Friday analysis - drivers discover Fuji in the dry 10 Oct 2008
Back to the normal daytime schedule of two hour and a half sessions, the Formula One drivers all worked through their tyre evaluation and set-up programmes in a dry track in warm weather conditions which were a stark contrast to last years at the Fuji Speedway. Finding a decent compromise between terminal speed on the long pit straight and grip round the rest of the lap posed the usual conundrum for the race engineers.
Timo Glock, 1m 20.823s, P18/1m 18.383s, P1
Jarno Trulli, 1m 20.657s, P15/1m 18.863s, P10
On his first run at Toyotas home track Glock reported that he had a good day for the team. Trulli was on a different programme amassing data, and was also happy with his progress.
Fernando Alonso, 1m 19.473s, P5/1m 18.425s, P2
Nelson Piquet, 1m 19.743s, P6/1m 18.888s, P12
Once again Renault looked strong, though it is always difficult to draw firm conclusions on a Friday. Alonso had a trouble-free day and did plenty of laps (71 in total), while Piquet quickly familiarised himself with another new track.
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 18.910s, P1/1m 18.463s, P3
Heikki Kovalainen, 1m 19.279s, P3/1m 18.803s, P9
Hamilton had no complaints about his day, as he was immediately on the pace and found a good balance straight away. His long runs were strong, and he is feeling confident. Kovalainen had no problems either and reported good progress on set-up in the afternoon.
Felipe Massa, 1m 19.063s, P2/1m 18.491s, P4
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 19.399s, P4/1m 18.725s, P5
Massa reported good balance on his F2008, both on the first timed lap and over a distance. He felt he could have been faster but for some traffic on his final lap on the softer Bridgestone tyre. Raikkonen was consistently fast in the first sector and also liked his cars balance, but said there was work to be done to fine tune the handling. He said he too should have gone quicker, but locked a wheel on his best lap.
Mark Webber, 1m 20.620s, P13/1m 18.734s, P6
David Coulthard, 1m 20.905s, P19/1m 19.327s, P17
Webber said he had a good day, but Coulthard reported low grip in the last sector of the lap and resultant oversteer.
Kazuki Nakajima, 1m 20.217s, P10/1m 18.734s, P7
Nico Rosberg, 1m 20.350s, P12/1m 18.981s, P13
On his home ground, Nakajima tried out various set-ups and reported positive progress. Rosberg said it would be more difficult for Williams here than it was in Singapore as he struggled with poor balance and lack of rear-end grip.
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 20.121s, P7/1m 18.761s, P8
Sebastien Bourdais, 1m 20.182s, P9/1m 19.040s, P14
Vettel missed out on his planned long runs in the afternoon due to an hydraulic problem, but was pleased with his STR3s balance and finished the day feeling optimistic. Bourdais thought he had things about right with tyre choice and set-up by the end of his first day running any kind of car in Japan.
Robert Kubica, 1m 20.160s, P8/1m 18.865s, P11
Nick Heidfeld, 1m 20.628s, P14/1m 19.894s, P19
Though the times did not look impressive, it was another normal Friday for Kubica, who worked on set-up in the morning and tyre choice in the afternoon. Heidfeld, however, was not happy with the balance of his F1.08, which was sliding around a lot. He spun in the morning, and then had some minor technical hitches with a hydraulic alarm in the afternoon.
Rubens Barrichello, 1m 20.753s, P16/1m 19.258s, P15
Jenson Button, 1m 20.769s, P17/1m 19.999s, P20
Racing at home, Honda had little to be cheerful about as Glock upstaged them for Toyota. Barrichello reported reasonable balance on new tyres, but Button struggled for that most of the day and said he had little grip on new rubber.
Adrian Sutil, 1m 20.288s, P11/1m 19.287s, P16
Giancarlo Fisichella, 1m 21.014s, P20/1m 19.482s, P18
Sutil was fast on a problem free day for Force India, but said he encountered traffic on his best lap of the afternoon. Fisichella struggled with oversteer and getting his tyres to work well.