Team and drivers report from the first day of practice of the Chinese Grand Prix weekend, at Shanghai International Circuit, Round 3 of the 2013 F1 world championship.
Fernando Alonso: “By the end of the day, the overall feeling is positive. We worked well and on top of that, it’s always great fun driving the Shanghai track which has some really unique features, such as the first corner. From one session to the next the track conditions improved significantly, because the other categories that ran after our morning session cleaned the surface. The increase in temperature means the conditions were very similar to those predicted for tomorrow. Once again, tyres will play a key role in this Grand Prix because of the high level of degradation over a long run. We will have to ensure we pick the right strategy for Sunday, as well as deciding on which of the new parts we tried this morning to fit to the car. As usual, we can expect a long evening studying the data.”
Felipe Massa: “Today, I immediately had a good feeling in the car and even if, at the start, I was not completely happy with the performance of the Medium compound and we were not as quick as our rivals, the times were good all the same. When I fitted the Softs, the car improved a lot and this meant I was able to set the fastest time of the day. It was impressive, like driving two completely different cars. Our race pace looks competitive, the car is handling well on both types of tyre and degradation was not excessive, even if the higher wear rate of the Soft compared to the Medium compound will be an important factor when it comes to choosing the right strategy. I feel confident and hope that the whole weekend can keep moving in this direction”.
Pat Fry: “Today we managed to complete our programme without any problems, which is extremely positive for the rest of the weekend. In the morning, we concentrated on analysing various aerodynamic updates we brought here to Shanghai, the result of a lot of hard work back in the factory on the car development front. The first signs are that the updates appear to match our expectations, but we need to analyse the data carefully to make a more accurate evaluation, in terms of which ones we can use for this race and the upcoming ones. In the second session, we continued to work on various specifications with both drivers, doing some set-up work aimed at finding the right balance on both cars. Obviously, we did the normal comparison between the two types of tyre that Pirelli has brought here to Shanghai, with the Soft compound making its debut. The race pace from both F138s is interesting, but once again there is the unknown factor of tyre performance: the Softs seem to degrade quite quickly, while the Mediums offer better stability and last longer. Now we can expect a long night ahead of us to decide on the best combinations for qualifying and the race, with a lot of data to go through”.