LEWIS HAMILTON MP4-24-02 P1 programme 25 laps 1m13.048s (5th) P2 programme 39 laps 1m12.749s (10th) Despite starting on a cold and somewhat gripless track, Lewis was immediately on the pace, setting a best time of 1m13.187s at the end of his...
Despite starting on a cold and somewhat gripless track, Lewis was immediately on the pace, setting a best time of 1m13.187s at the end of his opening six-lap run. He sat out the next half an hour while the rain showers intensified, but his return to the track was cut short by Grosjean's accident, which happened just as Lewis was ready to exit the pitlane.
He completed two further runs in the morning session (six laps/1m13/048s and five laps/1m13.278s) to wind up fifth fastest.
For the afternoon session, Lewis switched to longer runs, focusing on evaluating the performance of the Option tyre. He completed an initial four-lap run on the Prime (1m13.157s) before undertaking an 11-lap stint (Primes/1m13.016s) and nine laps on the Option (1m12.749s). At the end of the session, the mechanics effected a rear downforce change and Lewis completed six laps (1m12.882s)
"We had a good Friday," said Lewis. "We're not the fastest, but our long runs appear to be quite consistent. We're not as quick as the Red Bulls, but, for Brazil -- where we haven't traditionally been quick -- we're quite happy with the pace we have.
"In the past, we've always been quick in qualifying but not as quick in the race. KERS is worth close to four tenths in quali and around half that in the race, so I'm optimistic for tomorrow afternoon and think the consistency we showed today will reward us in the race."
Heikki completed four runs this morning, focusing on longer runs in order to sufficiently warm up the Prime tyre in the cooler conditions. After finishing his opening five-lap stint (1m14.785s best), his second outing (two laps/1m14.258s) was cut short when the session was stopped to recover the debris from Romain Grosjean's collision with a marker board.
With rain constantly threatening, he quickly completed two further runs (four laps/1m13.087s and four laps/1m12.989s) to end the first session in fourth position overall.
In P2, Heikki ran a near-identical programme to Lewis. Completing an exploratory, short, five-lap run on Primes (1m13.049s), the bulk of his afternoon was taken up with a 10-lap run on Primes (1m12.992s) and a further 10-lap run on the Option (1m13.079s). He ended the day 17th fastest, completing his running with a five-lap stint (1m13.110s).
Heikki said: "A productive day. The times may not necessarily show it, but we've made some good progress today. We followed a disciplined programme, focusing on our race pace and evaluating both tyre compounds. Our pace on both tyres appears to be very good and we suffered very limited degradation, so I think our race pace will be good."
Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
"Firstly, it's a great feeling to be back in Brazil, and, in particular, here at Interlagos. This circuit holds some very happy memories for the whole team, and they came flooding back this morning once the sessions started.
"Interlagos hasn't normally been a circuit where our race pace has been strong, but today's running has certainly showed a remarkable level of consistency, which we are confident will carry over into the race on Sunday.
"Today's times also show that the pace of both Red Bulls looks very strong, but we believe we'll have a competitive racing car for this weekend."
Vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"Not a bad day. We've been posting quick and consistent lap times in our race simulations. Lewis in 10th position was a little less than three tenths slower than Rubens Barrichello in third, and the three world championship contenders did similar lap times to Lewis. All 20 cars are separated by less than a second on their fastest laps, so it's closer than ever in Formula 1.
"I'm not too concerned about our positions in today's rankings. Tomorrow and on Sunday, we hopefully should be as competitive as in the last races, but of course there is always room for improvement."