The much-anticipated 2011 Formula One season got underway today at Albert Park in Melbourne as the cars took to the track for the first two practice sessions of the Australian Grand Prix weekend.
Michael and Nico each used one set of prime tyres in P1 to get an initial feel for the set-up required for the weekend. With an extra set of primes available in P2, the team had two sets of prime and one set of option tyres to evaluate various set-up options for qualifying and race. The team used P2, when the track was more representative, to complete aerodynamic, brake and cooling evaluations. Both drivers also practiced the use of KERS and the requirements for the adjustable rear wing at this circuit. There were small technical and systems issues on both cars this afternoon. Michael completed 45 laps today and finished in P6, with Nico covering 39 laps in P10.
“My first impressions of the 2011 season are quite positive. We learned a lot today, and are more or less where we thought we would be, although it was quite windy and tricky to drive. We will sort out some issues on our car for the rest of the weekend but I am still happy with what we have seen here so far. I would like to give a compliment to the Pirelli tyres which worked very well here today.”
“It was a decent day for us. I had a positive morning and a good long run this afternoon which was useful to see how the tyres behaved. However it was a bit difficult for me during P2 because a few things were not working properly on the car. It’s difficult to say where we are the moment but I think we are in reasonable shape and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
“It is good to finally get the racing action underway here in Melbourne and to start the process of seeing where we stand after the winter. Today went reasonably well for us, and we were able to complete much of the planned programme for the two sessions, although some small problems on both cars this afternoon did have an effect. This was the first opportunity to try the new tyres, KERS and rear wing system in a race weekend situation which was extremely useful for the drivers and the team. There is a lot to evaluate and complete tomorrow before qualifying but I’m happy with our start to the weekend.”
“We learned a lot about our car and the new Pirelli tyres on this track today which is obviously quite different to the ones we have been testing on. However not everything went perfectly this afternoon as we had some technical issues which influenced the lap times for both Michael and Nico. Our initial impressions are that we have basically a similar potential to that shown during the last test in Barcelona a fortnight ago.”
Source: Mercedes GP