• Japanese Grand Prix - FP2

Mercedes buoyed by progress after tricky morning

ESPNF1 Staff
October 7, 2011 « 'Not really a big mistake' - Vettel | Williams has 'work cut out' »
Nico Rosberg tackles Suzuka's tricky Esses © Getty Images

Both Mercedes drivers said they were happy with the progress they made during Friday practice for the Japanese Grand Prix after the car proved to be a bit of a handful in the morning session.

Ahead of the race Mercedes said it was targeting a repeat of its Spa-Francorchamps performance where its cars finished fifth and sixth, but team principal Ross Brawn said both drivers were struggling to find a balance early in the morning session.

"Suzuka is a very challenging track and we had a slightly tricky balance to start with this morning," Brawn said. "By the end of the second session this afternoon, we had largely got on top of that, with the engineers and drivers doing a good job to find better solutions. It's clear that tyres will be a major factor in the race on Sunday."

Michael Schumacher added: "It was a pretty typical two practice sessions today. We were working on setup issues as usual and achieved much of what we wanted, however we are aware that the character of our car and the character of this track are not a perfect match and there are areas still to work on. From what I have seen so far, I would guess we will find ourselves qualifying in the region we have been lately, but obviously we will make our best efforts to improve our position further."

And Nico Rosberg is confident ahead of qualifying day.

"We had two challenging sessions today as we worked to get the balance of the car right on high and low fuel loads," he said. "However at the end of P2, I'm happy with what we learnt, and I think all is going in the right direction for tomorrow."