Jenson Button (Brawn GP) – 1st:The balance of the car really improved over the last couple of runs today after we had been struggling a little to find the right set-up early on. We completed a great deal of work with the two very different tyre compounds to establish what condition they would be in after longer runs. There seemed to be a lot of traffic on track today so my main concern was finding some clear air. It was a useful first day of running but we still have some work to do tomorrow to be happy with the balance for qualifying.
Nico Rosberg (Williams F1) – 2nd: It s been an interesting day for us. We ve learnt a lot, particularly about the tyres and how to get the best out of them here. The one major thing for us at the moment though is that this season we have consistency from one track to another. We re now going to a race and not getting any big surprises as we seem to have learnt from our mistakes from last year.
Rubens Barrichello (Brawn GP) – 3rd: Another positive Friday and we achieved some good work today which will set us up well going into the weekend. Our mainfocus was on the tyres and evaluating the best way of looking after the softer option tyre and it was very useful to find out what the tyres are capable of. We tried various things but I did struggle for grip with my last set of tyres this afternoon. There are a lot of marbles on the track at the moment but it should clean up going into the weekend.
Mark Webber (Red Bull Racing) – 4th: We did the normal tyre comparisons today, which are important ahead of Sunday as they might be quite a challenge here. The guys did a great job and the car ran faultlessly, which is always a benefit on a Friday. We ve dried out from Malaysia and, instead, we had perfect driving conditions today, so we ll see how we go tomorrow. I enjoyed it out there.
Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing) – 5th: Overall, it was a quite good day. Unfortunately, in the second practice we had a problem with the rear suspension, it was going to take too much time to fix so we had to stop earlier than planned. Nevertheless, we got some useful information from the car. The main task here for all the teams and drivers is to manage the different tyre compounds. As you can see, graining is the main issue, but thankfully I have my helmet and visor, which protects my eyes as the rubber is coming off!
Jarno Trulli (Toyota) – 6th: That was a busy Friday for me. This morning we had an electrical problem which cost us a bit of track time but we recovered to complete our programme of work on set-up and tyres. The track surface wasn’t in fantastic condition this morning but it improved during the day. In general I’m still not happy with the car’s balance and pace so I hope we can analyse the data tonight and aim for better tomorrow. Then we can target another strong result on Sunday.
Kazuki Nakajima (Williams F1) – 7th: It was a bit difficult out there for me today. The tyres were behaving strangely this morning but they did improve a little this afternoon. I was also struggling to find a good balance. I now need to see where I can improve for qualifying tomorrow. We ll see how we go.
Timo Glock (Toyota) – 8th: So far things are going okay for us. The track was quite tricky this morning because there wasn’t much grip. I was sliding around on the green track and had to find a way to get the car together. But over the course of the day we sorted out a lot in terms of the set-up. The second free practice session was better and the car felt more together. So we have more work to do to get the car in the right direction for tomorrow. But overall this has not been a bad start to the weekend.
Heikki Kovalainen (Mclaren Mercedes) – 9th: The best corners on the Shanghai International Circuit are Turns Six and Seven the fast, sweeping left- and right-handers. The left is almost flat in sixth before you shift down a gear and change direction at very high speed. It s difficult to find the ideal set-up because of the variety of different corners: there s some heavy braking, fast esses and high-speed changes of direction, which require a good aero package, and some slower corners where mechanical grip is important. It s all about compromise it s a real challenge for the drivers and the engineers. But at least you can overtake mainly into Turns Four, 10 and 13 so I hope we ll see some great racing this weekend.
Sebastien Bourdais (Toro Rosso) – 10th: Our weekend seems to have started off quite well. We have made progress in terms of understanding the car and using it to its best. There is still some work to do, specifically in terms of making better use of the Option tyre. Actually I was quite surprised to see how well they are holding up and they definitely have more than one lap in them. I m not saying we ll run them for 30 laps, but it s much better than expected. We can definitely see that the small updates we have on the car since Malaysia are working well.
