Drivers on Chinese Friday free practice
Kimi Räikkönen: “It’s not often that you have a perfect car on Friday and there are certain things we have to improve. To be honest, it doesn’t matter if you are the slowest car on Friday if you are fast for the rest of the weekend. We now just need to look at the information and change the usual things on the car to improve it. We’re aiming for better results than what we’ve achieved from the last two weekends. For sure, we have some work to do on the car. We tried some different things with the set-up today so we have some information to look at, and we know there are certain areas where we have to improve.”
Romain Grosjean: “We had strange conditions this morning and a little bit of a difficult session this afternoon to be honest. We’re not where we would expect to be, partly due to the low temperature which we didn’t expect. We’ll analyse what’s changed coming from two warm weekends to here where it’s pretty cold and has changed the game. On a positive note I’m comfortable with the way the car feels; we have a few set-up issues but it’s not as if the car is nowhere. I’m sure we’ll improve tomorrow, and of course if the weather changes again then everything will change. It’s never easy to learn a new track in varying conditions, but it was good to get out there and find my way around, and also to get a proper impression of the intermediate tyres which is a bonus for me. The track itself is quite nice to drive, and I was pleased to be reasonably close to Kimi who obviously has a lot more experience around here. I’ll be working late with the engineers tonight.”
Nico Hulkenberg : “A very short FP1 with the mixed weather, but the running I managed was still useful because we did a few laps on the medium tyre towards the end of the morning. Then we had a very smooth FP2 in the dry conditions, which allowed us to complete all our objectives with long runs and tyre evaluation. Already I have a positive feeling in the car: it feels good to drive and I’m happy with the balance.”
Paul Di Resta : “It was a solid afternoon session and a positive start to our race weekend. The baseline set-up was pretty good to begin with and we just worked away at fine-tuning that during the session. As for the tyres, I would say the medium and softs are quite similar and we managed to get good data during the long runs on both compounds.”
Jules Bianchi : “It was my first ever practice session in Formula One and my first time driving the Shanghai circuit, so there was quite a lot to learn. We tried to do as much as possible, but the weather made things difficult and we didn’t do a lot of laps. After the install lap the track was still a bit damp in places, but almost immediately it started to rain again so we decided to wait for conditions to improve. I went out for a timed lap on the intermediates towards the end before switching to the dry tyres, but the track was very low grip and it was hard to push to the limit. It was good to work with the team and any time in the car is always valuable experience.”
Heikki Kovalainen : “A bit of a tricky day and one where I’m not sure how much we’ve learnt. The conditions this morning meant we didn’t learn too much, even though it was good to get some mileage on the inters, and this afternoon I had a few issues trying to find decent grip but we can work on that tonight. I’m pretty certain we can find quite a lot more from the whole package for tomorrow so let’s see where we find ourselves when it gets serious on Saturday afternoon.”
Vitaly Petrov : “I had a slightly interrupted session this afternoon with maybe one run lost to an alteration to the front suspension early in the session, but despite that I’m reasonably pleased with how the rest of FP2 went. Tyre degradation doesn’t look too bad on either compound and I think we can find more time with some changes to the mechanical grip, so with some hard work tonight I think we can be ok for tomorrow and the race on Sunday.”
Photo: Jakob Ebrey Photography
Lynn on top in Monza British F3 free practice
Fortec Motorsport sprung a 1-2-3 surprise at Monza this afternoon, British rookie Alex Lynn leading home his team-mates Pipo Derani and Hannes van Asseldonk in free practice for the weekend’s rounds of the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series.
Fortec’s trio were impressive in this afternoon’s dry track conditions, Essex-based Lynn posting a best lap of the Italian Grand Prix track of 1m 46.607s, a tenth quicker than Derani, who had led the way for much of the session.
Lynn, who was only seventh fastest in the wet morning practice, said: “This morning in the wet we were just preparing for qualifying tomorrow, bedding in pads, scrubbing tyres and that sort of thing, so it didn’t really count for us. This afternoon was really good: we went through our programme and finished up fastest.” Lynn was quickest in free practice last week at Oulton Park, but failed to repeat his pace in qualifying: “These times don’t count, as we saw last week, so I am saying nothing more.”
Brazil’s Derani was happy but a little disappointed not to have ended the session quickest: “I think I could have gone a little bit quicker because I made a small mistake, locked a little bit the wheels on my fastest lap, and I ran a little wide and lost a bit of speed. But overall it’s OK.”
Jazeman Jaafar was fourth fastest and the best of the Carlin men, the Malaysian just ahead of Carlos Sainz. The Spanish driver was blisteringly quick in the wet this morning, setting the best time a quarter-second clear of second-placed Derani.
“The track was really, really slippery this morning,” said Sainz Jnr. “With so many straights here and not so many corners you don’t have time to warm up the tyres, so you have to be really patient with the car and then suddenly the grip starts to come.”
Spike Goddard crashed his National Class Dallara at Ascari in the wet, bringing the first session to a halt five minutes early, but the T-Sport team did a sterling job to rebuild his car and put him back on track in the afternoon session, in which the Australian outpaced his class rival and countryman Duvashen Padayachee (Double R) by a clear second.
Official qualifying is scheduled for Saturday morning, with Round 4 of the championship in the afternoon ahead of two further races on Sunday.