Conditions were wet and miserable for the two morning practices, meaning David and Christian used full wet tyres for both sessions. While the Japanese spectators tried to keep dry under their umbrellas on the grandstands, the Red Bull Racing duo...
Conditions were wet and miserable for the two morning practices, meaning David and Christian used full wet tyres for both sessions. While the Japanese spectators tried to keep dry under their umbrellas on the grandstands, the Red Bull Racing duo completed 27 laps, although a throttle sensor problem prevented Christian from starting his final run of the morning. In the afternoon, qualifying in Suzuka turned into a rain-interrupted affair.
As the rain stopped just over an hour before the start of qualifying, the team opted for David Coulthard to use intermediate tyres, for the first time this weekend. Obliged to complete his qualifying lap before the other drivers, David faced intermittent patches of standing water, but still set a highly competitive time to provisionally hold pole position for almost half of the session.
Light rain made track conditions more even for the next few drivers and Tukuma Sato, Red Bull Racing's Klien and three other drivers went faster. Towards the end of the session, the shower turned to heavy rain and the remaining drivers were forced to use wet tyres. Christian and David ended the session in fourth and sixth position respectively.
"I was a bit concerned that all the standing water on the track would prevent me from heating the tyres up properly for my qualifying lap, but actually it was not so bad. There's more understeer in the car when you use intermediate tyres rather than full wets, but you gain more rear stability meaning the car doesn't slide about as much on the entry to corners."
"Before this lap, we hadn't run the car on intermediates at all this weekend, so I had to just find the feeling of the car on the out lap. I don't think I could have done anymore being first out as I'd had no sight of the track beforehand."
"That was good. The car was pretty difficult to drive as I was on intermediate tyres, which meant there was a lot of understeer and it was hard to keep the car on the track. But, I pushed hard and it's good to be in front of my team- mate and the other drivers."
"The balance of the car felt good even through we were driving the car with a dry set-up, which we've got ready as it's likely to be dry for the race tomorrow. David was really helpful after his lap and came back to the garage to give me some good advice about the conditions."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director:
"Both drivers did an excellent job today. David had the handicap of having to go out first, on intermediate tyres, on what was still a pretty wet circuit. He did an excellent job, while Christian built on his performance in Brazil and delivered another strong lap."
"We were a little bit lucky with the rain shower at the end - it would have been nice if it had come two or three minutes earlier! But, it puts us in a strong position for tomorrow and hopefully we can look forward to a competitive race."