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Schumacher rolls back the years on frustrating first day: ” I feel it”
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Posted By: James Allen  |  16 Mar 2012   |  9:41 am GMT  |  106 comments

After all the hype and the build up to the new season it was rather a frustrating first day of the new season in Melbourne. Rain affected both sessions, the second one more than the first and the amount of dry running was limited.

Michael Schumacher set the fastest time in the afternoon on a drying track; not hugely significant in itself save for the impression that the 43 year old seven times champion is excited by this new Mercedes and the step closer to the front that it represents.

Red Bull looked like they were carrying lots of fuel all day and never showed their hand, McLaren delivered on expectations, looking competitive and setting the fastest times of the day in the morning, with Jenson Button heading Lewis Hamilton in Free Practice one, which featured around 40 minutes of dry running. The Ferrari looked a handful, Alonso sliding the car aggressively in search of a lap time. Felipe Massa had an off in the morning and looks some way off Alonso’s pace.

But the attention is on Mercedes at the moment, not least because they did not run the new passive F Duct system which has been cleared by the FIA’s Charlie Whiting. Perhaps we will see it on the car tomorrow. It’s a powerful tool, but its benefit will not be seen here. Malaysia and especially China with its long straight will really show the benefit.

“Today was a nice start into a hopefully exciting season, and certainly two promising sessions for us,” said an upbeat Schumacher. “However, I would not go so far as to speak about being confident, as the weather conditions were too mixed to gain a clear picture. We know what Friday sessions are for and don’t know what fuel loads others were running. On the other hand, it is good to see that we were competitive in different circumstances today and that the car provides good handling – I just feel it.”

On his first competitive outing in an F1 car for two years, Kimi Raikkonen lost time this morning when he needed to change the steering rack; he managed just 8 laps in the dry and left it until the end of the second session to go out. A grand total of 15 laps for the great comeback.

HRT suffered to prepare two cars, De la Rosa managing just one lap in the second session, although Karthikeyan covered 19 in the day. But it will be a bog challenge for them to qualify within 107% tomorrow, to avoid a repeat of last year where they were not allowed to start the race.

Marussia did well to cover 49 laps with a car, which had not managed to do any pre-season testing. This car is a completely fresh start after the disappointing cars of 2010 and 2011. It will be very interesting to see what kind of pace it has, but without any time to do set up work there will clearly be much more time to come from the car over the next few races.

With so much time lost today, the focus tomorrow will be on preparing the car for qualifying, especially for the less experienced drivers.

* Listen to Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn talk about how he’s building the team into a winning outfit on the JA on F1 podcast. CLICK HERE

AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX, Melbourne, Free Practice 2
1. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m29.183s 16 Laps
2. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1m29.292s + 0.109 19
3. Sergio Perez Sauber 1m30.199s + 1.016 23
4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m30.341s + 1.158 13
5. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1m30.709s + 1.526 14
6. Paul di Resta Force India 1m31.466s + 2.283 13
7. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m31.505s + 2.322 14
8. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 1m31.932s + 2.749 16
9. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m32.184s + 3.001 17
10. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m32.194s + 3.011 19
11. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m32.296s + 3.113 20
12. Timo Glock Marussia 1m32.632s + 3.449 17
13. Vitaly Petrov Caterham 1m32.767s + 3.584 15
14. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m32.822s + 3.639 11
15. Jenson Button McLaren 1m33.039s + 3.856 18
16. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1m33.252s + 4.069 11
17. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m34.108s + 4.925 21
18. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1m34.275s + 5.092 7
19. Bruno Senna Williams 1m34.312s + 5.129 17
20. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m34.485s + 5.302 29
21. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m34.604s + 5.421 31
22. Charles Pic Marussia 1m34.770s + 5.587 13
23. Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1m42.627s + 13.444 16
24. Pedro de la Rosa HRT 1

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106 Comments
  1. Paul says:

    What do you make of the new Marussia James? It looks like it ran reliably today and that it might not be that far off Caterham’s pace?

