2012 CHINESE GRAND PRIX – FREE PRACTICE
“Still need improvement – but the car looks quick”
Shanghai International Circuit, Friday April 13
P1 programme 7 laps 1m37.106s 1st
P2 programme 29 laps 1m36.145s (+0.172s) 2nd
“It’s been a great day – it stayed dry in the afternoon so we successfully got through our run programme. We’re still working away to improve the set-up, but the new bits on the car seem to be working: the guys back at the factory have done a great job.
“We look competitive – and I’ve been particularly focusing on the longer runs for this weekend. We still need to make a few improvements but our car looks good.
“I’ll be changing the gearbox on my car before P3. It’s going to be a close qualifying session tomorrow – it’ll be a good battle and hopefully we can start as high up the grid as possible because I think we’ll still be in the race and among the leading group. I love the challenge of coming through and gaining positions.”
P1 programme 6 laps 1m39.199s (+2.093s) 8th
P2 programme 28 laps 1m36.711s (+0.738s) 6th
“It’s been a little bit of a difficult day for me. I was trying to find a good set-up but the cold weather made it difficult to understand the car because the tyres weren’t working perfectly.
“Tomorrow should be a bit warmer than today – we don’t quite understand the tyre temperatures and can’t get them quite in the right area. And if we make a set-up change and the tyre temp changes by five or 10 degrees, then that change goes out the window.
“That’s something for us to sort out, but we’ve got a lot of useful information from the low- and high-fuel runs. It’s been a tricky day but there’s a lot of good information to go through – we’ll find a better direction overnight.”
Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
“Today’s low temperatures meant it was difficult to chase the optimum tyre performance – particularly on Jenson’s side of the garage. However, there were plenty of positives to take away from today: our car looks to be quick, the upgrade package that we brought to this race also seems to be a positive step, and our long-run pace is also promising.
“This evening, we’ll be looking closely at how to best match the set-up to the tyre temperatures, and working further to refine the balance of the car, but this is undoubtedly a good place from which to start.”