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Friday analysis - Alonso keeps a watching brief 12 Oct 2012

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F2012.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Korean Grand Prix, Practice, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Friday, 12 October 2012 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB8 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB8 in the pits.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Korean Grand Prix, Practice, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Friday, 12 October 2012 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F2012.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Korean Grand Prix, Practice, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Friday, 12 October 2012 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-27.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Korean Grand Prix, Practice, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Friday, 12 October 2012 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W03.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Korean Grand Prix, Practice, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Friday, 12 October 2012 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India VJM05.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Korean Grand Prix, Practice, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Friday, 12 October 2012 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus E20.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Korean Grand Prix, Practice, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Friday, 12 October 2012 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams FW34.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Korean Grand Prix, Practice, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Friday, 12 October 2012 Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Sauber C31.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Korean Grand Prix, Practice, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Friday, 12 October 2012 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR7.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Korean Grand Prix, Practice, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Friday, 12 October 2012 Giedo van der Garde (NDL) Caterham Third Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Korean Grand Prix, Practice, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Friday, 12 October 2012 Charles Pic (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Korean Grand Prix, Practice, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Friday, 12 October 2012 Pedro De La Rosa (ESP) HRT Formula One Team HRT F112.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Korean Grand Prix, Practice, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Friday, 12 October 2012

For the second week running the teams welcomed consistent weather and track conditions throughout Friday practice, which enabled them to conduct their usual tyre evaluation and short- and long-run testing. As expected, Red Bull’s form again looked strong, but it won’t have escaped Sebastian Vettel’s attention that championship leader Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari was in the top three in both Yeongam sessions. We take a team-by-team look at progress on day one in Korea…

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 40.088s, P5/1m 38.832s, P1
Mark Webber, 1m 39.575s, P3/1m 38.864s, P2

Both drivers were very happy with the performance of their cars as they battled for fastest time in the afternoon. It seems that the rear-end changes introduced in Singapore have put the Red Bull RB8 on top again.

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso, 1m 39.450s, P2/1m 39.160s, P3
Felipe Massa, 1m 39.854s, P4/1m 39.422s, P6

Alonso said that Ferrari just got on with their programme all day without worrying what anyone else was up to. This included the usual Friday work and evaluation of some small update parts. Massa had a KERS problem after setting the initial pace in FP2, but generally sounded optimistic after his day’s work.

McLaren
Jenson Button, 1m 40.480s, P10/1m 39.219s, P4
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 39.148s, P1/1m 39.717s, P8

Hamilton was very happy with his car in FP1 when he was fastest, but said he suffered from too much understeer in the afternoon as he struggled to go faster on the super-soft option Pirelli. Button said he feared that Red Bull’s four-tenths advantage was likely to stay for qualifying. There’s some set-up refinement work to be done overnight here.

Mercedes
Michael Schumacher, 1m 40.221s, P6/1m 39.330s, P5
Nico Rosberg, 1m 40.396s, P7/1m 39.584s, P7

Overall, a decent day for both drivers on a circuit to which the MGP W03 seems better suited.

Force India
Nico Hulkenberg (pm only), 1m 39.739s, P9
Paul di Resta, 1m 40.440s, P9/1m 40.112s, P13
Jules Bianchi (am only), 1m 41.140s, P13

All three drivers said they were reasonably happy with what they achieved during the day, though Di Resta insisted that his laps weren’t fully representative as he met traffic on both fast runs.

Lotus
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 40.929s, P11/1m 39.839s, P10
Romain Grosjean, 1m 40.422s, P8/1m 39.957s, P11

Both drivers said their E20s were a handful, but the data indicated that the new aero package complete with Coanda-effect exhausts was behaving as expected so it will be retained for tomorrow.

Williams
Bruno Senna (pm only), 1m 40.089s, P12
Pastor Maldonado, 1m 41.048s, P12/1m 41.200s, P18
Valtteri Bottas (am only), 1m 42.027s, P18

Senna’s was a good performance considering that he had to hand his car to Bottas in FP1, but Maldonado was hampered by an undisclosed car problem throughout FP2, so overall it wasn’t a particularly representative day for Williams.

Sauber
Kamui Kobayashi, 1m 41.220s, P14/1m 40.445s, P14
Sergio Perez 1m 41.514s, P15/1m 40.745s, P15

Sauber didn’t look as strong as they were in Suzuka, as Kobayashi struggled with poor balance on low fuel loads and Perez’s car coasted to a halt in FP2 with an engine management problem. The car was later retrieved, but the team weren’t able to get the Mexican back out before the session ended.

Toro Rosso
Jean-Eric Vergne, 1m 42.021s, P17/1m 40.789s, P16
Daniel Ricciardo, 1m 41.596s, P16/1m 40.997s, P17

Not too bad a first day for either driver, as Vergne celebrated his first anniversary as he started running the Friday morning sessions here last year, but Ricciardo said he met traffic on his two best laps on the super softs.

Caterham
Heikki Kovalainen, 1m 42.104s, P19/1m 41.602s, P19
Vitaly Petrov (pm only), 1m 43.067s, P22
Giedo van der Garde (am only), 1m 42.820s, P22

Kovalainen said he was very happy initially with his CT01’s balance, but in the afternoon he went off track and dislodged a couple of bolts in the cockpit which obliged the team to make a temporary fix to the seat so they could complete the program. Petrov inevitably struggled a bit after losing this morning session, when Van der Garde again ran and did a decent job to end up within seven-tenths of Kovalainen. The Russian’s programme was also interrupted when he sustained a puncture on his first set of super softs.

Marussia
Timo Glock, 1m 42.175s, P20/1m 42.596s, P20
Charles Pic, 1m 42.706s, P21/1m 43.066s, P21

After the upturn in speed in Suzuka, Glock was disappointed to find that his car’s rear-end nervousness had returned, making it a tough day in the office. Pic had similar problems, and will also incur a 10-place grid penalty for an engine change.

HRT
Narain Karthikeyan (pm only), 1m 43.869s, P23
Pedro de la Rosa, 1m 44.517s, P23/1m 44.533s, P24
Dani Clos (am only) 1m 45.735s, P24

Nothing major to report here, in what De la Rosa described as a ‘classic Friday’ as he learned the track. Karthikeyan lost the morning as Clos took his seat. The young Spaniard had a spin but otherwise again did a decent job.

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