INDIAN GP - A MIXED FIRST DAY – NORMAL FOR FERNANDO, LESS SO FOR FELIPE Company press release.
For those interested in unusual statistics, the top of the morning time sheet was an exact replica of last year's Indian Grand Prix podium, with Sebastian Vettel fastest ahead of Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso. In the afternoon, the German maintained that position, this time joined by his Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber who was second fastest, while Fernando was again third for Ferrari. Having been seventh this morning, Felipe Massa slipped to fifteenth at the end of the second 90 minutes of practice. Behind the Spanish Ferrari man, Nico Rosberg was fourth for Mercedes, with Kimi Raikkonen, still an outside chance for the championship, fifth in the Lotus, while Lewis Hamilton completed the top six in his McLaren.
The Scuderia has made it clear it aims to fight for the Drivers' title right to the very end of the year and with that in mind, it's stated plan is to try and improve the performance of the F2012 at each of these last four races. That inevitably makes for a very busy three hours on Friday, the only two sessions when one has time to test new elements or ideas without being penalised if they do not work out. Fernando did the most laps out of the two Prancing Horse pilots, completing 58, which is two less than Sunday's race distance, while Felipe did 47. There was a reason for this disparity in their workload and in their lap times: while Fernando got through everything on his list and admitted to greatly enjoying this track, Felipe had a more troubled time, not through any fault of his own, but because of a small glitch on his car which upset the balance, even causing him to spin. It was unfortunate, because the pirouette damaged one of his tyres and as it is unwise to use too many sets on the first day of a race weekend, especially on a dirty track, the Brazilian's day was pretty much over. If one wants to look for positives in every situation, at least it meant his programme was changed to give the crew some extra pit stop practice – always useful.
Now the engineers will be using a metaphorical filter: throwing in the data from all the updates the team brought here, sifting through them to see which ones can be carried over for use tomorrow and Sunday.