copyright: HOCH ZWEI
Japanese Grand Prix Practice – Vodafone Mclaren Mercedes
“Always encouraging to end the day fastest”
Suzuka, Friday October 7
P1 programme 20 laps 1m33.634s 1st
P2 programme 32 laps 1m31.901s 1st
“It’s always fun driving around Suzuka, particularly when you have a good car beneath you. This is an amazing circuit – the first sector is phenomenal; there is no rest, I don’t think you breathe through that whole sector. It’s all about getting it together and finding a balance that lets you flow through there.
“And the car feels good around here. I don’t really know what to take from today in terms of where we stand, but the car feels pretty good. We tried a couple of different fuel-loads: on heavier fuel, the car feels okay through the high-speed changes of direction, although there are still some areas to improve – particularly in the long runs.
“The important thing for us is to get the car sorted and ready to challenge for victory.
“My crash helmet for this weekend features the Japanese flag and the words ‘JB’ and ‘Jenson’ in Japanese on the sides and the back. It’s similar to the helmet I wore in Monaco, and I’ll be auctioning it off after the race to raise money for the people who’ve been affected by the earthquakes and tsunami here in Japan.”
P1 programme 18 laps 1m33.725s (+0.091s) 2nd
P2 programme 26 laps 1m33.245s (+1.344s) 8th
“Suzuka is a fantastic track to drive, especially when the weather’s as beautiful as today.
“Looking at the times, I think Red Bull typically carries less fuel than us during Friday’s long-run practices – that’s often been the case throughout the year – and we’re often closer in the races. I think our long-run pace, particularly on Jenson’s car, looks good: I think we’ve got a good chance of being very competitive. Also, our pace over a single lap also looks very good.
“Actually, I think looking after the tyres during the race will be the biggest challenge, because degradation could be a slight issue for the teams.
“After P2, the stewards were looking at my data after