Heikki Kovalainen: Heikki completed three short runs in the first session (three laps/1m52.331s best, four laps/1m51.255s and six laps/1m50.699s) as he evaluated the upgrade package for MP4-24.=20 Into the second session, he continued his ...
Heikki completed three short runs in the first session (three laps/1m52.331s best, four laps/1m51.255s and six laps/1m50.699s) as he evaluated the upgrade package for MP4-24.=20
Into the second session, he continued his progress, conducting two runs on the Prime tyre (four laps/1m51.008s and two laps/1m50.370s) before switching to the Option and recording best times of 1m49.701s (eight laps) and 1m48.952s (seven laps).
"I'm very happy," Heikki said. "I didn't have any problems today and I think we made some good progress between the sessions. Both tyre compounds seem to work okay, so that's another reason to be optimistic. I'm confident we can find a bit more time overnight, too.
"However, the other teams are also looking quick here, so it's not going to be easy. The main difference to the track this year is the change to the Turn 10 chicane: it's slower and tighter, and the kerbs are bigger so you cannot attack there because you can't afford to risk damaging the car."
Like Heikki, Lewis also back-to-backed the new front wing this afternoon, completing three runs (three laps/1m52.816s best, four laps/1m50.715s, three laps 1m52.920s). For the evening session, he evaluated the two different tyre compounds, running stints of three laps/1m50.867s and two laps/1m50.479s on the Prime, before switching to the Option and recording best laps of 1m50.319s (six laps) and 1m49.358s (three laps).
"I'm still lacking some speed in certain areas, so I need to work on that," he said afterwards. "The sessions were a little up and down for me today - I didn't have any major problems, but I wasn't as fast as I'd hoped to be.
"Today's not the important day though, and when the track gets a bit cleaner tomorrow, we'll have a better understanding of the tyres. The track's still very bumpy and all the traffic makes it quite difficult to get a clear lap, and the Turn 10 chicane is also worse than last year - a bit more dangerous - but nobody's had any problems there so it should be okay.=20
"The main thing for us is to analyse the data, try and improve the car and find some more time for tomorrow."
Martin Whitmarsh, Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes:
"Like most street circuits, the track surface is invariably not in great shape on the opening day of practice - and today was no exception. The heavy traffic and red flag stoppages in each session didn't help our progress through the day.=20
"We spent the majority of the second session comparing tyres and studying the effects of fuel-load and tyre degradation. We also need to look closely at the results of our back-to-back tests with the new FW6 wing. While we don't appear to be the only team suffering from oversteer issues today, it certainly looks like the cars setting the benchmark here are the Brawns and the Red Bulls. It will be interesting to see where everyone stands tomorrow after a night of studying the data and making improvements."
Norbert Haug, Vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport=20
"What a great atmosphere here at this special event in Singapore.This was absolutely impressive at the inaugural practice session last year - and it still is. We worked to our planned programme and I think Lewis, Heikki and the team have found quite a decent baseline. But it will be very tight again tomorrow, today, Jenson Button in fifth was separated from Lewis in ninth by less than half a tenth of a second."