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Friday analysis - a tale of two tyres 15 Mar 2013

Pirelli tyres.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, 14 March 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 15 March 2013 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W04.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 15 March 2013 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus E21.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 15 March 2013 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F138.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 15 March 2013 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India VJM06.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 15 March 2013 Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sauber C32.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 15 March 2013 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-28.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 15 March 2013 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR8.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 15 March 2013 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams FW35.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 15 March 2013 Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 15 March 2013 Giedo van der Garde (NDL) Caterham CT03 stops out on track.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 15 March 2013

Friday’s first two free practice sessions of the season in Australia were run in consistent conditions on a dry track and temperatures which ranged between 37 and 29 degrees Celsius. Teams took advantage of this to learn more about the behaviour of their cars on Pirelli’s medium and supersoft rubber, and to hone their set-ups ahead of possible rain on Saturday…

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 27.211s, P1/1m 25.908s, P1
Mark Webber, 1m 27.668s, P5/1m 26.172s, P2

Vettel reported good balance on his RB9 and, like most others, said that the supersoft tyre doesn’t last long and that the medium is a good race tyre. Both he and Webber were happy with the work they did and the mileage accrued, though the Australian had a half spin in the afternoon.

Mercedes
Nico Rosberg, 1m 28.013s, P7/1m 26.322s, P3
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 27.552s, P4/1m 26.772s, P7

Mercedes’ performance confirmed what they had shown in testing. Rosberg ended the day third fastest, but going into FP2 it was known that the gearbox had developed a problem, and before the session ended he was obliged to stop. Hamilton was quick in the morning, but damaged the floor after locking up going into Turn 9 and running off the road. Later, that caused him to go off, without serious damage.

Lotus
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 27.877s, P6/1m 26.361s, P4
Romain Grosjean, 1m 28.520s, P10/1m 26.680s, P5

Lotus evaluated new front wings, floors and exhaust outlets in both sessions. Both drivers were happy with the way things went, and feel they have a good basis for the rest of the weekend.

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso, 1m 27.547s, P3/1m 26.748s, P6
Felipe Massa, 1m 27.289s, P2/1m 26.855s, P8

Both drivers said their days were productive and that they were able to do a lot of work on set-up and various evaluations. They weren’t surprised by Red Bulls’ performance, and were encouraged by their own. The only real problem was a KERS glitch on Massa’s car in FP2, while he was on his run on supersofts.

Force India
Adrian Sutil, 1m 28.426s, P8/1m 27.435s, P9
Paul di Resta, 1m 28.910s, P13/1m 28.311s, P12

Sutil said that he was pretty pleased with the day’s performance as he returned to F1 competition, but Di Resta had an off in the morning on the marbles thrown on to the track in Turn 6 by other drivers’ antics. He later came to believe there might be damage from that as he struggled with his VJM06’s balance all afternoon.

Sauber
Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 28.786s, P12/1m 28.187s, P10
Esteban Gutierrez, 1m 30.203s, P16/1m 28.772s, P15

Hulkenberg described it as a challenging day and said there is plenty more work to be done on the Sauber. Gutierrez had an unspecified problem in the morning, but was otherwise happy with the way his first day as an official Grand Prix driver went.

McLaren
Jenson Button, 1m 28.440s, P9/1m 28.294s, P11
Sergio Perez, 1m 28.597s, P11/1m 28.566s, P13

McLaren were way off the pace, as both Button and Perez struggled with ride quality and lack of downforce. The team have a lot of work to do overnight attempting to do as much as they can to offset the shortcomings for the rest of the weekend.

Toro Rosso
Daniel Ricciardo, 1m 30.969s, P18/1m 28.627s, P14
Jean-Eric Vergne, 1m 30.729s, P17/1m 28.968s, P17

Toro Rosso admitted that they got the set-up wrong in FP1, but changes for FP2 reaped big dividends for Ricciardo as he moved up. Vergne had a spin in Turn 4 in the afternoon.

Williams
Pastor Maldonado, 1m 29.443s, P14/1m 28.852s, P16
Valtteri Bottas, 1m 29.928s, P15/1m 29.386s, P18

Williams admitted that they tried different set-ups all day and that they didn’t get the best from their new FW35.

Marussia
Jules Bianchi, 1m 31.263s, P19/1m 29.696s, P19
Max Chilton, 1m 32.176s, P20/1m 30.600s, P21

Both drivers were very happy and the team were upbeat about their performance. Bianchi said that he had a little bit too much understeer, while Chilton worked to learn the circuit while honing his set-up. For the first time, they had a clear upper hand over arch-rivals Caterham.

Caterham
Charles Pic, 1m 32.274s, P21/1m 30.165s, P20
Giedo van der Garde, 1m 32.388s, P22/1m 32.450s, P22

Caterham’s performance held no surprises for a team that don’t expect to be able to challenge Marussia until Spain in May. Pic said the performance on the supersofts was good, but that the mediums require more work on set-up. Van der Garde matched his speed, but after understeering off in Turn 3 in FP2 he was left stranded in the gravel when the anti-stall kicked in.

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