    1. James Allen says:

      Don’t know about pace but yes, they covered 49 laps so not bad for an untested car

  2. blackmamba says:

    Though Mercedes were undoubtedly impressive it’s worth noting that their time is slower than FP1 fastest time.
    Schumacher looks up for a fight, but I fear his best days are behind him and Rosberg has got his number.

    1. mohamed south africa says:

      I agree with the first part schumachers best days are definitely behind him but rosberg got his number?

    2. Glennb says:

      FP1 was run on a ‘damp’ track. FP2 was raining. The track didn’t dry out until the last 10mins or so. It was impossible to compare the 2 sessions really.

  3. Wu says:

    The main question I have is what’s the speed difference between the mediums and softs?

    On the face of it, Schumi’s time doesn’t look that impressive, only a tenth ahead of the Force India, but Schumacher was on the harder tyres.

    Anyway, it’s obviously too early to get excited for Mercedes, but it was still great to see him on top, both in the wet and the dry(ish).

    1. James Allen says:

      Half a second between softs and mediums here

  4. Dan Orsino says:

    A problem with every outing so far..

    I really hope Lotus can fix all these glitches in time for quali.

  5. Dmitry says:

    It’s great F1 is back!

    I am not sure about how dull were FP1 and FP2, but to us, fans, it was the beginning of a new season – the big thing regardless!

    Times are still irrelevant, especially considering the weather and track conditions. I think, 2-3 seconds will be shaved off easily tomorrow. Regardless a true “racing” starts tomorrow, then we’ll see who’s where!

    Vettel told after FP, that he was not pleased with car… I know it’s just bluffing, but by my perception, RBR has a very tough fight on their hands with McLaren looking very nice.

    1. Formula Zero says:

      FP1 and FP2 were not dull at all. It would’ve been dull only if it was sunny the whole way through. I was sitting on top of the pit lane at corporate box the entire day. The only car that sounded 100% smooth is Mercedes. The sound of the F1 car gives somewhat indication of how good it is. Don’t reckon Vettel was bluffing at all. RBR was out of shape and did not look like a pace setter in any condition. They might be running with full tank, but still both Webber and Vettel were struggling finding grip and downforce. I am sure that RBR will find solution to their problems, but the whole race on full tank might give their rivals advantage.

      Not sure about McLaren, keeping in mind that the team hasn’t won the contructor’s title in almost 15 years! Not sure why they spent almost the entire FP2 in the garrage where everyone was trying to get as much mileage as possible. The weather is not going to be that great for qualifying. So more data not only for the quali but also for other wet races during the season will be handy in terms of learning the behaviour of the new car.

      Over all, it was a fantastic start to the season. Only time will tell how many times will be fighting for the championship.

    2. Charalampos says:

      I disagree with you that it is bluffing.

      Just things did not work so good for RBR the last days of testing and in first practice. Vettel’s comments are just a true representation of how their LAST days went. This does not mean of course that they will still not lead by half a second to 7 tenths the rest of the teams. They always hide more pace than others.

  6. Rosd Jackson says:

    The thing I found interesting to hear today was that Marussia are using the McLaren wind tunnel. Funny how they’re the only two teams without a step nose. Coincidence? Wouldn’t hurt McLaren to have a junior development team.

    1. Richard says:

      They are already in “partnership”

    2. Iwan says:

      They have a technical agreement in place.

  7. Tank says:

    Was good to hear you during practice, James. Nostalgic, now just coax Murray back into the comm box!

  8. Darren says:

    What time does the race start (UK time)? That Ferrari looks a handfull! If Jenson qualifies well he is my tip to win.

    1. MISTER says:

      Race starts at 06:00.

  9. Trespasser says:

    What’s with Kimi and the steering rack? They modified it once this year to make it more to his linking, now they changed it again.

    1. Dmitry says:

      It’s just a curse for anyone driving a “Lotus” branded car…

      last year it was Trulli, this year it will be Kimi)))

    2. kfzmeister says:

      There are dozens of different racks/ systems available, yet lack of testing time robbed them of valuable time to figure things out.

    3. Stone the crows says:

      He’s looking for it to give him better input/feel. It’s probably not Lotus’ biggest concern, but I’m sure they’ll take someone with Kimi’s experience seriously.

