Nick and Vitaly kicked off their Turkish campaigns today as free practice got underway at Istanbul Park Circuit.

What we learned today:

• Nick was able to trial the extreme wets for the first time today – There were no major issues reported.

• By the time we had an opportunity to fit intermediates in P1, the track was too wet to make sensible use of them.

• Following the pattern of the first three races, our car is looking increasingly competitive as the qualifying session approaches and the programmes of the various teams point towards a maximum performance with a low fuel load.

• Based on what we have seen today, we would expect our drivers to earn a place in an increasingly competitive Q3 and then go on to both score good points in the race.

James Allison, Technical Director – Technical programme notes

• Like all the teams, Friday work is focused on race preparation rather than maximising qualifying performance.

• It was tricky to read too much from this morning’s times. The rain ebbed and flowed throughout the session and the pace of the competitors varied accordingly. We were pleased to get through the session unscathed.

• The afternoon session was a more regular affair. We appear to be more or less where we have been on a Friday in the first three races of the season.

• We ran our new tyres early in the session and ran relatively long stints on heavy fuel in the second half of the session

Nick Heidfeld, R31-01
Free practice 1:
P4, 1:40.338, 9 laps
Free practice 2: P13, 1:28.475, 35 laps

Nick: “It was good to finally get an experience of the wet conditions by using the extreme wet tyres, because I haven’t used them before in testing properly. That went quite well I have to say. We didn’t want to destroy them – as we hadn’t tested them before, we didn’t know how long they would survive and the forecast was still not clear for Saturday and Sunday. Unfortunately we didn’t get into a position to be able to drive the intermediates. Then, as the second session was completely dry we were able to completely focus on our programme, which was to get a long run in towards the end, whilst having a high fuel load.”

Vitaly Petrov, R31-03
Free practice 1:
P5, 1:40.401, 10 laps
Free practice 2: P7, 1:27.517, 37 laps

Vitaly: “It was a bit difficult today with the weather conditions. We didn’t use inter tyres in the first session which was a pity. We wanted to save tyres, which is why we only had 10 laps. In P2 we knew it would stay dry. We need to be happy with today. As expected, we achieved quicker lap times and there’s still some more in the car. Judging by our performance in P2, I think there are encouraging signs ahead for the rest of the weekend.”

Did you know?
Vitaly took his first win of the 2009 GP2 Series season here at the Istanbul Park Circuit.

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