European GP: McLaren Mercedes Friday practice report

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen finished today's second free practice session for the European Grand Prix in fifth and sixth positions respectively. Driving on the new Valencia street circuit, Lewis completed...

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen finished today's second free practice session for the European Grand Prix in fifth and sixth positions respectively. Driving on the new Valencia street circuit, Lewis completed 31 laps and set a fastest time of 1m39.712; Heikki ran 30 laps and set a 1m39.954 best. This morning, Lewis was third with a 1m40.822 (21 laps) while Heikki came home fifth with a 1m41.163 (23 laps).

This weekend also marks the 200th grand prix for the McLaren-Mercedes partnership, which began at the 1995 Brazilian Grand Prix and has achieved 57 Formula 1 victories, 59 pole positions, two drivers' championships (for Mika H0x00e4kkinen in 1998 and '99) and one constructors' title (in 1998).

LEWIS HAMILTON

"Considering the dustiness of the track, we made a very promising start on set-up this morning. We were able to go quicker on each run without changing too much and we took a very good baseline into the afternoon session. In P2, our adjustments were again spot-on but the sheer volume of traffic meant it was difficult to immediately confirm our final set-up changes. Nonetheless, we're in pretty good shape and I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

HEIKKI KOVALAINEN

"I immediately found a good balance at the front-end and slowly dialled in the rear during the first session. But the track was very green this morning which meant there was little point in making big changes to the car. In the afternoon, we made a number of changes which seemed to pay off for us - by the end of the session, the car was working well and the balance felt really good. Today's progress is very encouraging."

RON DENNIS

"It's always an interesting engineering challenge whenever you arrive at a new circuit - and today in Valencia was no exception. We spent two very productive sessions concentrating on tyre choice, while running appropriate fuel levels. Lewis and Heikki also performed faultlessly, allowing us to collect plenty of valuable data which we will go through tonight."

NORBERT HAUG

"A great circuit and a first class job by the organisers and especially Bernie for the maiden race here in Valencia. For Lewis and Heikki and our team it was a good start to the weekend with fast and consistent lap times in race trim. We stayed clear of the walls which is very important here - you definitely should not lose valuable time on a new track because your car is in pieces and needs to be put together in the pits while your competitors are learning for qualifying and the race."

-credit: mclaren

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Lewis Hamilton , Heikki Kovalainen
Teams Mercedes , McLaren