    4. Rich C says:

      He needs to ask Grosjean how to make it work!

  10. SK Anand says:

    Some as James have mentioned, have cleverly hidden their hand and we will know tom and on race day what the real package is all about. Michael with all his skill and experience knows that it would be too early to show the hand of the silver arrows. one can smell the whiff of nostalgia and class in the air…and we will know this season.

    1. Formula Zero says:

      Schumacher knows how to build and develop a medium team to a race winning team. His age might be against him, but his input will benifit Mercedes for years to come. Schumacher winning a race let alone WDC would be THE STORY of this season. Let’s hope we witness the old Schumacher that dominated F1 for so many years and basically rewritten the F1 record book.

  11. Richard says:

    Difficult to read much into these times. Teams were using differing tyres and fuel loads which give false impression. I suspect Red Bull will come up in FP3 as the teams set the cars up for qualifying, but only in qualifying will we really know where they all are.

    1. Glennb says:

      And the weather was all over the place all day. The support races got the best of the weather…

  12. Andrew Woodruff says:

    I feel the natural order has been restored! Come on M Schu!

    McLarens look ominously quick to me; I have a sneaking suspicion they may be the team to beat here – not Red Bull. The certainty everyone seems to have that the Bulls are going to suddenly show massive pace tomorrow, seems strange to me. They weren’t at the sharp end of the times at the final test in Spain, and decidedly low key in FP1&2 in Melbourne. Ok, maybe they haven’t done any low fuel running, but isn’t that a concern in itself? The balance of the car changes significantly, so I understand, when you take the fuel out, and they haven’t tested that once yet. I wonder if this year they may be being to damn clever/secretive/paranoid(?) for their own good, and have lost sight of the task at hand.

    I’m going to predict a Button pole, but a Hamilton race win in a reversal of the two drivers’ traditional strengths.

    I’ve got my F1 timing app (20 quid – cheeky) and JA on the radio. Roll on 6am!

    1. Formula Zero says:

      McLaren is pretty unpredictable based on the times set on FP1 & FP2. And also doesn’t matter how handful Ferrari looks, Alonso still showed great pace on a single lap. So it will be until Sunday we won’t know who really is the real force to be reckoned with this season. Melbourne weather is really damp, cool & rain is predicted on Saturday. Let’s just hope that the racing on Sunday is an exciting one. I must say, Pirelli has done outstanding job so far leading into the first race.

    2. Hutch says:

      Re: the F1 timing app – Don’t do what I did and leave it on for 30 mins whist at the track – battery drained completely. Fantastic app when it was working though. The live timing really was live; you could see on the app who was coming down the main straight and look up and there he was!

    3. Sol says:

      Ooooh!!! Dejavu…1999, either Hokenheim or N-ring, not sure. Mika behind & Zonda infront of MSC, Zonda in the middle of the track, MSC has to either go left or right, goes left to take racing line into right hand corner, Mika on fire, goes right, pass Zonda, pass MSC in to corner first…Mika’s words in the interview,”…as you could see, the car was very fast…”.
      The Macleran Boys…do build explosive machines, & with LH…dangerous.
      It is absolutely vital, to us as viewers, for MSC to not be in the best machine. We cannot have dominace. MSC is a fighter to the death, his proven it over & over, i believe you never lose that spirit. FA & LH are killers of the highest order too, SV & JB to me, are not as relentless, KR is very fast, but too cool.
      When we look at each of the drivers entry into F1, correct me if i’m wrong, none have proven to be as ruthless in the pursuit of victory as MSC, without the best machine on the grid. I conclude with the prayer that the machinery that these men have are more or less on par. Amen.

      1. Andrew Carter says:

        You mean Spa 2000.

        And your conclusions that the machinery is ona par with each other is based on what exactly?

  13. Andreas Myrberg says:

    I am not a hugh Schumi fan, but, if he says that “I just feel it”, he knows what he is talking about. Finally for him a balance in the car which is good for him so he has a base to continue to work on. This is the most important thing you can have in a car as all development is based on this. That has been the problem with the Mercedes the last 2 years. The balance has been off so they could not develop the car during the year as they did not really know what was “wrong”.
    Doesn’t mean they will win this, but finally now somewhere to start for them.

