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Friday, April 15, 2011

Shanghai GP Free Practice Storys of the Day


Mercedes will cement their place in the paddock pecking order if they can maintain the positions which they claimed in FP2 today.  Nico posted the fourth fastest time of the morning with Michael fifth, just under two tenths behind.

Michael said afterwards that Mercedes had changed their approach to FP running higher fuel loads in order to find the best race set-up.  He thought the car handled better on the longer runs.  Nico said that the balance of the car was quite good but that they were in the dark when it came to what everyone else was doing.

Still, its good to see Ross and the guys trying to understand the car and where it all went wrong after a very encouraging final test session in Barcelona.

I've got to admit that I do enjoy watching Michael struggling with a car that's not quite competitive.  Remember the move from Bennetton to Ferrari?  Does he still have the drive at (what is he?) 41/42?  Let's put him in a Red Bull and find out!  Schumi and Vettel - Mano a Mano (just for fun).

Come on Christian Horner let's make that happen!


Is this the early sign that HRT are going to outgun Virgin on a regular basis?  Virgin were blasted in Free Practice by the two HRT driver.  Liuzzi in particular, who completed only three laps, one of which was his outlap, still managed to beat d'Ambrosio's time by over two tenths of a second (Impressed with you Tonio!).

Karthikeyan was almost a second quicker than his teammate having run 25 laps over the course of the session.  Is this my prediction coming to fruition?

Midfield Battles

In the Midfield everyone remains relatively in the mix.  Sauber and Mercedes leading the pack with Williams posting well but needing to finish a race before we can gauge where they really are.  I'm not including Renault in this Section because they are obviously ahead of the pack and mixing it in the top four (that is if Ferrari aren't beginning to drop back into the midfield).

Force India look relatively good for another couple of points - though they continue to have quiet races - but Di Resta never made it out on track in the FP sessions with fuel pressure issues on his car.

Off-Road Incidents

Kamui and Heidfeld led the charge, with Heidfeld managing to break two front wings while Kobayashi found the track to be very dusty and consequently slippery.

It's good to see the guys exploring the limits of the track though - a sign that they're finding the limits of the car on the tarmac.  If they can do the business on Sunday I'm sure that Renault won't be too upset at Nick.

I'm predicting that Kamui is, once again, going to be the man to watch in the race - a true racer with the grit and determination both to hold what he's got and try to take what he can!