The first practice sessions for the 2010 Japanese Grand Prix got underway today at the Suzuka circuit in dry and warm conditions ahead of the heavy rain showers forecast for qualifying tomorrow.
MERCEDES GP PETRONAS pair Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg completed 47 laps and 35 laps of the 5.807km circuit respectively, loved by drivers for its challenging layout, as they worked on the set-up of their MGP W01 cars.
“It’s a great feeling to be driving this track again. It’s really fun and a great challenge. I have always loved Suzuka and particularly the first sector which is cool and demanding at the same time. If you get it right, you enjoy it big time. I’m pleased with our practice today as the car looks better than I had expected here and I didn’t face any real issues. So now we hope for a clean qualifying tomorrow where we will try to achieve as much as we can.”
“It’s been quite a challenging Friday for me. Unfortunately my morning was hampered by a gearbox issue which cost me some running time at the end of the session which wasn’t ideal. From then on, I just haven’t been as happy with the car here. I had a lot of understeer which we haven’t established the reason for, so we need to look into that overnight. Things started to come together more on the option tyre which gives me hope that we can build on that progress tomorrow. It should be an interesting weekend with the rain so we will try to make the best of that.”
“It’s been an interesting Friday as we have worked to learn as much as possible from the dry track before the expected rain arrives this evening. Michael had a positive day with the car running well to allow him to get used to the track again and develop his set-up. Nico had a few challenges with a gearbox issue interrupting his programme this morning and a few concerns with the balance this afternoon. We have a lot of information to work with so we expect to make progress overnight. It could be an interesting qualifying if the rain comes so we’ll need to be on our toes.”
“There is certainly room for further improvements after today’s practice sessions but we have definitely experienced more challenging Fridays this year. Our race pace today looked quite reasonable but of course we are still not good enough to fight at the front of the field. The forecast for tomorrow is predicting rain so the order we saw today may change in different conditions. Michael and Nico did a good job today taking into account the current capabilities of our car and our target is to repeat this level of performance tomorrow and on Sunday.”