Struggling Badoer admits that improvement must come quickly

Luca Badoer had admitted that he must make progress if he is to be competitive in this weekend’s European Grand Prix.

The Italian, substituting for the injured Felipe Massa, struggled throughout Friday’s two practice sessions, ending the day around 1.3 seconds adrift of his team-mate, Kimi Raikkonen.

Badoer’s day was also tainted after being caught speeding in the pitlane – a record four times. .

Despite this, the Italian expressed a degree of satisfaction with his performance.

“I did the programme that the team was expecting from me,” explained Badoer to reporters after the end of the opening day of practice for the European Grand Prix.

“We have to improve a lot and we have to work a lot. But considering the situation that without driving in eight months and it’s the first time for me on this track, I am very happy with the job I did today. I made no mistakes, I didn’t crash, I just drive to learn the track. Finally, it was a positive day for me.”

Badoer also claimed that his first taste of a Grand Prix weekend since 1999, had not been helped by his lack of experience around the Valencia Street Circuit.

“I have a double difficulty because the track is new,” he said. “It’s difficult in F1 to find the limit. You can arrive immediately at one second, but the last second is very difficult to bring it down, especially if you have a new circuit.

“So for me it was really difficult today but it was on the programme to arrive at this level. The difference with Kimi in lap time was not so big, so I think that we did a great job.

“Obviously we have a lot of work to do this afternoon and tomorrow because I want to be in a better position tomorrow.

“Until last night I was dreaming and flying and thinking I’m very happy, but this morning I brought myself down to earth and thought that now it is the day I have to work,” he said. “I worked a lot with my engineer and this is the future. The dreaming is finished and now I need the result.”

It is believed that race stewards fined Badoer 5,400 Euros for his consecutive pitlane offences.