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Friday analysis - Hamilton ahead, but for how long? 02 Apr 2010

Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4/25.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Malaysian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Sepang, Malaysia, Friday, 2 April 2010 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Malaysian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Sepang, Malaysia, Friday, 2 April 2010 Jaime Alguersuari (ESP) Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Malaysian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Sepang, Malaysia, Friday, 2 April 2010 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari and Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Malaysian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Sepang, Malaysia, Friday, 2 April 2010 Vitaly Petrov (RUS) Renault R30.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Malaysian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Sepang, Malaysia, Friday, 2 April 2010

As usual Friday was a day for learning about the behaviour of the prime and option tyres, and the handling of the cars on low and high fuel loads. We take a team-by-team look at progress in Kuala Lumpur ahead of this weekend’s Malaysian event...

McLaren
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 34.921s, P1/1m 34.175s, P1
Jenson Button, 1m 35.207s, P3/1m 34.538s, P4

Hamilton said he was very happy with the way his practice sessions went, and that he felt that McLaren had taken a small step forward. Button, however, said it took a while to dial his car in, and to get a decent balance.

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 36.043s, P9/1m 34.441s, P2
Mark Webber, 1m 35.479s, P6/1m 38.786s, P20

Vettel spent much of the day doing the usual evaluation work, but popped up where he was pretty much expected to late in the afternoon with second fastest time. He reported that it was a good day apart from some minor, unspecified, issues with the RB6 in each session. Webber lost an engine (albeit a high mileage unit) in the afternoon, hence his trip into the gravel in Turn Nine. He was annoyed that he lost time on the option tyre as a result.

Mercedes GP
Nico Rosberg, 1m 35.106s, P2/1m 34.443s, P3
Michael Schumacher, 1m 35.225s, P4/1m 34.674s, P5

Rosberg said he was quite happy with the way his Mercedes had performed and that they had made good progress. Schumacher lost time in the morning having a brake problem rectified, but likewise said he made progress in the afternoon. He stopped short of saying Mercedes might challenge McLaren, Red Bull and Ferrari, however.

Renault
Robert Kubica, 1m 35.402s, P5/1m 35.148s, P6
Vitaly Petrov, 1m 36.712s, P14/1m 35.872s, P9

Kubica reported a straightforward Friday, with work on the handling in the morning and tyre evaluation and comparison in the afternoon. Petrov felt the R30 had been improved since Melbourne, but had a fuel-pump problem in the morning and a water leak in the afternoon.

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso, 1m 35.959s, P8/1m 35.581s, P7
Felipe Massa, 1m 36.451s, P11/1m 36.602s, P15

Ferrari said they had a normal day focused entirely on race work, though there were some who felt that Massa in particular had been struggling a little. Alonso said there was no point seeking significance in the times and that he was reasonably happy with his day. Massa reported no problems.

Toro Rosso
Sebastien Buemi, 1m 36.100s, P10/1m 35.660s, P8
Jaime Alguersuari 1m 36.645s, P13/1m 36.325s, P14

Buemi looked good all day and said he was happy with his progress, which enabled the team to establish a good baseline for Saturday. Alguersuari had to learn another new track and lost some time in the morning with an electrical problem. He then had a minor off in the afternoon.

Force India
Adrian Sutil 1m 35.955s, P7/1m 35.957s, P10
Vitantonio Liuzzi (pm), 1m 36.221s, P12
Paul di Resta (am) 1m 36.891s, P15

Sutil said the track was really dirty in the morning and that he focused on set-up work in the afternoon. Liuzzi said he’d had a good opening afternoon, following his programme. Di Resta ran the Italian’s car in the morning and said he felt a lot more comfortable than he had in Melbourne.

BMW Sauber
Kamui Kobayashi, 1m 36.503s, P12/1m 36.018s, P11
Pedro de la Rosa, 1m 36.899s, P16/1m 36.325s, P13

Both drivers reported that the C29 was working much better than it had in Australia, but that they still needed to find more pace.

Williams
Rubens Barrichello, 1m 38.278s, P18/1m 36.813s, P16
Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 37.802s, P17/1m 37.415s, P17

Barrichello said he’s had a tough day and that despite trying a number of things on his Williams FW32 it was just not quick enough. Hulkenberg echoed the Brazilian’s sentiments, while coping with some undisclosed technical problems on his car.

Lotus
Jarno Trulli, 1m 39.460s, P19/1m 38.454s, P18
Heikki Kovalainen (pm), 1m 38.530s, P19
Fairuz Fauzy (am) 1m 40.721s, P22

Lotus had a good day, on their first racing appearance in their Malaysian home country and on Mike Gascoyne’s birthday. Trulli said he made progress on set-up after a difficult start, Fauzy was happy to get his chance to represent his country in the morning session, and Kovalainen said he was very pleased with his car in the afternoon.

Virgin
Timo Glock, 1m 39.755s, P20/1m 39.061s, P21
Lucas di Grassi, 1m 40.159s, P21/1m 39.158s, P22

Virgin had a very constructive day without any serious glitches, and Glock and Di Grassi proved well matched. Both felt there is a lot more performance to come tomorrow.

HRT
Karun Chandhok, 1m 41.966s, P24/1m 41.084s, P23
Bruno Senna, 1m 41.832s, P23/1m 41.481s, P24

Both drivers did plenty of laps and the cars proved reliable in both sessions. Now that they are working well, the team’s focus is shifting to improving their driveability.