Nick and Vitaly began their Chinese quest today as free practice got underway at the Shanghai International Circuit. Unfortunately, Nick spun once in each session which puts the team a bit on the backfoot. Vitaly Petrov was able to complete his program without problems.
Alan Permane, Chief Engineer:
- A fairly typical Friday session for us today – running hard tyres in the first practice session, and both hards and softs in the second, some long running with both cars on high fuel.
- Very unusual for Nick to have two incidents like that, which put us back a bit but we’ll recover from that tomorrow.
- There was a little too much understeer on Vitaly’s car in the morning and oversteer on Nick’s car so we had some set-up work to do on both cars and improved things throughout the day.
- Tyres are performing relatively well, somewhere between the degradation of Melbourne and Malaysia.
- Track was dusty and dirty, particularly off line, but we expect it to clear up over the weekend.
Nick Heidfeld, R31-01:
Free practice 1: P5, 1:40.987, 5 laps
Free practice 2: P8, 1.38.805, 26 laps
“Today obviously wasn’t what we wanted, after I spun off in the first session and then again in the second which were both my fault. I hope it’s a good omen because in Malaysia we also didn’t have many laps on the Friday and then we had a good result. Given that I only had five laps in the first session, it was surprising how fast I was, we were both in the top 10. There’s still some more in the car but the gap is a bit bigger than we would have hoped for. As expected, we achieved quicker lap times when using the softs over the hards, and it was good that we managed to use both.”
Vitaly Petrov, R31-04:
Free practice 1: P9, 1:41.231, 16 laps
Free practice 2: P9, 1.38.859, 31 laps
“We managed to run the whole way through both sessions, and then we were able to work on some directions for set-up so we’re quite happy with that. I think we need to be happy with today, of course not on the pace and the lap time as we can be quite a bit quicker. What is good is that we don’t have any mechanical problems, we can still continue to work and push hard. The option tyres were a big improvement, as usual, with much more grip.”