Lotus Renault GP drivers Nick Heidfeld and Vitaly Petrov ran out on track on a Thursday for the only occasion at a Grand Prix this year, sampling Pirelli’s super soft compound for the first time this season.
James Allison, Technical Director - Technical programme notes:
- In FP1 we ran exclusively with the soft tyre and experienced the rapid track evolution characteristic of Monaco.
- In FP2 we used the super soft for the first time since winter testing, including running it at representative race fuel loads.
What we learned today:
- We learn that the Pirelli super soft tyre is over a second faster than the soft tyre over its fastest lap and it appears to have reasonable durability too.
- Neither driver got a clean lap on super soft tyres which makes our leaderboard position look worse than normal. However, notwithstanding this I had expected to be more competitive here than at other circuits. So we have some work to do to wriggle up the grid on Saturday.
- Both drivers reported understeer and a sluggish change of direction, so we will look at changing the car to deal with this without trading off mechanical grip in the slow speed corners as a consequence.
- Vitaly’s moment at the end of FP2 broke the front wing and damaged the right hand side suspension, but this will be straightforward to fix for Saturday.
Nick Heidfeld, R31-04
Free practice 1: P11, 1:18.928, 19 laps
Free practice 2: P10, 1:17.126, 38 laps
“First and foremost, it’s a lot of fun driving here in Monaco. Of course, as drivers we all have to deal with the traffic – 24 cars on such a tight circuit makes it a challenge for all of us – and we saw that when I ran on the super soft as I didn’t get a clean lap. It’s been interesting to be on different tyres – the softs and the supersofts. So, we will definitely be able to learn some things about our performance using those and that’s what today is all about. On the supersoft tyres, the balance was not as good as I would have hoped but we will look into all aspects of both today’s sessions and push on come Saturday”
Vitaly Petrov, R31-03
Free practice 1: P10, 1:18.733, 16 laps
Free practice 2: P11, 1:17.337, 35 laps
“We got pretty much all we wanted to get from our programme today. As we all know, this circuit is a different one and unique for us to drive on so it has been particularly useful to try things out. I managed to get practice on both the soft tyres and the supersoft, so we will be able to look at the data and see what how these tyres are performing on the track. I had an incident at the end of second session, which involved a little bit of oversteer followed by some understeer and I lost control. Generally, I think we are quite pleased with what we took out of today and we are looking forward to the weekend.”