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Friday analysis - surviving a very steep learning curve 30 Oct 2009

Romain Grosjean (FRA) Renault R29 in the second practice session 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Practice Day, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Friday, 30 October 2009 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/24 in the second practice session.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Practice Day, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Friday, 30 October 2009 Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Toyota TF109 in the second practice session. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Practice Day, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Friday, 30 October 2009 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari F60 in the second practice session.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Practice Day, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Friday, 30 October 2009 Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1 VJM02 in the second practice session 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Practice Day, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Friday, 30 October 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 Dhabi’s 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…

McLaren
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.

Brawn
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 Brawn’s performance, though the balance could be a little better. Barrichello said he was happy with his car’s balance, but was not as quick as his champion team mate.

Red Bull
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 engine’s reliability and felt that Red Bull are looking quite good. Webber said he had a productive day which included an engine change between sessions.

Toyota
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.

Toro Rosso
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.

Williams
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.

Ferrari
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.

Force India
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.

BMW Sauber
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 wasn’t yet happy with his F1.09’s set-up and balance. Kubica was just starting his set-up work and tyre evaluation in the afternoon when his engine lunched itself.

Renault
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.