  14. franed says:

    Now they get to keep/ hold over a set of drys for tomorrow, is that right James?

    1. Formula Zero says:

      Saturday’s Melbourne Weather: Partly cloudy, isolated shower until early afternoon (2pm est), sw wind averaging 20 km/h, 0-0.2mm rai low moderate rain. Max 22°C

    2. Formula Zero says:

      And yes they do get to keep several sets of drys for tomorrow.

    3. Gareth says:

      No, the tyres are taken away regardless to my understanding.

  15. Richie Hezz says:

    Did the FIA enable race specification DRS rules in the final part of the session to test its allocated DRS zones? To inform any decisions about possibly lengthening or shortening the zones for the race?

    1. anonymous says:

      No. Some teams have protested.

  16. AH Jordan says:

    Hate to start on a negative, but I’m already missing being able to watch the FP sessions online on BBC iPlayer…

    …thankfully I’ve managed to come to an arrangement with a friend who doesn’t use their Sky Go login to let me use it and watch the F1 coverage online…but I probably won’t have the login in time for Sunday’s race…

    1. blackmamba says:

      Go to FirstRow.com on the motorsport section and you can watch free to your heart’s content.

  17. JohnBt says:

    Still can’t tell the pecking order, have to wait for Q3 tomorrow. Even then the race pace can change the whole picture.

    Shucks, Kimi ran so little laps today. As said many times before winter testing does not mean anything.

  18. iceman says:

    Is the benefit of Mercedes’ F-duct system really on the long straights? I’ve read elsewhere that it’s more about maintaining the balance of the car when the DRS is deployed (shedding downforce at the front to match the rear) so it can be used more easily in high speed corners.

    1. Dmitry says:

      I guess, yes (= only on long straights). Even Mercedes thinks so – they haven’t used it today, possibly knowing it won’t be too much a difference here.

    2. anonymous says:

      Craig Scarborough says so and he’s a bright head.

      The Sky commentary said the talk of the paddock was that they’d stall the lower beam wing, which would mean the exact opposite, since Craig supposed they’d stall the front wing to maintain balance.

      James said they did not use the new F-Duct system at all (which you could probably spot when the DRS is open). Watching the 2nd practice I found the hole in the nose cone pretty huge, which would indicate the F-duct-front-wing could be in place. I’m puzzled to the maximum, everyone says something different.

      James: It would be glad if you could write an article summing up the F-fuct rumors and what’s the latest news and speculation on that.

    3. J_Damper says:

      Scarbs says it is blowing the front wing to maintain balance when DRS deployed as you say, however Autosport are saying that it blows the rear-wing main plane, and are even showing a diagram of the cross section of wing.

      If it just blows the rear wing then it is just for top speed, if it blows the front wing then it will have double benefit of balance and top speed.

  19. Eduan says:

    Well I think he will spring a surprise this weekend

  20. mo kahn says:

    Statistically he is the greatest ever.. So no surprises here :)

  21. Kevin Green says:

    I did state a few posts back even if the Ferrari was not on par with the other top 3 cars alonso would be there or thereabouts regardless! that’s why i without a doubt state him as the best post Senna.

    1. Formula Zero says:

      Ferrari will have great quali pace throughout the season, not sure about the entire race though. And Alonso is one of the very few drivers that can get the best of this Ferrari. So he will be fighting hard with everyone at the top in every race.

      1. Rich C says:

        ehhh… what? Better check that crystal ball!

    2. hero_was_senna says:

      Completely agree

  22. CarlH says:

    That picture of Shumi is fantastic.

  23. Andrew Carter says:

    I know Glock’s very good in the wet anyway, but considering its the first time ever that that Marussia has been driven in anger, 12th and only 3.5s off Schumacher is damned impressive.

    1. Tyler says:

      Well said… and not even being mentioned… no news sites ive checked.. nor James Allen…nor the Speed commentators in the states…crazy. Granted its just friday…but come on…very cool.

  24. Aidin says:

    Hi James,
    Do you think we might see Raikkonen finish in the top 5 on Sunday?

