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Friday analysis - cool running leaves more questions than answers 10 Jul 2009

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/24.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, German Grand Prix, Practice Day, Nurburgring, Germany, Friday, 10 July 2009 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, German Grand Prix, Practice Day, Nurburgring, Germany, Friday, 10 July 2009 Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Brawn Grand Prix BGP 001.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, German Grand Prix, Practice Day, Nurburgring, Germany, Friday, 10 July 2009 Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Force India F1 VJM02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, German Grand Prix, Practice Day, Nurburgring, Germany, Friday, 10 July 2009 Jarno Trulli (ITA) Toyota.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, German Grand Prix, Practice Day, Nurburgring, Germany, Friday, 10 July 2009

As the ambient temperature refused to climb above 12 degrees Celsius, and the track temperature never exceeded 22, teams worked hard during Friday’s opening practice sessions to make their cars operate reasonably not just on Bridgestone’s super soft option tyre, but also on the medium prime. Rain at the start of the afternoon session did not help their cause. We take a team-by-team look at progress…

McLaren
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 34.483s P13/1m 32.149s P1
Heikki Kovalainen, 1m 34.893s P18/1m 33.724s P17

Hamilton used some new aero parts intended initially for Hungary but pushed through after 36-hour non-stop shifts. These included a new front wing, which he said helped to push the car in the right direction. There was only one set of the new bodywork available, and Kovalainen said he struggled for grip with his standard configuration MP4-24.

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 33.909s P8/1m 32.331s P2
Mark Webber, 1m 33.082s P1/1m 32.480s P4

Webber dominated the morning session as Vettel lost time with an electronics problem, but the positions were reversed in the afternoon. Vettel was grateful for a mainly dry track in the afternoon which minimised his lost time, and Webber said he’d had a very straightforward day. Both sounded very confident.

Brawn GP
Jenson Button, 1m 33.463s P2/1m 32.369s P3
Rubens Barrichello, 1m 34.227s P12/1m 32.664s P7

Button reported that there was still room for improvement at Brawn, but said overall he thought he’d had a pretty good start to his weekend. Barrichello said he felt he had some way still to go on set-up on his BGP001. The team are running some new parts that they took off the cars at Silverstone after running into their tyre temperature problem there.

Toyota
Jarno Trulli, 1m 33.795s P4/1m 32.511s P5
Timo Glock, 1m 34.911s P19/1m 33.172s P15

Trulli was happy with the way his day went as he proved a revised rear wing and other aero modifications, but Glock said he struggled in the morning, improved at the start of the afternoon session, but was again scratching his head by the end if it.

Force India
Adrian Sutil, 1m 35.092s P20/1m 32.585s P6
Giancarlo Fisichella, 1m 33.839s P5/1m 38.877s P20

Sutil lost time with a steering problem in the morning but was gratified to be close to the pace with sixth in the afternoon. Fisichella was fifth in the morning, but crashed early in the afternoon session on a track that was still greasy after a shower.

Renault
Fernando Alonso, 1m 34.148s P10/1m 32.774s P8
Nelson Piquet, 1m 34.738s P15/1m 32.990s P10

Alonso said he would have liked to make more changes to his R29 than the weather permitted (thanks to the rain at the start of the afternoon session), and that as usual it was difficult to judge Renault’s true position. Piquet said he completed most of his programme.

Williams
Kazuki Nakajima, 1m 33.952s P9/1m 32.872s P9
Nico Rosberg, 1m 33.902s P7/1m 33.128s P13

As Williams changed their approach to Fridays and stopped running low fuel loads, Rosberg reported that he struggled with the relatively strong wind and to generate tyre temperature. Nakajima echoed his sentiments on his first visit to Nurburgring.

BMW Sauber
Nick Heidfeld, 1m 34.221s P11/1m 33.012s P11
Robert Kubica, 1m 34.694s P14/1m 33.161s P17

Heidfeld was puzzled when a clear lap on fresh tyres proved no quicker in the afternoon than one earlier in the session on which he had been baulked. Kubica reported that his runs were difficult due to the weather conditions and their effect on tyre temperatures.

Ferrari
Felipe Massa, 1m 33.745s P3/1m 33.052s P12
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 33.840s P6/1m 33.182s P16

Massa reported a reasonable day which confirmed Ferrari’s expectations that there was still work to do to generate good balance in the cold temperatures. He ran plenty of fuel in the afternoon. Raikkonen said he thought they were exactly where they’d been at Silverstone, which was struggling for tyre temperature and grip. The Finn also had a gearbox oil leak.

Toro Rosso
Sebastien Buemi, 1m 34.878s P17/1m 33.903s P18
Sebastien Bourdais, 1m 34.827s P16/1m 34.025s P19

Buemi said he got through his day’s programme without any problems, while Bourdais worked through several set-ups in search of tyre temperature without ever feeling that Toro Rosso found an answer.