06/10/2012

What's happening this weekend?

F1 is the only series in action this weekend, in fact, the first practice sessions have already been held:

FP1 Results: di Resta 8th (1:35.299), Hulkenberg 9th (1:35.474), Karthikeyan 22nd (1:39.043).
FP2 Results: Hulkenberg 4th (1:32.987), Karthikeyan 23rd (1:37.701), di Resta 24th (No time set).

No-one used the softer, faster tyres in FP1 - it was all about data collection & refining setup. Although all teams will have been running different amounts of fuel, the lap times for Sahara Force India were still promising in comparison to their rivals - P8 & P9 overall, a good start!

FP2 started badly for Paul di Resta. After just six minutes he made an error, touching the grass with his rear wheel and flying off-track, into the barriers. It was a hefty impact, but thankfully the Scottish driver was okay. Perversely, i think this crash was a good thing. It's good to see drivers making mistakes on a Friday, it simply means they're pushing to find the limit of the car. How can you know where the limit is if you have not exceeded it before? Having said that, i would have preferred that the crash be towards the end of the session so Paul gathered more data during FP2. Expect extra running from Paul in FP3 to make up for it.

Elsewhere, Nico Hulkenberg had an impressively competitive showing, finishing P4. Despite not yet knowing fuel loads, pace is looking promising - you can just tell from the lack of corrections that the drivers are having to make. Big points could be on the cards this weekend - perhaps Sauber are catch-able after all!

Don't forget Sahara Force India have "stopped" developing their car this season, according to team personnel anyway. I did say at the time that it was mind games - clearly, i was right!

Meanwhile, Narain Karthikeyan had a decent day as he spent most of his on-track time analysing a new floor for HRT. In FP1 he was 0.6s quicker than his teammate de la Rosa, and 0.3s quicker than van der Garde who was driving for Caterham. In FP2, Narain was the slowest driver, 0.4 seconds slower than his teammate.

FP3 should give a much better indication of how Qualifying & the Race will play out.

Post-Friday quotes are here.

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