The Sauber team, with their drivers Pedro de la Rosa and exciting Japanese prospect Kamui Kobayashi have completed the first two free practice sessions ahead of the 2010 Chinese Grand Prix, the final flyaway race before the European leg of the Championship.
Both the sessions went smoothly for the team, and both drivers couldn't be separated as they finished next to each other on both the timing sheets.
For the first free practice session, former McLaren test driver de la Rosa completed nineteen laps en route to setting the thirteenth fastest time in the session, a 1:38.421, before improving his best time but not position as he set a 1:37.421 during a thirty-two lap free practice two. De la Rosa said about the days running: “We treated the day very much as a test day. We tried different set-up options and in the end the car was a bit better. At the end of the second session we compared the option and the prime tyres. The lap time with the softer compound, the option, actually wasn't good enough compared to the harder prime compound. We have to look into that now. All in all it was a trouble free and productive first day.”
For Kobayashi, he finished his first session round the Shanghai circuit in twelfth, having completed a twenty-one lap session with a fastest lap of 1:38.375. A thirty-three lap second practice session saw the youngster from Japan finish just behind his experienced team mate, having set a best time of 1:37.431. Speaking about his first days experience at Shanghai, Kobayashi commented: “The track improved a lot during the day. It was very dusty in the morning and then the usual conditions came back. We had no problems or any issues, and the programme was fine. The balance of the car is okay, but still we have to find a better pace. It is a nice and challenging track and I expect us to see some good overtaking on Sunday in the race.”
The teams' technical director, James Key said about the opening day's proceedings: “It was good to see the team operating for the first time with the cars and drivers on the track. I think fundamentally we made some progress today. We tried a couple of small new directions on the car, some of which gave us data for the future, some of which we are using now. So I think we found some time today with the changes we made. We've got a little bit of work left with the rear wing for the remainder of the weekend. And also some work to do with the tyres in order to fully understand how to get the most out of them, because clearly the warm up was difficult today for both tyres. We will work through the data tonight and see what we need to do for tomorrow.”