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Friday analysis - McLaren lead, as Red Bull bide time? 28 May 2010

Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1 VJM03 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Turkish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Friday, 28 May 2010 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB6.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Turkish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Friday, 28 May 2010 (L to R): Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP with Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Turkish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Friday, 28 May 2010 (L to R): Franz Tost (AUT) Scuderia Toro Rosso Team Principal with Sebastien Buemi (SUI) Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Turkish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Friday, 28 May 2010 Lucas di Grassi (BRA) Virgin Racing VR-01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Turkish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Friday, 28 May 2010

The teams spent opening day at Istanbul Park doing their usual evaluation of the prime and option Bridgestone tyres (the medium and soft compounds here in Turkey), and the cars’ behaviour on low and high fuel loads. Bridgestone will carefully analyse individual car/tyre performance during Friday evening, and make set-up recommendations for Saturday…

McLaren
Jenson Button, 1m 29.615s, P2/1m 28.280s, P1
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 28.653s, P1/1m 28.672s, P4

Button said his car was better in the afternoon, but was still squirming around too much in Turn Eight. For the first time he was trying some different brake discs to the standard Carbon Industries ware McLaren have used all year. Hamilton had no real problems with his car, and seemed quite happy. Both, however, expect Red Bull to move ahead on Saturday.

Red Bull
Mark Webber, 1m 30.097s, P8/1m 28.378s, P2
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 29.867s, P5/1m 28.590s, P3

Webber and Vettel seemed reasonably happy. The Australian lost the engine at the end of second practice, but said it was a high mileage unit and was more concerned that initially the marshals didn’t chock his wheels so he could not abandon the RB6 after reversing it off track. Vettel was happier with his new chassis, but had a minor issue with water pressure in the afternoon. Few doubt they will set the pace on Saturday.

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso, 1m 30.294s, P9/1m 28.725s, P5
Felipe Massa, 1m 30.867s, P13/1m 29.620s, P10

Ferrari worked steadily in readiness for their 800th race. Alonso thought they were on par with the McLarens, but that the Red Bulls will have their usual edge tomorrow. Massa had lots of trouble, and in the afternoon rooted his one set of soft tyres with a speedy half spin in Turn Eight which wore them through to the carcass. Both drivers felt their version of the F-duct system was worthwhile.

Mercedes GP
Nico Rosberg, 1m 29.855s, P4/1m 28.914s, P6
Michael Schumacher, 1m 29.750s, P3/1m 28.974s, P7

The MGP WO1 was back in long-wheelbase form for the first time since Spain, and equipped with Mercedes’ version of the F-duct system. Rosberg said he lost a bit of momentum trying all the changes to the car, but was happy with the balance in the afternoon. Schumacher agreed with his team mate that updates have improved the car, but said it was too early in the weekend to quantify the value.

Renault
Robert Kubica, 1m 30.061s, P6/1m 29.225s, P8
Vitaly Petrov, 1m 30.065s, P7/1m 29.501s, P9

Kubica said he felt that a new front wing was an improvement after an empirical comparison, but that the balance needed enhancement before qualifying. Petrov was quick all day on a circuit he knows well from his GP2 days.

Force India
Adrian Sutil, 1m 30.501s, P10/1m 29.629s, P11
Vitantonio Liuzzi, 1m 31.853s, P12/1m 30.627s, P16

A mixed day for Force India saw Sutil crash heavily in Turn Eight in the morning yet turn things around well to set the 11th fastest time in the afternoon. Both he and Liuzzi worked on their F-duct solution, which is called the SRW (switchable rear wing). Liuzzi said his car’s balance wasn’t great, but that he’d had a generally positive day that marked an improvement in the car since Monaco.

Williams
Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 31.355s, P16/1m 29.987s, P12
Rubens Barrichello, 1m 31.464s, P17/1m 30.766s, P17

Hulkenberg managed a fair few laps despite losing a lot of the afternoon due to a hydraulic leak, while Barrichello had a busy day in which he said his FW32 wasn’t really performing well enough.

BMW Sauber
Kamui Kobayashi, 1m 30.615s, P11/1m 30.053s, P13
Pedro de la Rosa, 1m 31.238s, P15/1m 30.176s, P14

The BMW Saubers went a lot better on a circuit that suits them better than Monaco did. Kobayashi had a spin or two, however, and said that his C29 lacked grip and straight-line speed. De la Rosa was pleased with his afternoon long run on the prime Bridgestones, but said the balance needed work on new tyres.

Toro Rosso
Sebastien Buemi, 1m 31.011, P14/1m 30.386s, P15
Jaime Alguersuari 1m 31.735s, P18/1m 30.933s, P18

Buemi’s programme went smoothly, giving him a clear picture of what’s needed on Saturday. Alguersuari ran a different programme and said his picture was much less clear and that he wasn’t happy with the day’s performance.

Lotus
Heikki Kovalainen, 1m 32.161s, P19/1m 31.610s, P19
Jarno Trulli, 1m 32.980s, P20/1m 33.081s, P21

Kovalainen was delighted with his trouble-free day, and reported himself content. Trulli was down again, after a broken third gear lost him much of the afternoon session, and his chance to run on the soft tyre.

Virgin
Lucas di Grassi, 1m 35.137s, P22/1m 33.013s, P20
Timo Glock, 1m 35.583s, P23/1m 33.312s, P22

Virgin were all at sea in the morning as they struggled dramatically for balance and lagged behind the HRTs, but there was some semblance of order by the afternoon when they moved back ahead of the grey and red cars.

HRT
Bruno Senna (pm), 1m 33.420s, P23
Karun Chandhok, 1m 34.876s, P21/1m 33.740s, P24
Sakon Yamamoto (am), 1m 36.137s, P24

Reserve driver Yamamoto performed respectably in his first outing since being signed in April, while Senna and Chandhok both explored the run-off areas as they sought grip in the afternoon.