Kubica in P3 while Petrov learns the track

F1 Grand Prix, GP Japan, Circuit Suzukajp

Robert Kubica has put in another bright performance in his Renault after setting the third fastest time in both of today's free practice sessions. Vitaly Petrov has been lapping to try to feel comfortable in the car and learn the track as good as possible.

Robert Kubica, R30-05:
Free Practice 1: P3, 1:33.129, 23 laps
Free Practice 2: P3, 1:32.200, 32 laps

"It’s nice to be in P3 in both sessions, but we have to remember that this is only free practice. We need to wait and see what the weather will bring us tomorrow and try to do our best in all conditions. The forecast is saying there will be quite a lot of rain, so it was important to do a lot of running today and complete all our evaluation ahead of the race, which looks like it might be dry. If it is wet tomorrow, then today will have been our only chance to drive on dry tyres before the race."

Vitaly Petrov, R30-04:
Free Practice 1: P15, 1.34.373, 24 laps
Free Practice 2: P7, 1:32.703, 32 laps

"I was quite satisfied with my day because we found a good balance with the car and this is really important for this circuit. In the morning we tried not to take too many risks and do normal runs to help me learn the circuit. In the second free practice we just tried to push a bit more to understand the car and the set-up. We changed a lot and the car feels much better so the team did a good job. But let’s wait and see what happens tomorrow because I think it will be a very tough day."

Technical Debrief with Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer:

What were the track conditions like today? The track was fine. It’s quite high grip here so there were not too many complaints from the drivers. The wind picked up in the second session, which gave us a little bit of trouble and made the car a bit more difficult to drive, but no real dramas.

What were the main objectives of the day? With the weather looking very wet for tomorrow, the main objective was to have a really good look at the tyres because we don’t expect we will get a chance to do any dry running tomorrow morning. So we spent a bit longer than normal evaluating the tyres in the second session.

How is the general car balance? With Robert’s car we are struggling with a little bit of inconsistency, which I’m sure we can work on over night. Vitaly was suffering with some understeer this morning, but his engineers made several changes between the two sessions and improved the car a lot.

How did Vitaly’s learning of the circuit go today? I think he did a good job. He finished up about half a second away from Robert and we can expect him to close that gap a bit more tomorrow.