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Friday analysis - blown diffuser promising for Ferrari 25 Jun 2010

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F10.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, European Grand Prix, Practice Day, Valencia Spain, Friday, 25 June 2010 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, European Grand Prix, Practice Day, Valencia Spain, Friday, 25 June 2010 Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, European Grand Prix, Practice Day, Valencia Spain, Friday, 25 June 2010 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB6 leads Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4/25.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, European Grand Prix, Practice Day, Valencia Spain, Friday, 25 June 2010 Robert Kubica (POL) Renault R30.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, European Grand Prix, Practice Day, Valencia Spain, Friday, 25 June 2010

Many teams were keen to get out and try significant modifications to their aerodynamic packages in Valencia on Friday. The programmes were relatively uncomplicated on the medium compound Bridgestone prime tyres on the dusty track. That changed when they attempted to go quicker on the super soft compound option tyre, which grained laterally and transversely in the morning. The track temperature all through the second session was a consistent 24 degrees Celsius, however, and even though the surface was still ‘green’ things were much better. We take a team-by-team look at day one in Spain…

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso, 1m 42.421s, P9/1m 39.283s, P1
Felipe Massa, 1m 42.182s, P5/1m 39.947s, P7

Alonso was cautiously optimistic after his first day running the F10 with the blown diffuser. He reported it to be easy to drive with both light and heavy fuel loads. Massa had an up and down day which included a stalling half spin in the afternoon which momentarily red flagged the session.

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 42.216s, P6/1m 39.339s, P2
Mark Webber, 1m 42.275s, P7/1m 39.427s, P3

Vettel and Webber both used the F-duct and will decide whether to continue with it tonight. Neither had any issues, and both said they were heartened to be so far up the order on a track that in theory should suit them less than some other rivals.

Mercedes GP
Nico Rosberg, 1m 41.175s, P1/1m 39.650s, P4
Michael Schumacher, 1m 42.312s, P8/1m 40.287s, P11

Rosberg was strong in the morning and said that overall he was happy with the way things went throughout the day even though there were some undisclosed issues to be resolved tonight. Schumacher said he liked the track but that he hadn’t quite picked up its rhythm.

McLaren
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 41.339s, P2/1m 39.749s, P5
Jenson Button, 1m 41.383s, P3/1m 40.029s, P9

Hamilton said he was quite happy, though McLaren are a little resigned to the new ‘blown diffuser’ cars from Ferrari and Renault clawing back this weekend. He was lucky to avoid hitting Schumacher in the afternoon when, assuming the German to be on a fast lap, he discovered that he was braking hard in the final corner to give himself a decent gap to the car in front. Button said he wasn’t happy with his MP4-25’s balance initially but that it got better the more they played around with it. He also said there were a lot of very quick cars out there.

Renault
Robert Kubica, 1m 41.715s, P4/1m 39.880s, P6
Vitaly Petrov, 1m 42.962s, P12/1m 40.618s, P13

The R30 boasted its blown diffuser for the first time and Kubica was quick as he reported a normal Friday with nothing more than the odd slide off the road due to the general dustiness and lack of grip. Petrov spent his day relearning Valencia in an F1 car as opposed to a GP2, and had a spin in the afternoon without hitting anything.

Force India
Adrian Sutil (pm), 1m 40.020s, P8
Tonio Liuzzi, 1m 43.380s, P14/1m 40.387s, P12
Paul di Resta (am) 1m 43.437s, P16

Sutil only ran in the afternoon as Di Resta was back in the cockpit for the morning session. The German was immediately happy with the balance of his VJM03 and got straight on the pace with it. Both he and Liuzzi, who said the track was a little harder to learn because the kerbs fired you off if you tackled them wrong, reported that the long-run balance and pace was very good. They are confident of making Q3 again.

Williams
Rubens Barrichello, 1m 42.463s, P10/1m 40.174s, P10
Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 42.707s, P11/1m 41.371s, P17

Williams had a productive day, running their new blown rear wing on both cars at various times of the day. Barrichello reported a straightforward day, but Hulkenberg was unhappy with the second session and said his FW30’s balance wasn’t great.

BMW Sauber
Kamui Kobayashi, 1m 43.729s, P17/1m 40.906s, P14
Pedro de la Rosa, 1m 43.397s, P15/1m 40.945s, P15

Sauber’s F-duct and other aero revisions worked satisfactorily, and while Kobayashi seemed quite happy De la Rosa spent all day honing the brake set-up on his C29.

Toro Rosso
Sebastien Buemi, 1m 43.310, P13/1m 41.115s, P16
Jaime Alguersuari 1m 44.183s, P18/1m 41.457s, P18

Buemi said he had a trouble-free day but that he’d been surprised by the biggest difference so far this season between lap times in the morning and the afternoon. Alguersuari did some comparative brake tests in the morning.

Lotus
Heikki Kovalainen, 1m 44.491s, P19/1m 42.467s, P19
Jarno Trulli, 1m 47.285s, P22/1m 42.993s, P20

Having driven down to Valencia to avoid the French air traffic strikes, Kovalainen said things had gone well and that he was quite happy with his T127 as Lotus prepared for the marque’s 500th Grand Prix. Trulli had a few gremlins on his new T127, but said he gathered plenty of data which would help for tomorrow.

Virgin
Timo Glock, 1m 45.653s, P20/1m 43.811s, P21
Lucas di Grassi, 1m 47.356s, P24/1m 43.854s, P22

Glock reported a reasonable day despite the loss of fifth gear which brought his running to an end in the afternoon. He’d been chasing after the Lotuses up until then. Di Grassi was as quick, and said he’d completed his programme without problems.

HRT
Bruno Senna, 1m 47.123s, P21/1m 44.095s, P23
Karun Chandhok (pm), 1m 44.566s, P24
Christian Klien (am) 1m 47.343s, P23

Once again HRT trebled up as Klien had a run in the morning instead of Chandhok. The Austrian lost time to a gearbox problem in the morning, which prompted inspection of Senna’s car, which in turn revealed a problem with a driveshaft boot. That lost the Brazilian some time in the afternoon, but in any case the team focused on race work more than lap time.