Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton made their Grand Prix weekend debut as Vodafone McLaren Mercedes drivers earlier this morning at 10.05 during the first practice session for the 2007 Australian Grand Prix. The weather kept changing...
Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton made their Grand Prix weekend debut as Vodafone McLaren Mercedes drivers earlier this morning at 10.05 during the first practice session for the 2007 Australian Grand Prix.
The weather kept changing throughout the first session with the track slowly drying allowing the drivers to do their last run with dry tyres. Fernando was fastest with 1m29.214 whilst Lewis ended fourth with 1m30.878. The second session was dry and Lewis finished third overall with 1m27.829 and Fernando ended up as seventh with 1m28.040.
What was the focus of today's programme?
The team wanted to evaluate the two different tyre compounds provided by Bridgestone and complete some general set-up work. Obviously it was also Lewis' first time at the track.
How did the wet track in the first session affect today's planned programme?
The weather did compromise tyre evaluation slightly as the team was unable to use the dry weather tyres until the very end of the first session. As a result of the weather conditions in the first session both the extreme wet tyres and the wet tyres provided by Bridgestone were used. As the track remained dry in the second session the team conducted tyre evaluation as planned
What preparation had Fernando and Lewis done before taking to the track today?
Both drivers walked around the track with their engineers on Wednesday afternoon. The drivers do this sporadically to look at the surface texture, kerb details and also any marker boards.
"I'm really pleased to have started my first Grand Prix weekend with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes today. The weather conditions with the rain and the wind made things a bit tricky but we now have a good basis for the work ahead of us tomorrow."
"We almost completed the planned programme but the track conditions in the first session obviously had an impact. We are heading in the right direction which is positive and I'm looking forward to the next two days."
"I was so excited when I drove out of the garage for the first time this morning -- it was an incredible feeling as I have wanted to be a Formula 1 driver since I started karting and now I am and enjoying every single moment."
"The track is good particularly as I love street circuits and the whole atmosphere is amazing. Back at the McLaren Technology Centre we have done a lot of simulation work to prepare me for this weekend but it was good to actually drive it for real. The car feels good and the two sessions today were really useful."
"A good start for the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team and our two new drivers. We completed the planned programme in the second session with our main focus on tyre evaluation, but the red flag interruption did affect our progress. Both practice sessions were troublefree so we can look forward to the rest of the weekend."
"Our speed doesn't look bad for the beginning. Now the challenge is to achieve the consistency over a race distance with both types of tyres."
Fernando Alonso: MP4-22 03
Lewis Hamilton: MP4-22 04
T-car (Fernando): MP4-22 01