by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

UAE F1 Grand Prix 2012: Friday's Free Practice Report (VMM)

- MP4-27A-02
- FP1: 1m43.285s, 21 laps, 1st
- FP2: 1m41.919s (+0.168s), 34 laps, 2nd

“Our car looked good in FP1, but FP2 was a little bit more of a challenge for me. It was quite tricky to get a good time from the Option [tyre], so tonight we’ll need to do some work around figuring out how to switch our Options on.

“We anticipated that Sebastian [Vettel] would be quick – and, in FP2, in particular, the Red Bulls duly picked up pace. But, as I say, our car was quick in FP1, and very near the top of the time-sheets all day, so we’ve got plenty to build on.

“We’ll work as hard as we can tonight, as always, and, if we can get ahead of the Red Bulls in qualifying tomorrow, it’ll be a huge bonus for us.”

- MP4-27A-01
- FP1: 1m43.618s (+0.333s), 19 laps, 2nd
- FP2: 1m42.412s (+0.661s), 36 laps, 3rd

“Overall, our car has been working pretty well today – we’re certainly in better shape here than we were in India last weekend. Everything seems to be working well, and the car is fun to drive. There are some small areas where we need to improve, but we know what we need to do.

“It’s going to be crucial to get the Options working well for qualifying tomorrow. I wanted to do plenty of laps during my long run today, since I missed out on quite a lot of long-run running on Friday in Delhi – and that set me back for the rest of the Indian Grand Prix weekend. I’m pleased to report that our car feels reasonably good over a long run here, so now we’re going to be focusing on understanding just how hard we can push the tyre during a long run.

“If our race pace can be as quick as the Red Bulls’, then that’s probably even more important for Sunday’s race than qualifying in front of them on Saturday will be.”

Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

“While neither Jenson nor Lewis was unmixedly happy with the balance of his car today, their lap-times and long runs suggest that our base set-up is a promising foundation upon which to build for the rest of the weekend.

“While Lewis encountered some traffic during this evening’s long-run simulation in FP2, Jenson was pleased to get some decent laps under his belt, particularly as a lack of running in Delhi last Friday had somewhat compromised our pace across the whole Indian Grand Prix weekend.

“As always, this evening and tonight, our engineers will be keenly studying the data we gathered today – we feel we’re in the ballpark, so some detail changes should leave us in a good position for what looks set to be an exciting and extremely close-fought qualifying session tomorrow afternoon.”

~ Official photos and report courtesy of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes ~

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