Sergio Perez was back in his Sauber for both of the Friday practice sessions in Valencia, indicating that he has now fully recovered from the Monaco accident that forced him to withdraw from the Canadian Grand Prix.
The Mexican finished the day in P16, and knows that the team have more work to do if they want to compete for points at the European Grand Prix this weekend.
“More than anything I'm happy to be back in the car,” he said. “Everything went okay, I feel well and I have done a lot of work over the last weeks to get there. I picked up speed quite quickly and this is good.
“Overall it looks as if we are a bit off the pace here. We have quite a lot of work to do tonight to improve the car. With regards to the tyres, I find it difficult to get the medium compound up to temperature. Here low grip is a general problem of the circuit. It is pretty dusty and, even with the soft tyres, it is difficult to find a proper grip level. We will sort out several things and I hope for a good qualifying.”
Kamui Kobayashi ended the day one place behind his team-mate in the timesheets. He also had difficulties, but is optimistic of things improving tomorrow:
“For me today was difficult,” he said. “In the morning I had a throttle pedal problem and therefore could not complete the scheduled programme. For the second free practice in the afternoon the car felt a bit better, and I was quite positive about putting in a good lap time. But unfortunately when I was on new soft tyres I flat spotted the right front straight away. The long runs later in the session have been okay. I think we will be better tomorrow than we look today.”
Sauber technical director James Key also suggested that the team’s Friday position was not entirely indicative of their true pace, and also thinks that there will be more to come in qualifying: “We have a little work to do to improve in the middle sector of the circuit,” he said. “However, neither driver was able to put his best sector times together so, therefore, our lap times from today are not entirely representative of our performance.”