by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

Korean F1 Grand Prix 2011: Free Practice Report (VMM)

- MP4-26A-03
- P1 programme: 6 laps, 2m03.391s (+0.607s), 7th
- P2 programme: 26 laps, 1m50.828s, 1st

"Today’s times don’t really give us a relevant read on pace and set-up, particularly as I hear that the weather will be better for the next two days. Still, if it rains on Sunday then I think we’re in a good position - which is a positive.

“It would be great to get the pole here tomorrow: it’s difficult to read too much into today’s times - the lap on slicks at the end was impossible - but I think we are quick, the car is good and Jenson showed at the last race that we can be very competitive. So I have no doubt that we’ll be able to challenge the Red Bulls in qualifying. I think we’ll get a much better feel for things tomorrow.”

- MP4-26A-04
- P1 programme: No time, 24th
- P2 programme: 19 laps, 1m50.932s (+0.104s), 2nd

“Our car was quick in today’s conditions - but it’s difficult to say how it will be in the dry. I hope it’ll be the same: it’d be nice to have the same gap back to the cars behind, but that’s unlikely.

“We didn’t really learn too much today - the humidity was so high that the track never really dried out. It looked like it was going to be dry right at the very end, but you couldn’t get any grip from the slicks because you couldn’t get any temperature into them.

“Over the last few races, we’ve been getting stronger in qualifying. I’d love to qualify well here, and I’ll definitely be giving it a go, but P3’s also going to be very important tomorrow because nobody knows how the cars behave on high fuel and dry tyres.

“There’s a lot more to understand.”

Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

“Despite the wet weather, this morning we were able to carry out a useful test on Lewis’s car, which allowed us to successfully evaluate some components. With little to gain from the track-time, Jenson opted to sit out the majority of the session so that his mechanics could make a change to his car ahead of P2.

“The afternoon was more productive - although it’s arguable how much we’ll be able to take into tomorrow’s session if, as predicted, it stays dry. At the very end of the afternoon, Lewis and Jenson each attempted a time on slicks, but the track wasn’t fully dry so they found it difficult to generate enough heat in the tyre to really make the slick work.

“As we near our 700th Grand Prix, it’s nonetheless encouraging to top the timesheets - but we’re under no illusions that this circuit will be very different in the dry. The aim now for our engineers is to analyse today’s data in order to best set us up for the rest of the weekend.”

* Official photos and report courtesy of VODAFONE MCLAREN MERCEDES *

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