Friday analysis - changeable weather leaves mixed impressions 28 Aug 2009
After rain spoiled the morning practice session at Spa-Francorchamps, things got going in earnest on a dry track during the afternoon as teams had to squeeze a lot into the hour and a half as they focused on their usual Friday set-up work and tyre evaluation. We take a team-by-team look at progress
Lewis Hamilton, No time/1m 47.201s, P1
Heikki Kovalainen, 1m 53.383s, P8/1m 47.743s, P12
Hamilton only bothered to do installation laps in the morning to evaluate new aero components, but said he was pleased enough with fastest time in the afternoon even though the MP4-24 wasnt quick enough in the second sector. He thought it still lacked ultimate downforce, but said the car was an awful lot better than it had been in Turkey and Silverstone. Kovalainen had a relatively trouble-free run in both sessions.
Timo Glock, 2m 06.331s, P18/1m 47.217s, P2
Jarno Trulli, 1m 49.675s, P1/1m 47.559s, P7
Glock was pleasantly surprised by his TF109s performance but suggested that there is a little bit more work to be done on its balance, while Trulli said he got a good feeling from his car but still needs to tame the rear end a little.
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 52.930s, P7/1m 47.285s, P3
Luca Badoer, 1m 55.068s, P10/1m 49.211s, P20
Ferrari were very happy with Raikkonens speed and are confident of being a major player this weekend. The Finn said he was happy with the overall feeling he got from the F60, but Badoer said he still needs more time to hone the set-up to suit his own style and once again brought up the tail of the field, two seconds off his team mate.
Mark Webber, 2m 06.181s, P17/1m 47.329s, P4
Sebastian Vettel, No time/1m 47.602s, P10
Webber thought that fourth place was the best he could get from his RB5 today, and that while the afternoon was productive they didnt always move in the right direction. Vettel had limited running time, due both to the weather and the need to conserve engine mileage after his two failures in Spain. He said he felt quite comfortable with his RB5.
Romain Grosjean, 2m 05.513s, P13/1m 47.333s, P5
Fernando Alonso, 1m 50.368s, P3/1m 47.862s, P14
Grosjean complimented his team mate on the help he has received from the former champion, and that he was able to figure out where to improve as a result. Alonso said he was happy with his cars balance, having done a lot of laps (43 in total).
Giancarlo Fisichella, 2m 03.972s, P11/1m 47.506s, P6
Adrian Sutil, 2m 05.839s, P16/1m 47.790s, P13
Fisichella dialled out some understeer as the afternoon progressed and made a good step on his final run as he jumped up to sixth. Sutil likewise complained of understeer, and later of traffic on his last lap.
Robert Kubica, 1m 53.650s, P9/1m 47.578s, P8
Nick Heidfeld, 2m 05.614s, P14/1m 48.017s, P16
Nothing major to report here, except that Heidfeld said he was surprised to find that the harder Bridgestone tyre was the better option. Both drivers also said they still have a lot of set-up work still to do.
Jaime Alguersuari, 1m 51.529s, P5/1m 47.579s, P9
Sebastien Buemi, 1m 51.045s, P4/1m 47.702s, P11
Alguersuari revelled in a track he knows well and said he had a good feeling for his STR4 straight away. Buemi too was happy with the way things went.
Kazuki Nakajima, 2m 05.705s, P15/1m 47.961s, P15
Nico Rosberg, 2m 04.505s, P12/1m 48.360s, P19
Williams were curiously off the pace, and didnt really know why. Nakajima said the balance of his FW31 wasnt bad, but that it just lacked performance. Rosberg complained that his car was a long way off, and that the one dry session wasnt enough in the circumstances as it was so far behind. They made some big set-up changes and got some answers back, which may help on Saturday.
Jenson Button, 1m 50.283s, P2/1m 48.125s, P17
Rubens Barrichello, 1m 52.321s, P6/1m 48.130s, P18
Despite appearances, Brawn said they were happy enough with what they learned today, and Ross Brawn reported that there has been no sign yet of tyre temperature-related problems. Button said they picked up a lot of useful knowledge during back-to-back set-up comparisons in the dry session, while Barrichello said there was some way to go yet, as the BGP001 did not feel as competitive as it did in Valencia, but that he expected to be in a good position to fight hard come qualifying.