• Valencia, Friday: Ross, “We had two pretty reasonable sessions today.”

The 2011 European Grand Prix weekend began today at the Valencia Street Circuit with two uninterrupted and busy practice sessions, held in warm but overcast conditions. Both MERCEDES GP PETRONAS drivers ended the day in the top ten after the second session.

Nico and Michael ran a total of 111 laps today which equates to 601 km, just three laps short of two race distances. The drivers focused primarily on race preparation and tyre evaluation. Today’s fastest time of 1:37.968s was 1.3 seconds quicker than the fastest Friday time from 2010.

Ross felt the team had two pretty reasonable sessions: “We certainly improved the car from the morning to the afternoon. We focused on race preparation work, along with looking at how the tyres behave here - they seem to be quite consistent on initial evaluation. There are some areas where we need to try and improve before Sunday, but overall I think we have a good base to work from going into the weekend.”

Norbert called today a “solid first day” at this untypical but nevertheless challenging street circuit in Valencia. He continued: “We completed lots of laps and Michael’s time for fourth place was respectable. Nico and his engineers still have more work to do with the set-up of the car, but I am sure the guys will work hard to get an improved base for tomorrow. Our long runs with the soft tyre in race conditions showed lap times which were quite consistent but not fast enough to challenge the top three teams. We will try to make further improvements before tomorrow.”