Robert Kubica, R30-05
Free Practice 1: P5, 1:44.080, 18 laps
Free Practice 2: P5, 1:41.576, 31 laps
Robert: It was an unusual start to first practice today with a damp track, but once it had dried out, the situation was similar to what we found last year: the track evolution was huge, and the tyre degradation was pretty high, too, which made it hard to do much consistent running because the circuit was getting better as the tyres got worse. It’s tricky to find a nice balance on the car here, because the off-camber corners are frustrating to drive and the high rear degradation means the car oversteers quite a lot. As usual, tomorrow will be a challenging day, too: we will complete final practice in daylight, before qualifying at dusk, and we will have to anticipate the change in track temperature and how it affects the car.
Vitaly Petrov, R30-02
Free Practice 1: P12, 1.45.445, 20 laps
Free Practice 2: P7, 1:42.096, 31 laps
Vitaly: The circuit was very dirty during first practice, and the tyre performance dropped off very quickly because of that, making the car difficult to drive. We made some good improvements between the sessions, particularly with the brakes, and it felt much better – plus the circuit cleaned up and grip levels improved. In the end, we got more laps done than we had planned, which will give us a good amount of data to try and improve further tomorrow.
Technical Debrief with Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer:
What was your assessment of the day?
It was a very normal Friday for us, with no dramas. We worked through our usual programme of setting the car up in first practice, then doing tyre evaluation and high-fuel runs in the second session.
How do you cope with the transition from daylight to night-time conditions?
It’s an odd situation because it’s the opposite to what we see at other circuits – the track temperatures drop for second practice, rather than rising. The temperatures were around nine degrees cooler in the second session, which gives much more overall grip, so you have to be careful to anticipate this with any set-up changes you make to the car.
How are the two types of tyre performing?
They look pretty good. As we anticipated, the degradation on the option looks pretty high, but this situation will improve as more rubber goes down. We didn’t have any warm-up problems with either tyre.
What will you be trying to improve overnight?
This is a circuit where you need to protect the rear tyres – but if go too much in this direction with the set-up, and make the car too comfortable to drive, then it costs you lap time. We were reasonably happy with the car balance today, but we will be working to improve further tomorrow to find the right compromise between qualifying and the race.