      1. Glennb says:

        Possible… if he gets his butt into the seat for a few practice laps. That certainly wouldn’t hurt his chances. Didn’t see much of Kimi today unfortunately. Lewis was a little quiet too.

  25. hero_was_senna says:

    James, I remember Schumacher and Irvine at Ferrari, in 1996.
    The driving ability of Schumacher saw him out-perform Irvine completely. But as the car became quicker and it’s performance was easier to access, Irvine got closer to his pace.
    Would you say this is evident between Alonso and Massa? It seems the less stable the car is, the more advantage a driver of Alonso’s ability has over his team-mate.

    1. James Allen says:

      THere are parallels, yes

    2. Phil R says:

      I always thought that Rubens benefited from that when you compared his performance against Michael in comparison to Irvine.

    3. Formula Zero says:

      Expect to see Webber replacing Massa next year.

      1. James Allen says:

        Very convivial chat between Domenicali and Webber in paddock on Thursday, which Horner joined. Depends on what Ferrari’s long term strategy is. Perez? I’m not sure.

    4. antonio sanchez says:

      it’s always like this. The best drivers perform well in a difficult car, while the average ones, if the car is well set up, are as fast.
      Comes to mind barrichello in the ferrari years. He was as fast as michael, because of all the work the team has done, to get the best car of the grid.
      And montoya and ralf schumacher. When the car was perfect, ralf was a match for the colombian, otherwise not even close.

    5. anonymous says:

      I think the same way, but today’s results don’t tell a lot, since Rosberg was far off Schumacher’s pace too and he surely isn’t that slow. Seems they just had different programmes. And at the same time the track was changing every minute. Maybe a team could find out something more by analyzing the engine sounds, to reveal weight and estimate gear ratios, by comparing the recorded revs with the own data, but there are just so many variables, all that results should be interpreted with care.

    6. For Sure says:

      I think that may be almost the reason why he isn’t that good anymore. Back in the days, I suppose the sport was all about driving around weaknesses the cars had. And now it’s more about precision driving where cars are more “perfectly made” for drivers where the slightest driver error decides the winning and losing. So a guy like Jenson wouldn’t do so well back in the days, now it really fits his skill set. Not to give excuse, may be it just a different sport.
      James, do you think that is the case?

      1. James Allen says:

        I think the cream always rises to the top. Button would have done well in turbo days, knowing when to push and when to conserve tyres etc

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        In all honesty James, has Buttons performance since his move to Mclaren surprised you?
        My respect for him has gone through the roof.
        I’m aware of his driving style and his ability to nurse the tyres, but I’m still astounded by his performance against Mclarens boy, aka Lewis.

      3. James Allen says:

        Yes it has. He’s just getting better and better. I also think F1 has moved towards him in terms of the cars and the tyres and how they interact. It suits his way of driving. But he has raised his game too

      4. hero_was_senna says:

        You echo a comment made by Brundle in an article in MotorSport magazine.
        He and Nigel Roebuck were discussing the difference between cars of the 80′s and the latest cars when he drove the Pirelli car for an BBC feature.
        He was saying cars nowadays stick to the road and it is about precision, miss a braking point by 3metres and you have thrown the lap, whereas 20 years ago, losing 1/2 a second a lap wasn’t detrimental to the race. Also cars back then were more unreliable.

        There are times in the last few years where the reliability is incredible. I believe alot of this is because apart from better manufacturing, the FIA has limited the scope that engine manufacturers can push forward. 18,000rpm limits? I remember BMW pushing the 20,000rpm limit back in the early 2000′s.
        The only failures you hear of now is hydraulics and KERS failures.

  26. Stuart Houghton says:

    I think it is fair to say that we will not know the true pace until the end of Q3, we will get a glimpse during FP3 but so many teams are sandbagging I can not bear the anticipation!

    Merc clearly have made massive progress and just hope that when McLaren and RB empty the tanks and show their hands that Schuey and Nico are still in touch. A podium for Michael to start the year will make my purchase of Virgin TV well worth it. Very impressed with SKY coverage so far and the multi view/cameras look very promising.

