The first two Free Practice sessions for Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix took place in sunny and dry conditions at the Suzuka Circuit today, with all three drivers completing their planned programmes. Jerome D'Ambrosio stepped into car 25 for the...
The first two Free Practice sessions for Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix took place in sunny and dry conditions at the Suzuka Circuit today, with all three drivers completing their planned programmes.
Jerome D'Ambrosio stepped into car 25 for the first session as part of his evaluation programme, completing a total of 23 laps. He initially concentrated on collecting valuable aero data that enabled the engineers to evaluate the performance of the new aero parts. Timo had a slower start to the session, but still completed 17 laps and ended up splitting the Lotus pair.
In the second session, Lucas took his place in the car, as will be the case for the forthcoming two races. The temperatures began to drop slightly as cloud cover increased, and traffic became an issue as teams tried to get in as much dry running as possible. Both drivers completed 28 laps and finished well placed to make further improvements to the set-up tomorrow. On the Prime tyre, Timo set the fastest lap of the new teams, but was unable to get a good lap on Options, and at the end of the session Lucas and Timo were classified 21st and 22nd respectively.
Lucas di Grassi:
"For me this is easily the most technically challenging track of the season. There is no margin for any mistakes as the track is very fast and narrow and if you push too hard you're definitely going to go off. It was a real pleasure to drive the track for the first time. A lot of work has been done with the car today. We are still far from where we need to be but there is more to come from the car and myself over the next two days. Things are getting better all the time so I think we can make a good improvement for tomorrow."
"Today has been a fairly routine day and we kept to our normal programme. This afternoon the car wasn't feeling too bad at the start of the second session but when we switched to Option tyres we weren't able to find any time in them, which is a bit strange. I think we will need to review our set-up direction but as the weather is starting to change towards the cloud and rain forecast for the weekend, this will be the case for everybody. I think we will see rain tomorrow so we will see what those conditions bring for the car."
"It was something very special to be running here at Suzuka today. The track has a lot of history and is very interesting - a kind of 'Asian Spa' with a great blend of technical challenge mixed with some very fast corners. This was really my first proper run in dry conditions because the track was wet when I ran in Singapore. It is never possible to get a lot of laps because of the tyre allocation, but I still get to learn a lot in a very short time and I'm very happy about the way everything went today."
John Booth, Team Principal:
"Once again Jerome did a very solid, professional job in the first session and was able to give us some useful information on set-up. We have had to work hard on car set-up today but we seem to be going in the right direction. Unfortunately, neither driver was able to get the ultimate performance from the Option tyre. We're expecting heavy rain tomorrow, which hopefully will provide a good opportunity for us to qualify further up the grid."