Michael Schumacher posted a time of 1:35.973 in the second practice session today moving ahead of Lewis Hamilton who had posted the best time in Free Practice 1. Mercedes AMG Petronas’ technical programme focused on set-up changes, with intermediate tyres required for the early part of FP1. In FP2, the team worked on comparisons between the two dry tyre compounds on a variety of fuel loads.
“It was a trouble-free day, and I am quite happy with how our car is handling so far here. The balance of the car was reasonably good, and obviously a balanced car contributes a lot to lap time. As a team, we are a lot stronger in certain areas this season, and we have a much better base to work from, although we are not quite where we want to be with this car yet but I am confident we will get there. We will now have to look deeper into the data in order to find out where we really are here, but I am looking forward to tomorrow’s qualifying.” said Michael Schumacher.
Nico Rosberg who posted the second best time in FP1, moved down to 5th in FP2. He said “The conditions were so changeable today that it was difficult to take the right decisions in terms of set-up work, and we struggled a little with the front tyres. That may have been caused by the cold temperatures today, and can change very quickly between now and the race, so I am not too concerned.”
Ross Brawn explained that the programme had gone as planned, and that he was happy with the low fuel runs. The team would be concentrating on the race pace and try to understand the tyres for the optimum strategy on Sunday.
Lewis Hamilton who posted second best time after Schumacher in FP2, isn’t too concerned about the 5 place penalty bestowed upon him due to a gearbox change. He is very confident about the weekend and has said if he has to get to the podium starting from the back, then so be it. Hamilton and teammate Jenson Button (P6 in FP2) are having issues with the front brake locking up. Hamilton has said this makes the car vibrate crazily at high speeds and also affects visibility. The bumpy track isn’t helping either.
Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber posted the 3rd and 4th best times in FP2. Vettel is quite happy, and says though there is a big difference compared to the setup in Malaysia, but he cannot comment on how much of it has made a difference while driving, due to the different conditions of this track, the track temperatures are much cooler than in the previous two circuits. “It’s cooler here than at the last two races; I felt more comfortable, but we’ll see. It’s tricky to say if we look competitive. McLaren look good in all conditions.” he explained.
Lotus F1 Team reports track temperature was colder than expected meaning the car did not handle as predicted. Both cars exhibited understeer possibly symptomatic of the cool temperatures.