  27. Arvin S says:

    James,
    Please, is there any real issue behind “Power Steering” not working well for a particular driver, in this case Kimi??

    Is it a related to the driver “feel” or steering “technicalities”?? Is the ‘steering’ setting easy to manage and change to suit driver’s likablity.

    What could be the problem?? Thanks

    1. Arvin S says:

      Also, hoping in future you can talk to F1 Engineers/Drivers etc and write an article about “Power Steering”+issues in F1 cars. Would be enlightening for us road car drivers.

      Was waiting for Gary Anderson to explain the issues faced by Kimi Raikkonen & Lotus regarding F1 Power Steering, and why the issue has still not been solved. But he hasn’t touched the subject, so hoping you would. Thanks.

      1. anonymous says:

        I’m curious if any team has tried an electric power steering. It might be lighter but from road cars I’ve heard that they lack feedback.

    2. Stone the crows says:

      Yes it is about feel, not whether the steering is working or not. Kimi said today that the Lotus steering works well for some tracks but not for others.

      1. Rich C says:

        From qualy results, evidently that should read “for some *drivers”

  28. Grayzee (Australia) says:

    Hmmm….day 1 over and we are still none the wiser……..thanks to the typical Melbourne weather!
    Bring on tomorrow!

  29. Charlie B says:

    James, are Kimi’s problems with the power steering similar to the ones Trulli had at (what was) Lotus.

    1. Andrew Carter says:

      This sounds more like a reliability problem rather than not being able to get sufficiant feeling from the Power Steering. The former problem requires the driver to sit around waiting for the system to be fixed, the latter just needs to be driven around whilst a new system is developed.

      1. Andrew Carter says:

        Scratch that, I’ve read on AUtosport Kimi saying that the power steering lacks precision and they hope to have a new design for Malaysia.

        I understand that as the downforce goes up it’s harder to have the system keep the feeling going through to the steering wheel whilst also making it light enough to turn.

  30. Dave Aston says:

    That Schumacher is really showing potential; with time, he could really go places in motorsport. Kobayashi an early nominee for save of the year.

    1. Steve says:

      do you really know who Schmacher is?

      1. Dave Aston says:

        I think he’s DTM star Ralf Schumacher’s brother, but I’m not 100%.

    2. Joe B says:

      Nice :D

      Alonso’s save was pretty sharp too, hoping for a bit more of those conditions come Sunday…

    3. anonymous says:

      You mean that young German with the giant chin, who replaced Bertrand Gachot? Oh, come on…! I predict it will be his one and only race for Jordan.

    4. AndyK says:

      ha ha:)yeah!

  31. radi says:

    Hi James,

    I am here everyday-great site.

    If you had to bet your money on one Team to win the Constructor 2012 award, which would that team be?

    thanks

    Radi

  32. Tifosi numero uno says:

    I was trackside today, briiiiiiiliannt to have the season up and running. Little frustrating about the rain, cant wait for tomorrow for p3 and Quali.

  33. Jorge says:

    We are finally here at this point, really exciting. James, thanks for the times, I am very happy to see Schumi at the top. I am about his age, so if we can do it, I will be more than happy!

  34. VanDhloms says:

    I wouldn’t read too much on FP2 times, weather was just not ideal for all-out qually lap as such most top teams opted to do long runs once the track dried up. At the same time long runs are difficult to read between teams with fuel loads so different.

  35. Andrew Kirk says:

    Hi James saw you channel ten on Australia tv, nice to see you back at the grand prix. Off topic I know I was wondering I am heading to the Melbourne where would you suggest I watch the race? I was thinking turns 9 and 10 or 11 and 12

    1. James Allen says:

      11 &12 is a very exciting fast chicane. 9 & 10 stand is nice. I like Turn 1

  36. Mitchel says:

    The tyres don’t go “off the cliff” anymore, but there is still a decent differential between the compounds?

    Button will blitz-em on a one stopper, then?

    1. Andrew Carter says:

      The tyres might not drop off a cliff as suddenly as they used to, but will still ware out after about 20 laps.

  37. Snailtrail says:

    I think Massa is finished @ Ferrari – he was asking why he had spun today over the team radio – for some reason he didnt know he had dropped two wheels onto the wet grass – whats going on with him?