Adrian Sutil (Force India) – 11th: It is a change to be here at this time of year. We are used to having around 30 degrees here so with the cooler temperatures it’s much easier to drive although the tyres take a bit longer to warm up. The medium tyres are okay over the longer run, but very hard over a single lap. The supersoft on the other hand is fine for one lap but not as bad as we expected over the longer runs. Overall it went okay, we completed our work and the general balance is good. I’m pleased with the position so I think it was a good start.
Felipe Massa (Ferrari) – 12th: We are in a difficult situation on the technical front, but when one thinks of what happened to those who we are close to and in the daily life of the people of Abruzzo, everything else takes on a different perspective. I hope that having the “Abruzzo nel cuoreâ€ message on the cars, as requested by President Montezemolo, might help to make these people feel less alone. As for the track, I can say our fight for the championship is ever more compromised. Here we are also running without KERS and as a result, we are losing even more performance, in addition to not having as much aerodynamic downforce as the best cars. We must try and push as hard as possible on the development of the car, but we know it will be very hard to catch up. The only recipe for getting out of this difficulty is to work.
Lewis Hamilton (Mclaren Mercedes) – 13th: I really enjoy racing in Shanghai the track is a good blend of fast and slow stuff and it throws up a few nice challenges for the drivers. Finding the right set-up is important, you need speed and balance through the high-speed corners but decent mechanical grip for the hairpins. We got it spot-on last year, and while I don t expect us to enjoy that sort of performance advantage this season, I think we re all looking forward to a good showing. Hopefully, some of the upgrades we ve added to MP4-24 for this race will have a benefit: it would be very encouraging if we could qualify a little further up the grid and be regularly challenging for points.
Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) – 14th: The balance of the car isn t bad and one doesn t feel the lack of KERS. The point is that we are too slow compared to the teams currently at the top of the order. We must try and improve the car: at the moment, we are not able to fight for the title. We must not give up the fight because, with the whole team working hard, we can get back into a winning position. It s not an easy time, but our group is strong and we know what needs to be done to get out of this situation. The softer tyre seems to work better than it did in Australia.
Sebastien Buemi (Toro Rosso) – 15th: It s my first time here and beforehand I spent a lot of time on the Red Bull Technology Simulator and it was definitely a big help and I plan to use it more in the future. It is difficult to quantify, but for sure it helps. I had a technical problem in the morning which cost me some time, but everything was back to normal this afternoon and we were able to make a step forward. We look more competitive than in Malaysia and we are definitely improving. I didn t get a perfect lap today, so I think I can do a lot better tomorrow. I like the track; it s very big, very new, very everything!
Nelson Piquet (Renault) – 16th: The track conditions were quite poor early on but later in the day things were a bit better. We improved the car between the two sessions, but we still need to find more performance and I m still not totally happy with the set-up. So we still have a lot of work to do tomorrow morning to make sure we get the most from qualifying.
Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber) – 17th: We completed our standard Friday programme and tried to learn more about the nature of the track and to understand the tyre compounds. While the option tyres are quite fragile, it is difficult to make the prime tyre work. Additionally, this was the first time I was running KERS at a Grand Prix weekend. There were a lot of tests to do. Now we have to check and evaluate the data.
Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber) – 18th: As is normal for us on Fridays we focused on tyre evaluation for the race. They do not really work as we would like them to. We now have to try to improve the balance of the car.
Fernando Alonso (Renault) – 19th: Although we are at the bottom of the timesheets, I don t think we should be too worried as we concentrated more on race configuration today. Tomorrow morning in the third free practice session we will be preparing for qualifying and so I think we can remain optimistic for the rest of the weekend. We need to try to reach Q3, as we did in Malaysia, and aim to score as many points as possible. I think overall today we struggled to find the right set-up, but even looking at the times, we still have high hopes for this weekend.
Giancarlo Fisichella (Force India) – 20th: I’m not particularly happy with how today went. I am struggling with the car balance at the moment. It’s not consistent just yet and I don’t feel entirely comfortable. At the moment we don’t have a problem with the tyres – in these temperatures we are pretty much okay. We have some ideas of what we can do so I think we will improve for tomorrow.