Team and drivers report from day one of the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend, Round 2 of the 2013 Formula 1 world championship, at Sepang International Circuit near Kuala Lumpur.
Fernando Alonso: “Today, the car worked well in all conditions and that is very good news for us. This circuit is more representative than Australia for evaluating the car’s performance and so it was important to understand here today if the positive feelings from the winter were not just an illusion. On my lap on the Medium tyres, I did not have the right balance, otherwise I could have managed to improve, as I did on the Hards and I could probably have been on the “front row.” Now we must see how tomorrow goes, when it could rain at any moment and on a track where tyre degradation is much higher than in Melbourne. With a high number of pit stops likely, a car that works better in the race than in qualifying could be an advantage. However, tomorrow we will try and do our best to get a place on the front row, because, as usual, the start, strategy and pit stops will hold the key”.
Felipe Massa: “Overall, it was a good day, even if the rain that arrived for the end of the second session cost us some valuable time, when it came to comparing the two compounds over a long run. The car responded well in both sessions and, as for the tyres Pirelli brought here, I felt much more comfortable on the Mediums that we’d already used in Australia. We now have a long evening to work on understanding what the real behaviour of the tyres is, because that is definitely what can make the difference and could make us more competitive, as we prepare for both qualifying and the race”.
Pat Fry: “Today’s rain complicated our programme a bit, but overall, it was a positive Friday. As we saw in Australia, here again the key factor will be understanding tyre behaviour. Usually at this track, you need one more stop, but it’s still too early to say. This evening we will tackle the complex task of analysing the data because the rain arrived at the least opportune moment, just as Fernando and Felipe were doing a comparison of the two compounds. In the morning we managed to complete our planned programme, making the most of the better conditions to find the ideal set-up on both cars. Having tried various combinations, we think we know what direction to take for tomorrow’s qualifying”.