  38. Tony J says:

    Maybe we should have a competition and vote for the most easily avoidable “offs” of the year. But I fear Massa would win every nomination.

  39. Tony J says:

    On another note, why were cars having scrutineers checking them minutes before practice? Surely that could have be done earlier, so that the teams are ready to go out when the pit lane opens. Seems a bit unfair.

  40. goferet says:

    Well am reminded of that golden saying that states, a bad beginning is always a good recipe for a grand finale end more so since most drivers haven’t been able to set up their cars properly for the dry & a dry race is what the forecasts predict.

    On the other hand, it makes a bloke happy to see the Kaiser has got his big joy back & what appears to be a car that is worthy of his talents, it’s the least he deserves for risk he took when he decided to make his comeback.

    And the grid better be afraid – very afraid for a happy & feisty Schumi isn’t good news for the wannabes especially the babies such as baby Schumi.

    Now from the looks of it, Red Bull & Mclaren have decided to keep their philosophies of going about things i.e. Mclaren running with empty tanks in FP1 while Red Bull with full tanks but this way of doing things may just backfire on Red Bull this season for I presume they no longer have their Q3 turbo charge button so if they not careful, they may get swallowed up by the pack.

    Another driver who will not be happy with today’s turn of events is Jenson for I read that Jenson really depends on the Friday sessions to get his car properly set up & if it’s a wash out then he struggles like what happened in South Korea 2011.

    Aah if the Ferrari’s sliding about this much, it doesn’t look like the tyres will last long, will be interesting to see what magic Alonso can pull out his hat with that beast.

    As for Kimi, this is the second time am reading about the steering rake, he better get on top of that ASAP before his comeback turns into a nightmare as he gets lost in Grosjean’s exhaust fumes.

    By some crazy coincidence I think HRT will make it on the grid, the blasted team always seems able to just scrap it through.

    Alright, let the good times roll but am gonna have to get me self a pace maker for am not sure my dear heart can handle the pressure of qualifying tomorrow.

  41. Tyler says:

    I dont understand why every practice report mentions HRT yet no love for Glock/Marussia. 12th fastest in an untested car…story of the day in my book. Low fuel, rain, just friday..whatever the reason… beats the hell out of anything HRT did all day.

    1. James Allen says:

      Good point, I’ve put that right

  42. eric weinraub says:

    While I would love to say Mercedes and Schuey fired the first shot, weather did not allow the top teams to show real pace. I will say that Michael’s age is irrelevant. I believe it was Bob Varsha who described Schuey as that once in a generation phenomenon. You can’t make average assertions when it comes to him. Its the car driver combo. Hell, do you really think Button could have been WDC in anything but a the most dominant car? I expect RB and McLaren, in the dry for pre-quali practice to be very fast. My prediction for Quali….

    1. Hamilton
    2. Vetel
    3. Webber
    4. Button
    5. Schumacher
    6. Alonso
    7. Rosberg
    8. Massa
    9. Hulkenberg
    10. DiResta

    1. Rich C says:

      Errr… need a re-think now?

  43. Stone the crows says:

    Its good to see Michael at the top of FP2, its about time. It appears Mercedes has made a significant step forward this year. But I wonder how much of an advantage they’ll have once the track is rubbered in and they’ve got a race load of fuel. Mclaren looks very good, and I think Lotus will be consistent with a race load.

  44. Paul J says:

    Great to see F1 back!!

    Just in case anyone wants to try it – I watched the practice sessions online at The Speed Channel’s site (speedtv.com). Might only be available in the USA, but could be worth a try for you ex beeb fans :)

    1. ACB says:

      They have the 3rd practice online, as I recall it doesn’t have any commentary-just the live feed, which is rather interesting.

  45. Hi James,

    Seating at Turn 2 yesterday. Any idea as to why pretty much everyone seemed to lock up at Turn 1 at the end of FP2? Is this an effect of the reduced down force due to the ban on the exhaust blown diffusers?

    The Red Bull and Force India drivers fared much better though, being on the same medium tyre as the othersI think.

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