Friday analysis - a tale of two tyres 15 Mar 2013
Fridays 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 Pirellis medium and supersoft rubber, and to hone their set-ups ahead of possible rain on Saturday
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 doesnt 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.
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.
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.
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 werent surprised by Red Bulls performance, and were encouraged by their own. The only real problem was a KERS glitch on Massas car in FP2, while he was on his run on supersofts.
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 days 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 VJM06s balance all afternoon.
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.
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.
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.
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 didnt get the best from their new FW35.
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.
Charles Pic, 1m 32.274s, P21/1m 30.165s, P20
Giedo van der Garde, 1m 32.388s, P22/1m 32.450s, P22
Caterhams performance held no surprises for a team that dont 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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