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Friday analysis - bring on the sunshine… 14 Oct 2011

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/26.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Korean Grand Prix, Practice Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Friday, 14 October 2011 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB7.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Korean Grand Prix, Practice Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Friday, 14 October 2011 Jules Bianchi (FRA) Ferrari, Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari and Massimo Rivola (ITA) Ferrari. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Korean Grand Prix, Practice Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Friday, 14 October 2011 Sebastien Buemi (SUI) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR6.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Korean Grand Prix, Practice Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Friday, 14 October 2011 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Korean Grand Prix, Practice Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Friday, 14 October 2011 Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1 VJM04.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Korean Grand Prix, Practice Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Friday, 14 October 2011 Bruno Senna (BRA) Lotus Renault GP R31. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Korean Grand Prix, Practice Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Friday, 14 October 2011 Williams FW33 front wing detail. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Korean Grand Prix, Preparations, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Thursday, 13 October 2011 Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber C30.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Korean Grand Prix, Practice Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Friday, 14 October 2011 Karun Chandhok (IND) Team Lotus T128 Reserve Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Korean Grand Prix, Practice Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Friday, 14 October 2011 Timo Glock (GER) Virgin Racing MVR-02. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Korean Grand Prix, Practice Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Friday, 14 October 2011 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) HRT Formula 1 Team HRT F111.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Korean Grand Prix, Practice Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Friday, 14 October 2011

Heavy rain this morning at Yeongam demanded Pirelli’s full wet tyres, but teams were able to run intermediates in the afternoon and some drivers even tried the soft, or even the super-soft, slicks. The track wasn’t ready for the softest compound, however, and there were many spins. All day drivers struggled to keep heat in their rubber. Largely it was a frustrating day, especially as fine weather is forecast for the rest of the meeting…

McLaren
Lewis Hamilton, 2m 03.391, P7/1m 50.828s, P1
Jenson Button, No time/1m 50.932s, P2

Hamilton and Button had few complaints after totally dominating practice in FP2, leaving Vettel 1.8s adrift. Neither expects the same gap in the dry tomorrow, but it was a promising start as the team seek to build on Suzuka and take the fight again to Red Bull.

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, 2m 02.840s, P2/1m 52.646s, P3
Mark Webber, 2m 05.183, P10/1m 53.049s, P5

Vettel said he wasn’t worried about the gap to the McLarens (which might have been down to fuel loads), but like many he is concerned about tyre wear after Pirelli’s adventurous step in bringing their soft and super-soft tyres to an abrasive track. The new champion believes each driver could make up to five stops on Sunday. Webber reported no problems.

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso, No time/1m 52.774s, P4
Felipe Massa, No time/1m 53.707s, P7

Alonso said the rain meant the day had little significance and that he could not really evaluate a new front wing in the conditions. Massa, starting his 150th Grand Prix, said that the degradation of the intermediate Pirellis was a worry.

Toro Rosso
Jaime Alguersuari (pm only), 1m 53.402, P6
Sebastien Buemi, 2m 03.182s, P5/1m 53.948s, P9
Jean-Eric Vergne (am only), 2m 07.541s, P13

Neither Buemi nor Alguersuari reported any problems, apart from the latter’s collision when he exited the pits right in front of Rosberg who crashed into him. The Spaniard said he was impressed with his STR06’s performance on Pirelli’s intermediates. Vergne said his morning was all about learning the car and the situation and that he wasn’t comparing himself to anyone else, but he did a very solid job in difficult conditions.

Mercedes
Nico Rosberg, 2m 04.311s, P8/1m 53.914s, P8
Michael Schumacher, 2m 02.784s, P1/1m 54.965s, P14

Rosberg said he was able to do some helpful work despite his crash with Alguersuari, while Schumacher looked like his old self as he was immediately on the pace in the morning, before focusing on race set-up work in the afternoon when, despite the weather, he felt he was able to learn a lot about his MGP W02’s behaviour.

Force India
Paul di Resta, 2m 02.912s, P3/1m 53.957s, P10
Adrian Sutil, 2m 03.141s, P4/1m 54.392s, P12

Di Resta did a super job on his first experience of the Yeongam circuit, while Sutil said they achieved a good starting point for Saturday as the final set-up they tried with the super softs at the end wasn’t far off a dry set-up.

Renault
Vitaly Petrov, No time/1m 54.200s, P11
Bruno Senna, No time/1m 55.187s, P15

Renault didn’t run in the morning, and gathered data in the afternoon. Senna had a tough time in a pointy car and had a couple of spins.

Williams
Rubens Barrichello, 2m 08.218s, P14/1m 54.831s, P13
Pastor Maldonado, 2m 06.852s, P12/1m 56.067s, P18

Williams had new wings and a new floor to try and were thus grateful for a trouble-free morning. Barrichello did well in the afternoon, but Maldonado lost time with a water leak.

Sauber
Sergio Perez 2m 04.797s, P9/1m 55.203s, P16
Kamui Kobayashi, 2m 03.292s, P6/1m 55.544s, P17

Both Sauber drivers expressed frustration with the conditions and general lack of grip.

Lotus
Heikki Kovalainen, No time/1m 56.669s, P19
Jarno Trulli (pm only), 1m 57.173s, P20
Karun Chandhok (am only), 2m 06.350s, P11

Again, frustration with the conditions was paramount here, but Chandhok was pleased with the job he did and Kovalainen said his T128 felt well balanced.

Virgin
Timo Glock, 2m 14.508s, P18/1m 58.269s, P21
Jerome d'Ambrosio, 2m 12.658s, P17/1m 59.458s, P22

Glock had a front suspension problem which cost him some time, while D’Ambrosio had a near miss with an impatient Vettel who went round the outside of him when the Belgian was trying to leave him room on the inside.

HRT
Daniel Ricciardo, 2m 09.232s, P16/1m 59.958s, P23
Tonio Liuzzi (pm only), 2m 00.165s, P24
Narain Kathikeyan (am only), 2m 08.832s, P15

All three drivers went through the motions, but while Karthikeyan was justifiably pleased with his pace in the morning, both Ricciardo and Liuzzi reported largely frustrating days in which they learned little of ultimate value.

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