target will be to get into the top ten tomorrow.Technical Debrief with Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer:
What were conditions like today? It was pretty wet during the first session so while Vitaly spent some time learning the circuit and achieving as much as he could in the conditions, with Robert we focused on checking f-duct settings and making sure the car was working okay. We chose to run Vitaly without the f-duct in the FP1, just to make his life as simple as possible for his first practice session at this circuit.
The cars seemed quite a long way down the timesheets today. Is that a worry? Robert lost most of the second session with a hydraulic leak, and wasn’t able to run a new set of soft tyres to set a time – he only went out for a couple of laps at the end just to check the car. As for Vitaly, he’s still learning the circuit and finding his optimum braking points, so we know there’s a lot more time to come from him. It doesn’t look fantastic on the timesheets today, but I’m confident we’ll be in our normal place tomorrow.
The circuit has been resurfaced in places today. Has that made a big difference? The drivers haven’t been complaining about the bumps at all today. We know that our car rides them reasonably well, but they don’t appear to be the issue that they have been for the last two years.
Do today’s disruptions change your plans for tomorrow? Not really. Our limited data from today indicates that the softer compound will be the quicker qualifying tyre, so we will simply try to run our normal programme, have a trouble-free session with both cars, and prepare thoroughly for qualifying.