FP3 and Qualifying Report - Saturday 24th March 2012
FP3: Damp track in S3 at start of session, dry, air temp 27° - 29°, track temp 32° - 35°
Q1: Dry session, air temp 32°, track temp 42°
Fastest laps / positions:
FP3: PET 1.39.704 19th / KOV 1.40.189, 20th
Q1: KOV 1.39.306, 19th / PET 1.39.567, 20th
FP3: PET 15 / KOV 14
Q1: KOV 9 / PET 6
Heikki Kovalainen, car 20, chassis CT01-#3: "That was an odd qualifying session for me. I know there's more time in the car because I definitely lost time on the second run on the options. I made a couple of small errors and felt the rear grip just wasn't quite there, so there was more to come, but just not today. Tomorrow I have to make sure I get past the cars in front as quickly as possible and get on with my race. The rain that's been predicted hasn't fallen during a session yet but who knows what could happen tomorrow. It's always interesting here and with the conditions we have it'll be all about making sure we get to the end of the race and see where we are."
Vitaly Petrov, car 21, chassis CT01-#2: "We had quite an aggressive strategy here for qualifying but it didn't quite pay off. I haven't really had a good balance on the car in either FP3 or the quali runs and I think we need to spend a bit more time looking at how to get the most out of the tyres. Now I'm looking forward to tomorrow. The car felt great last Sunday and on the long runs we've done here it's been more settled, so we'll aim to have a good start, avoid any problems in the first couple of corners and get on with the fight ahead."
Thierry Salvi, Renault Sport F1 Support Leader: "From the engine perspective this was a pretty decent performance. Since yesterday we have improved the engine cooling options and the driveability characteristics and they will both play a vital role tomorrow."
Mark Smith, Technical Director: "We opted for a longer run on the prime tyres for Heikki on his first run, giving us more tyre choice tomorrow and taking into account the positions he has to give up after the penalty he took in Australia. Both cars then ran on the medium compound on the second runs and it looks like we could have found a little more time if we had maximised the performance of the options. We have a plan for tomorrow that gives us the best chance of using the car's strong race pace so more work tonight and a strong day tomorrow should see us achieve the targets we have set ourselves for this weekend."
Tony Fernandes, Team Principal: "It is good to be back on track and to see how the team has developed again, particularly compared to where we were this time last year. There may have been a bit more time to be found in each car, but at the moment our car seems to be stronger in race trim than over a single lap. That is a positive as it means both Vitaly and Heikki can fight when it really counts, so we want to make sure we have a strong Sunday, avoid the reliability problems that we encountered last week and put on as good a show as we can for our home fans."