The moment has finally arrived as the last Grand Prix of the 2011 season got underway today in Interlagos. For HRT F1 Team the first day of practice sessions at the Brazilian Grand Prix was trouble-free. In the morning's first session, Czech driver Jan Charouz made his debut at a Formula 1 Grand Prix at the wheel of an F111 and made the most of his 90 minutes completing 37 laps (160 kilometres), more than any driver out on track.
Daniel's scheduled set-up programme was much more extensive as he also drove at the 4.309km track for the first time. The aussie completed a total of 75 laps to finish the day in 23rd place. Just behind him was teammate Vitantonio Liuzzi who regained his seat for the second practice session. Both Ricciardo and Liuzzi worked on improving the F111's grip, using both medium and soft compound tyres.
"It was fantastic, just to be on the track with people like Schumacher, Vettel and Alonso is incredible. It's a bit different to testing because there are a lot more cars on track so you have to make space for others to not cause traffic. I think I did quite a good job as I was pretty close to Daniel which was the main goal, I don't think five tenths are too much. Straight away the car felt quite good, it's very easy to drive but I would've liked to have had a bit more tyres because by the time I learnt the track the tyres weren't at their best but it's the same for everyone and I'm happy with my result. The aim was to do as many laps as possible and to get used to the car and the track and we did that".
"We tried to recover the fact that we didn't drive in the morning so, at the end of the day, it was a good afternoon. We did two runs with hard compounds to get back into the rhythm and into the balance of the car. We had a bit of an issue at the beginning so we had to tune the set-up of the car because there was some understeer in the slow sections and oversteer in quick ones. There car was better after these adjustments but we're still a little bit off from where we would like to be. Then we encountered some traffic on the soft tyre runs but, overall, the long run was quite competitive so we can be reasonably happy. It's not going to be an easy last Grand Prix but, apparently, the weather may change and anything can happen".
"It was another typical Friday without too much special to report on. We made a bit of progress in the second free practice from the morning but I definitely feel we are still a bit off our true potential. Now we've got the night ahead of us to make any change we want and hopefully be better for tomorrow. It's going to be close again with the Virgins but we need a little bit more to give them a good fight. It's a bit bumpy with not much room for error and quite an old school track which is nice to drive".
It was his first real F1 Grand Prix experience and he lived up to the expectations
Colin Kolles, Team Principal:
"I am satisfied with the job that the team and the three drivers have done today. In the morning Jan Charouz took Tonio's car and he was focused and worked well with the team. It was his first real F1 Grand Prix experience and he lived up to the expectations doing more laps than anyone else and finishing just 6 tenths behind Daniel. We've had a trouble-free day and Daniel and Tonio were consistent and managed to complete the scheduled programme in the afternoon. Our direct rivals remain within reach and I am confident that we can cut down the differences tomorrow".
Maximum temperature: Air 26ºC, Track 42ºC - Sunny
10.00-11.30 FORMULA 1 PRACTICE SESSION 1
Jan Charouz F111-002 #23 24th (37 laps) 1:19.577
Daniel Ricciardo F111-003 #22 23rd (33 laps) 1:18.952
14.00-15.30 FORMULA 1 PRACTICE SESSION 2
Vitantonio Liuzzi F111-002 #23 24th (42 laps) 1:18.476
Daniel Ricciardo F111-003 #22 23rd (42 laps) 1:18.367