Japanese GP - Free practices
K. Raikkonen: 8th 1.41.577 25 giri
K. Raikkonen: 11th 1.48.886 5 giri Telaio 279
First session: air 22 °C, track 23 °C; light rain at the beginning, damp track.
Second session: air 22 °C, track 23 °C; rain.
Formula 1’s first day at Suzuka after a three year absence was marked by rain at the start of the morning session and then throughout the one in the afternoon. In the morning, all the drivers managed to get in a good number of laps, but that was not the case in the afternoon. “Even if there was no real technical reason for doing so, we decided to do at least one run at the end of the day, as a sign of respect to all the fans who remained glued to their seats in the grandstands, despite the rain,” said Stefano Domenicali. “We only ran in the wet and the car’s handling in the conditions could be described as acceptable. Clearly if, as the forecast predicts, qualifying and the race are run in the dry, there will not be much time to get the cars working at their best, which makes predicting any outcome even more difficult. For our part however, we are aware that our potential is the same as it was in the last few races, as a result of a strategic decision taken regarding the development of the F60. The unknown factor remains the behaviour of the tyres, which has never been as unpredictable as it has this season.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “The conditions were very difficult today: let’s hope the situation changes for tomorrow and that we will be able to run in the dry. This morning, the track was changing continually, so it was difficult to understand where we were compared to the others. I concentrated mainly on the car, trying to understand its handling and I think the situation is reasonably good. We will have to try everything to defend our third place in the Constructors’ classification: it will be difficult because the McLarens are very strong and in Singapore they got a great result, although they have not yet got ahead of us. How was the track after three years away? It’s impossible to compare: the tyres and cars are too different to those from 2006.”
Chris Dyer: “This morning we managed to do a good job in the wet, first on the extremes and then on the intermediates. Both drivers were reasonably happy with the handling of the car in these conditions: if it was to rain for the race, we have a good basis from which to work. In the afternoon the rain was very heavy for almost the whole session and the track conditions were very difficult, to such an extent that it wasn’t really worth going out and risking damaging the car. Giancarlo felt particularly comfortable in these conditions, which confirms his skill level. Now, we have to take into account that the number of sets of rain tyres available to us for the whole weekend is very limited and we have to manage them carefully, to avoid finding ourselves in trouble at the crucial moment. We only did a handful of laps at the end on used tyres and we took the opportunity to do a practice start on the grid.”