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Friday analysis - Red Bull buzzing at Buddh 26 Oct 2012

Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB8.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Practice, Friday, 26 October 2012 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB8.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Practice, Friday, 26 October 2012 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F2012.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Practice, Friday, 26 October 2012 Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W03.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Practice, Friday, 26 October 2012 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus E20.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Practice, Friday, 26 October 2012 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-27.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Practice, Friday, 26 October 2012 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India VJM05.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Practice, Friday, 26 October 2012 Bruno Senna (BRA) Williams FW34.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Practice, Friday, 26 October 2012 Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Sauber Third Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Practice, Friday, 26 October 2012 Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Practice, Friday, 26 October 2012 Vitaly Petrov (RUS) Caterham CT01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Practice, Friday, 26 October 2012 Charles Pic (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Practice, Friday, 26 October 2012 Narain Karthikeyan (IND) HRT Formula One Team HRT F112.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Practice, Friday, 26 October 2012

The weather was so consistent that nobody gave it a second thought throughout Friday’s two practice sessions in India, but the track was evolving continuously which meant that chasing set-up was the art of the day. Tyre performance looks like being less of an issue than normal here. We take a team-by-team look at the early form book in New Delhi…

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 27.619s, P1/1m 26.221s, P1
Mark Webber, 1m 28.175s, P5/1m 26.339s, P2

There’s a buzz in Red Bull, just like a boxer who knows his punches are carrying weight and hurting an opponent. Not much to report of a negative nature here, which is hardly surprising given their domination of the day.

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso, 1m 28.044s, P3/1m 26.820s, P3
Felipe Massa, 1m 28.542s, P7/1m 28.296s, P15

Alonso was non-committal about his day, but said that he didn’t think tyre performance would have as much of an impact as usual. Massa admitted he had a tough afternoon when he struggled big time with his F2012 on the soft tyre. Two spins bore testament to that.

Mercedes
Nico Rosberg, 1m 28.447s, P6/1m 27.022s, P4
Michael Schumacher, 1m 28.993s, P8/1m 28.222s, P13

Rosberg said he had a very positive day that gave good direction for final set-up, but admitted that fourth place was a little above Mercedes’ real position overall. Schumacher said he never got a really good lap together on the soft tyre in FP2.

Lotus
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 29.291s, P10/1m 27.030s, P5
Romain Grosjean, 1m 29.895s, P15/1m 27.397s, P9

Lotus found some good pace, which pleased both drivers. Both were reasonably happy with the way things went, though Grosjean had a half spin in FP2. Raikkonen tried a new front wing, which both cars will now use for the remainder of the weekend.

McLaren
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 28.046s, P4/1m 27.131s, P6
Jenson Button, 1m 27.929s, P2/1m 27.182s, P7

Hamilton said he thinks McLaren should be able to qualify on the second row but that the front row will require a major developmental effort overnight. He was pleased with his long-run pace and tyre wear, however, and expects a strong race performance. Button concurred, but had problems getting a good balance on the soft tyre in FP2. More worryingly, he had gearshift problems again then.

Force India
Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 29.850s, P14/1m 27.233s, P8
Paul di Resta, 1m 29.760s, P12/1m 28.004s, P11

Hulkenberg spent FP1 learning the track, then delivered in FP2. After a decent long run in the latter, he said he felt well prepared for Saturday. Di Resta had a tough day working on his VJM05’s balance, and a puncture in FP2 prevented him doing a high-fuel run on the soft tyre.

Williams
Bruno Senna (pm only), 1m 27.738s, P10
Pastor Maldonado, 1m 30.041s, P16/1m 28.596s, P17
Valtteri Bottas (am only), 1m 29.691s, P11

Bottas did a great job in FP1, but the race drivers both said there’s more work to do on the set-up if they are to stand a chance of making it into Q3 tomorrow.

Sauber
Sergio Perez (pm only), 1m 28.178s, P12
Kamui Kobayashi, 1m 29.802s, P13/1m 28.455s, P16
Esteban Gutierrez (am only), 1m 31.212s, P20

Like Senna, Perez said it hurt him not doing the morning session, when Gutierrez stood in. The younger Mexican did a capable job, first time out on a Friday morning, at late notice, on a track he’d never driven before. Kobayashi said he struggled all day for grip on low fuel, hence doing a lot of high-fuel running in FP2. Overall, the conclusion within the team is that while they might not be shatteringly fast on single-lap runs, they look reasonably competitive over the long haul.

Toro Rosso
Daniel Ricciardo, 1m 29.204s, P9/1m 28.239s, P14
Jean-Eric Vergne, 1m 30.401s, P17/1m 29.167s, P18

Ricciardo was quick straight out of the box in FP1 and didn’t change much in his STR7’s set-up. He had his car set up differently to Vergne’s, which partly explained the difference in their lap times; the other part of that equation was that it was the Frenchman’s first visit to the Buddh track.

Caterham
Heikki Kovalainen (pm only), 1m 29.320s, P19
Vitaly Petrov, 1m 30.630s, P18/1m 29.606s, P20
Giedo van der Garde (am only), 1m 30.896s, P19

All three drivers reported favourably on the performance of the CT01. Van der Garde did a fine job in FP1 to all but match Petrov; the Russian went well then and again in FP2 until an engine problem prompted premature cessation of activities while Renault investigated; Kovalainen was pleased with what he achieved in FP2, having missed FP1.

Marussia
Timo Glock, 1m 32.369s, P23/1m 31.113s, P22
Charles Pic, 1m 31.903s, P21/1m 31.493s, P24

Glock and Pic worked on different things in FP1, the former evaluating a new front wing, the latter learning the track. In the afternoon they focused on their usual Friday set-up work.

HRT
Narain Karthikeyan, 1m 32.125s, P22/1m 31.372s, P23
Pedro de la Rosa, 1m 32.859s, P24/1m 30.950s, P21

De la Rosa said that HRT lose out most on circuits like this with quick changes of direction, but was happy with the way his day went. Karthikeyan was happy with FP1, but suffered a hydraulic failure just when he’d switched to the soft tyres in FP2.

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