The 2011 European Grand Prix weekend began today at the Valencia Street Circuit with two uninterrupted and busy practice sessions, held in warm but overcast conditions. Both MERCEDES GP PETRONAS drivers ended the day in the top ten after P2.

Nico and Michael ran a total of 111 laps today: this equates to 601 km, just three laps short of two race distances. The drivers focused primarily on race preparation and tyre evaluation during both practice sessions. Today’s fastest time of 1:37.968s was 1.3 seconds quicker than the fastest Friday time from 2010.

1. Practice
1 M. Webber Red Bull 1:40.403
2 W. Petrow Renault 1:41.227 +0:00.824
3 F. Alonso Ferrari 1:41.239 +0:00.836
4 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:41.510 +0:01.107
5 N. Heidfeld Renault 1:41.580 +0:01.177
6 F. Massa Ferrari 1:41.758 +0:01.355
7 J. Button McLaren 1:41.926 +0:01.523
8 A. Sutil Force India 1:41.955 +0:01.552
9 N. Rosberg Mercedes 1:42.043 +0:01.640
10 J. Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1:42.216 +0:01.813
11 M. Schumacher Mercedes 1:42.270 +0:01.867
12 D. Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1:42.412 +0:02.009
13 R. Barrichello Williams 1:42.704 +0:02.301
14 S. Perez Sauber 1:42.738 +0:02.335
15 P. Maldonado Williams 1:42.841 +0:02.438
16 S. Vettel Red Bull 1:42.941 +0:02.538
17 K. Kobayashi Sauber 1:43.201 +0:02.798
18 N. Hülkenberg Force India 1:43.769 +0:03.366
19 H. Kovalainen Lotus 1:44.136 +0:03.733
20 J. D’Ambrosio Marussia-Virgin 1:45.026 +0:04.623
21 T. Glock Marussia-Virgin 1:45.221 +0:04.818
22 V. Liuzzi HRT 1:45.494 +0:05.091 +0:00.273
23 N. Karthikeyan HRT 1:46.926 +0:06.523
24 K. Chandhok Lotus

2. Practice
1 F. Alonso Ferrari 1:37.968
2 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:38.195 +0:00.227
3 S. Vettel Red Bull 1:38.265 +0:00.297
4 M. Schumacher Mercedes 1:38.315 +0:00.347
5 F. Massa Ferrari 1:38.443 +0:00.475
6 J. Button McLaren 1:38.483 +0:00.515
7 M. Webber Red Bull 1:38.531 +0:00.563
8 N. Rosberg Mercedes 1:38.981 +0:01.013
9 N. Heidfeld Renault 1:39.040 +0:01.072
10 W. Petrow Renault 1:39.586 +0:01.618
11 A. Sutil Force India 1:39.626 +0:01.658
12 R. Barrichello Williams 1:40.020 +0:02.052
13 P. Maldonado Williams 1:40.301 +0:02.333
14 P. di Resta Force India 1:40.363 +0:02.395
15 S. Buemi Toro Rosso 1:40.454 +0:02.486
16 S. Perez Sauber 1:40.531 +0:02.563
17 K. Kobayashi Sauber 1:42.083 +0:04.115
18 H. Kovalainen Lotus 1:42.156 +0:04.188
19 J. Trulli Lotus 1:42.239 +0:04.271
20 T. Glock Marussia-Virgin 1:42.273 +0:04.305
21 J. D’Ambrosio Marussia-Virgin 1:42.809 +0:04.841
22 V. Liuzzi HRT 1:44.460 +0:06.492
23 N. Karthikeyan HRT 1:46.906 +0:08.938
24 J. Alguersuari Toro Rosso

Nico Rosberg
“We had a bit of a tricky morning: it was clear that we had to change some things on the set-up but we managed to improve the car for this afternoon. It was important to learn as much as possible today but I am still not completely happy with the balance we have at the moment. There are a few new things to adapt to this weekend, such as the new engine mapping regulation for example, and that makes it a little more challenging. We have work to do this evening, but I am positive that we will make a good start to the qualifying day tomorrow.”

Michael Schumacher
“We had a typical Friday practice situation, running through different set-up possibilities and variations. As usual on Friday, our focus was more on the long runs, and all in all I am very happy because we managed to do a lot of work. In the morning session we still had some issues to sort out, and in the afternoon we just worked consistently on our car. All of us are aware, though, that under normal circumstances we will not yet be strong enough to fight for the podium, and will most likely find ourselves starting around the fourth row. But as we managed to complete our programme in a good way, I am still taking a positive feeling out of today’s practice.”

Ross Brawn
“We had two pretty reasonable sessions today and certainly improved the car from the morning to the afternoon. We focused on race preparation work, along with looking at how the tyres behave here – they seem to be quite consistent on initial evaluation. There are some areas where we need to try and improve before Sunday, but overall I think we have a good base to work from going into the weekend.”

Norbert Haug
“It was a solid first day on this untypical but nevertheless challenging street circuit in Valencia. We completed lots of laps and Michael’s time for fourth place was respectable. Nico and his engineers still have more work to do with the set-up of the car, but I am sure the guys will work hard to get an improved base for tomorrow. Our long runs with the soft tyre in race conditions showed lap times which were quite consistent but not fast enough to challenge the top three teams. We will try to make further improvements before tomorrow.”

Source: Mercedes GP