Friday analysis - teams relishing Korean learning curve 22 Oct 2010
With a new track to get to grips with, the drivers enjoyed a challenging and largely productive first day in Korea, as the green surface began to rapidly rubber in. As well as learning the ins and outs of the Yeongam circuit, they were tasked with maximising the set-up and balance of their cars ahead of Saturdays qualifying session and the majority were pleased with their progress. We take a team-by-team look
Mark Webber, 1m 42.202s, P7/1m 37.942s, P1
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 41.371s, P4/1m 39.204s, P7
An interesting day for Red Bull, as Webber survived a spin and then set the fastest time in Practice Two with the rear anti-rollbar of his RB6 disconnected because of handling issues. Vettel was fast in the morning but had to run the option Bridgestone tyres before the track was really ready for them in the afternoon after hed picked up a puncture on the hard primes. Lots of potential here, though, as youd expect.
Fernando Alonso, 1m 43.928s, P15/1m 38.132s, P2
Felipe Massa, 1m 43.054s, P12/1m 38.820s, P6
Ferrari struggled in the morning when the track was really slippery, but flew in the afternoon. Despite high tyre wear, Alonso believes Ferrari, like McLaren, can do something interesting here. Massa had lots of off-track moments in both sessions as he struggled to find a good set-up and to work the tyres effectively. He tried his car without the blown rear wing in the morning, but quickly decided it was essential.
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 40.887s, P1/1m 38.279s, P3
Jenson Button, 1m 41.940s, P5/1m 38.726s, P5
Hamilton and Button spent the morning trying lots of new rear wings, and the MP4-25s look strong, especially in the first sector. Hamilton was very pleased with his car, while Button wasnt much slower but lost time in the afternoon as an overheating problem was sorted out. They will be quick in qualifying.
Robert Kubica, 1m 40.968s, P2/1m 38.718s, P4
Vitaly Petrov, 1m 42.896s, P11/1m 39.267s, P8
Once again Kubica was right up there now that Renault are over their mid-season slump. The Pole was very quick in the morning, and again in the afternoon, and neither he nor Petrov reported any problems.
Nico Rosberg, 1m 41.152s, P3/1m 39.268s, P9
Michael Schumacher, 1m 42.022s, P6/1m 39.598s, P12
Mercedes looked very good in the morning on a track on which Schumacher had said he expected the MGP W01 to go better. As the grip level rose, however, the cars slipped back.
Kamui Kobayashi, 1m 43.309s, P13/1m 39.564s, P10
Nick Heidfeld, 1m 42.293s, P8/1m 39.588s, P11
BMW Sauber again looked competitive as James Keys influence continues to make itself felt. Kobayashi had lots of off-track moments but was quick, while Heidfeld was right with him and said he was learning a lot more about the Bridgestone slick tyres now. Both suffered serious tyre graining, however.
Rubens Barrichello, 1m 42.883s, P10/1m 39.812s, P13
Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 42.678s, P9/1m 40.478s, P16
Williams looked great in the morning when the grip level was at its lowest, but lost ground in the afternoon. Barrichello reported that he ran a high fuel load relatively early on, however, and said that his times thus werent necessarily representative in Practice Two. Hulkenberg was fast in Practice One but changes for Practice Two didnt take the team in the right direction and he struggled.
Vitantonio Liuzzi, 1m 44.887s, P17/1m 39.881s, P14
Adrian Sutil, 1m 43.602s, P14/1m 39.971s, P15
Liuzzi had a good day in his newly built-up chassis to replace the one written off by Massa in Suzuka. The Italian was very quick early on in Practice Two, but later spun and stopped on the circuit after a cracked exhaust had cooked, then broken, a rear suspension toe-in link. At least he had no F duct or brake problems this time. Sutil reported no problems.
Jaime Alguersuari 1m 45.141s, P18/1m 40.578s, P17
Sebastien Buemi, 1m 43.940s, P16/1m 40.896s, P18
Alguersuari said Toro Rossos simulator run was the closest here that its been all season. Both drivers tried new parts in Practice One, and aside from a few off-road moments neither reported any problems.
Heikki Kovalainen, 1m 47.115s, P21/1m 42.773s, P19
Jarno Trulli, 1m 51.701s, P24/1m 42.801s, P20
Having been the first man in Practice One, Kovalainen ended the day very happy with the performance of his Lotus and the teams direction for tomorrow. As the Finn had another trouble-free day, Trulli twice had gearbox problems but was right behind his team mate in Practice Two.
Timo Glock, 1m 45.588s, P19/1m 43.115s, P21
Lucas di Grassi (afternoon only), 1m 44.039s, P22
Jerome dAmbrosio (morning only), 1m 46.613s, P20
Virgin were far and away the fastest new team in Practice One, but lost ground in the afternoon. Glock said he was unlucky with traffic on the option tyre, but was otherwise happy. Di Grassi was satisfied with his afternoon run, while dAmbrosio rued clipping his front wing on the pit wall in the morning and thus having to use an older version for his run, but again impressed the team.
Sakon Yamamoto, 1m 50.347s, P22/1m 45.166s, P23
Bruno Senna, 1m 50.821s, P23/1m 46.649s, P24
HRT had a tough day, with Senna losing lot of track time with a suspension failure in the morning. Repairs limited him to one flying lap in the afternoon. Yamamoto spun in the afternoon and briefly brought out the red flag.
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