Friday analysis - surviving a very steep learning curve 30 Oct 2009
A very dirty track and surface temperatures that reached 47 degrees Celsius made life interesting for all the drivers as practice got underway at 1300 hours on Friday at Abu Dhabis all-new Yas Marina Circuit, in readiness for Formula One's first day/night race. It was cooler in the second session - around 35 degrees track temperature when it began at 1700, the same time as the race will start on Sunday. We take a team-by-team look at progress
Heikki Kovalainen, 1m 45.123s, P12/1m 41.307s, P1
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 43.939s, P1/1m 41.504s, P2
Kovalainen had a brake problem in the morning but was very happy with the way his MP4-24 went in the evening, and with his own performance. He said that KERS is worth between three and fourth-tenths of a second a lap here. Hamilton said his car was going better than it has all season, and is in very confident frame of mind.
Jenson Button, 1m 44.035s, P2/1m 41.541s, P3
Rubens Barrichello, 1m 44.207s, P4/1m 1m 41.831s, P8
Button said he really liked the track and generally he was pleased with his Brawns performance, though the balance could be a little better. Barrichello said he was happy with his cars balance, but was not as quick as his champion team mate.
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 44.153s, P3/1m 1m 41.591s, P4
Mark Webber, 1m 44.805s, P8/1m 41.684s, P7
Vettel was very pleased with his Renault engines reliability and felt that Red Bull are looking quite good. Webber said he had a productive day which included an engine change between sessions.
Kamui Kobayashi, 1m 46.364s, P19/1m 41.636s, P5
Jarno Trulli, 1m 44.958s, P10/1m 42.409s, P14
Kobayashi was a revelation again in the afternoon, and generally had a trouble-free day. Trulli struggled for grip in the morning, like everyone else, but said things were better in the afternoon.
Sebastien Buemi, 1m 44.687s, P6/1m 41.683s, P6
Jaime Alguersuari 1m 44.955s, P9/1m 43.022s, P19
Buemi was yet again in great form, with sixth fastest times in both sessions. He said his STR4 was tricky in the morning when the track was still green, but got a lot better in the afternoon even though he found it quite hard to get the tyres working. Alguersuari was quick in the morning but had a small but undisclosed technical problem in the afternoon.
Nico Rosberg, 1m 45.649s, P13/1m 41.931s, P9
Kazuki Nakajima, 1m 45.679s, P14/1m 42.245s, P12
Rosberg said that tyre choice was still a bit of a conundrum, but that he had found a good direction for set-up for Saturday, especially on the mechanical side. Nakajima agreed.
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 45.704s, P15/1m 41.987s, P10
Giancarlo Fisichella, 1m 46.267s, P18/1m 42.932s, P17
Raikkonen said his F60 was nice to drive but lacked grip, simple as that. Fisichella had the same thing and grained his tyres badly in the first session.
Adrian Sutil, 1m 44.688s, P7/1m 42.180s, P11
Tonio Liuzzi 1m 46.239s, P17/1m 42.530s, P15
Sutil had no major problems bar one brake-locking off-track excursion, but Liuzzi had brake and gear ratio issues all day.
Robert Kubica, 1m 44.988s, P11/1m 43.708s, P20
Nick Heidfeld, 1m 44.667s, P5/1m 42.278s, P13
Heidfeld said he really liked the track but wasnt yet happy with his F1.09s set-up and balance. Kubica was just starting his set-up work and tyre evaluation in the afternoon when his engine lunched itself.
Fernando Alonso, 1m 45.865s, P16/1m 42.782s, P16
Romain Grosjean, 1m 46.411s, P20/1m 43.021s, P18
Alonso spent the day focused on getting good grip and traction in the slow-speed corners and said he has a direction to find performance on Saturday. Grosjean echoed his sentiments.