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Friday analysis - rain could help Rosberg topple Vettel 22 Nov 2013

Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W04.
Formula One World Championship, Rd19, Brazilian Grand Prix, Practice, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Friday, 22 November 2013 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd19, Brazilian Grand Prix, Practice, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Friday, 22 November 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9.
Formula One World Championship, Rd19, Brazilian Grand Prix, Practice, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Friday, 22 November 2013 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus E21.
Formula One World Championship, Rd19, Brazilian Grand Prix, Practice, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Friday, 22 November 2013 Daniil Kvyat (RUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR8.
Formula One World Championship, Rd19, Brazilian Grand Prix, Practice, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Friday, 22 November 2013 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F138.
Formula One World Championship, Rd19, Brazilian Grand Prix, Practice, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Friday, 22 November 2013 Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sauber and Marco Schupbach (SUI) Sauber Race Engineer.
Formula One World Championship, Rd19, Brazilian Grand Prix, Practice, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Friday, 22 November 2013 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India VJM06 with rearwards facing instrument attached to the camera mounting.
Formula One World Championship, Rd19, Brazilian Grand Prix, Practice, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Friday, 22 November 2013 Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams FW35.
Formula One World Championship, Rd19, Brazilian Grand Prix, Practice, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Friday, 22 November 2013 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-28.
Formula One World Championship, Rd19, Brazilian Grand Prix, Practice, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Friday, 22 November 2013 Giedo van der Garde (NDL) Caterham CT03.
Formula One World Championship, Rd19, Brazilian Grand Prix, Practice, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Friday, 22 November 2013 Max Chilton (GBR) Marussia F1 Team MR02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd19, Brazilian Grand Prix, Practice, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Friday, 22 November 2013

Rain in both Friday sessions at Interlagos interrupted everyone’s habitual set-up and dry tyre evaluation runs, but also hampered the intended running on Pirelli’s prototype 2014 tyres. Each team had two sets per driver, but very few of them were able to do any meaningful running on them because the conditions demanded either the intermediate or the full wet rubber. In general many drivers limited their running to conserve tyres in case it’s wet for the race. We take a team-by-team look at day one in Sao Paulo…

Mercedes
Nico Rosberg, 1m 24.781s, P1/1m 27.306s, P1
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 25.320s, P2/1m 28.147s, P5

Rosberg was very happy when he was able to beat Red Bull in both sessions, subject to the usual caveats about respective fuel loads, and believes that he can have a chance if the race is wet. Hamilton, meanwhile, said he sees “no hope” if it stays wet, as he has struggled all year with the Mercedes’ characteristics on a wet road, most especially with the throttle mapping. Two spins, one in each session, attested to how much a noted ‘rain master’ was struggling.

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 25.387s, P3/1m 27.531s, P2
Mark Webber, 1m 25.797s, P6/1m 27.592s, P3

No major problems here, though they were disappointed not to be able to properly run the 2014 tyres. Vettel said he got a decent baseline, while Webber reportedly had a KERS problem that got sorted.

Lotus
Heikki Kovalainen, 1m 26.133s, P9/1m 28.129s, P4
Romain Grosjean, 1m 26.570s, P13/1m 28.891s, P10

Both drivers were happy enough with what they achieved on a tricky day, after working to limit understeer during FP1.

Toro Rosso
Jean-Eric Vergne, 1m 26.593s, P14/1m 28.405s, P6
Daniel Ricciardo (pm only), 1m 28.739s, P9
Daniil Kvyat (am only), 1m 26.064s, P8

Once again, Kvyat made a major impression on his FP1 outing, as he confidently and comfortably outpaced Vergne. Later something slightly amiss was found in the Frenchman’s car. Ricciardo said it didn’t matter that much missing FP1, and that FP2 was “productive.”

Ferrari
Felipe Massa, 1m 26.248s, P11/1m 28.540s, P7
Fernando Alonso, 1m 25.593s, P5/1m 28.928s, P11

Alonso said it was difficult to predict the conditions as Interlagos changes frequently when it rains. Massa described his day as “difficult.” Ferrari avoided running when conditions were at their worst, to conserve the full wet tyres in case it’s really wet in qualifying or the race.

Sauber
Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 26.232s, P10/1m 28.560s, P8
Esteban Gutierrez, 1m 26.326s, P12/1m 29.049s, P12

Gutierrez said he was quite happy with the way his day had gone, but Hulkenberg said there was plenty of room for improvement on his C32’s handling balance, on both the intermediates and the full wets.

Force India
Paul di Resta (pm only) 1m 29.174s, P13
Adrian Sutil, 1m 27.115s, P15/1m 29.783s, P15
James Calado (am only), 1m 27.436s, P18

Sutil deliberately ran a lot of laps in FP1 so that the team could understand how best to use the intermediate tyres, then did limited running in the afternoon. Di Resta missed FP1 but said that he was reasonably happy with his car’s balance in FP2 though he didn’t get the optimum lap because of traffic. Calado once again impressed, lapping only three-tenths off Sutil in nine laps in his FP1 outing, which was his first experience of an F1 car in the wet.

Williams
Pastor Maldonado, 1m 27.358s, P17/1m 29.717s, P14
Valtteri Bottas, 1m 27.269s, P16/1m 30.425s, P16

Generally, Williams have a lot of work to do tonight in getting the tyres into their correct operating window.

McLaren
Sergio Perez, 1m 25.946s, P7/1m 30.748s, P17
Jenson Button, 1m 25.391s, P4/1m 31.770s, P22

McLaren looked good in the morning, less so in the afternoon as they conserved tyres. But they have a baseline set-up and know what they need to change to improve the cars if, as seems likely, it remains wet all through to qualifying.

Caterham
Giedo van der Garde, 1m 28.107s, P19/1m 31.118s, P19
Charles Pic, 1m 28.199s, P20/1m 31.165s, P20

No major problems here, though Pic had a sensor issue in FP1, when a software glitch gave Van der Garde upshift problems and kept him in second gear as he came back to the pits. Both issues were rectified quickly.

Marussia
Jules Bianchi, 1m 30.004s, P21/1m 31.061s, P18
Max Chilton (pm only), 1m 31.211s, P21
Rodolfo Gonzalez (am only), 1m 32.646s, P22

No problems here either, and Bianchi’s pace early in FP2 was particularly encouraging as the team aim to hang on to 10th place in the constructors’ championship.

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