Friday analysis - more questions than answers 16 Mar 2012
This was an unusual Friday by F1 standards, with the weather affecting both sessions and then several teams running different tyre and fuel load combinations in the evening session. Mercedes ultimately led the way, amid much talk about their F-duct rear wing, which reportedly uses the DRS mechanism to help stall the wing at speed (hence cutting drag and boosting top speed). Team boss Ross Brawn inevitably refused to be drawn on details and - perhaps also inevitably - was keen to play down its significance
Michael Schumacher, 1m 28.235s, P3/1m 29.183s, P1
Nico Rosberg, 1m 28.683s, P6/1m 32.184s, P9
This was described by the team as a reasonably encouraging start to the weekend, but Brawn said they werent getting carried away. Both cars were running different strategies to try to learn as much as possible on a track that was nowhere near as rubbered in as Barcelona was by the second pre-season test.
Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 29.865s, P12/1m 29.292s, P2
Paul di Resta, 1m 29.881s, P13/1m 31.466s, P6
Neither driver reported any real problems apart from the weather as they worked their way through their programmes, and both were very pleased with their positions in FP2.
Sergio Perez 1m 30.124s, P15/1m 30.199s, P3
Kamui Kobayashi, 1m 29.722s, P10/1m 30.709s, P5
The Swiss team were very happy with the way things went, and Perez in particular praised a good set-up change between sessions. What made their performance more impressive was that both drivers set their times on the medium Pirellis.
Fernando Alonso, 1m 28.360s, P4/1m 30.341s, P4
Felipe Massa, 1m 30.743s, P18/1m 31.505s, P7
Alonso said that this was a hard one to read, but was happy with the performance of his F2012 as everything came together reliably and well to get him off to a good start. Massa blotted his copybook when he spun on his first fast lap in FP1, but was in stronger form in FP2.
Heikki Kovalainen, 1m 30.586s, P17/1m 31.932s, P8
Vitaly Petrov, 1m 31.983s, P20/1m 32.767s, P13
Kovalainen was very happy with his CT01s balance all day, and with a new front wing which enhanced grip. Petrov spent his time acclimatising further to his new environment, after a small but undisclosed problem hampered him a little in the morning.
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 29.790s, P11/1m 32.194s, P10
Mark Webber, 1m 28.467s, P5/1m 32.296s, P11
There were no problems at Red Bull, where it was clear that neither Vettel nor Webber was particularly chasing lap times as they did as much of their planned programme as the weather allowed.
Timo Glock, 1m 34.730s, P21/1m 32.632s, P12
Charles Pic, 1m 40.256s, P22/1m 34.770s, P22
Glocks time in FP2 was a major boost for the team who got no real test running with their very neat and light new car. The aero platform is extremely stable and they know they have a car for the first time that they can add performance to. Pic learned his way round in FP1, and did a grand job in FP2 in only a handful of laps.
Jenson Button, 1m 27.560s, P1/1m 33.039s, P15
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 27.805s, P2/1m 33.252s, P16
Button was happy to set the first fastest time of the year in FP1 and said that while the MP4-27 didnt feel in Albert Park as it had in Barcelona, it still worked for him. Hamilton echoed his sentiments, both adding the proviso that still nobody knows the respective fuel loads rivals were running and that the real assessment will begin tomorrow afternoon.
Romain Grosjean, 1m 30.515s, P16/1m 32.822s, P14
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 29.565s, P9/1m 34.275s, P18
Raikkonens car needed a change of steering rack in FP1, as Grosjeans required attention to the rear suspension. In FP2 both men kept their speed in check, conserving their E20s for the better conditions that are expected tomorrow.
Pastor Maldonado, 1m 29.415s, P8/1m 34.108s, P17
Bruno Senna, 1m 29.953s, P14/1m 34.312s, P19
No problems here, as both drivers completed as much of their planned programmes as the weather permitted.
Jean-Eric Vergne, 1m 31.178s, P19/1m 34.485s, P20
Daniel Ricciardo, 1m 28.908s, P7/1m 34.604s, P21
No issues at the Italian team as their two new drivers set about completing as much of their programmes as they could within the weather window, but running rain tyres on an F1 car was a first-time experience for Vergne.
Narain Karthikeyan, No time, P23/1m 42.627s, P23
Pedro de la Rosa, No time, P24/No time, P24
A troubled day for the small Spanish team who had worked miracles to get two cars ready. They were only passed off in scrutineering this morning. Karthikeyan had fuel pick up problems in FP1, and again at the end of FP2, while De la Rosa had minor problems with a brand new and untried car which prevented him from recording a lap time in either session.
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