Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton completed the first two practice sessions at Suzuka today for the Japanese Grand Prix.
The track here at Suzuka is such great fun to drive and our car was feeling fantastic around it today. We were quite fast over one lap and on the long runs but the important thing is how we manage the tyres as that will be the key to success here. There's a lot of work ahead of us but I'm really looking forward to the rest of the weekend and I hope we can annoy the Red Bulls a little bit.
This track is so beautiful to drive, it's fast and flowing, and our car really does feel good here. But it's also a very unforgiving and challenging circuit; you're always on the limit so the trick is to balance and control that limit. I'm happy with where our car is after the first practice sessions today although, of course, we would love to be more competitive. We've got some work to do this evening on the tyre management in particular. It's too early to think about what we can achieve but I'm looking forward to a competitive qualifying tomorrow and then we will have to see what we can do in the race.
We had a slightly messy session this afternoon which didn't quite run as smoothly as we might have hoped. Both drivers suffered flat spots with the tyres, which forced us to adapt our programme, but they were still able to complete enough running to get a good feel for each compound and how it's working at this circuit. The tyres will be very sensitive to brake locking in race conditions, which will be a major consideration for everybody, and we wanted to put as many miles as possible on them today in order to find out what the performance and durability limits of both compounds are. Our pace looked competitive this morning, a little less so this afternoon, but as always on Friday the varied fuel loads up and down the pit lane complicate things somewhat. We will do our analysis tonight to see where we can improve and hopefully take another step forward tomorrow.
Our priority today was to learn as much as possible about the hard and medium compound tyres and we completed more than two race distances in order to do so. As we have seen before this season, we looked strong in first practice before the competitive order apparently shifted again in the second practice session, but we will see exactly where we stand in qualifying tomorrow. We will be working hard this evening in order to understand what more we can do in order to improve both the speed and consistency of the car ahead of tomorrow. It was a solid start to the race weekend.
Mercedes AMG Petronas