HRT boss Colin Kolles found a lot of positives to take away from Friday practice at the NÃ¼rburgring today despite Daniel Ricciardo having to stop out on track early in the afternoon session with white smoke billowing from the back of his car.
Ricciardo did, however, manage to complete 24 laps in the morning session. Vitantonio Liuzzi sat out that first session though, allowing Narain Karthikeyan to get back in the car for 90 minutes.
“It's Friday practice as usual, and we made good progress despite a second session problem,” said Kolles. “Narain had a good session in the morning and was still the fastest Indian on four wheels in the World. Unfortunately Daniel's car encountered an engine problem. However, we seem quite competitive on long runs and the balance of the car was good right from the start of the day. We will have a lot of work to do tomorrow – assuming it is dry to prepare our race strategy.”
Karthikeyan, who was 0.261 seconds faster than compatriot Karun Chandhok in the morning session and was also faster than Ricciardo, the driver who replaced him at HRT. He completed 22 laps in all.
“It's good to be back in the car,” said the Indian. “We had a good set-up and a proper session and enough running time to test mechanical parts. Some changes that we made to the car had the effect I was hoping for. I am proud to have kept the 20th position in the classification even if I did not get the lap together. I could have gone quicker.”
Liuzzi completed 31 laps this afternoon and finished the day in P22. He was pleased with how the session went. “Overall, the afternoon was a good session,” he said. “I focused a bit on everything. It's important to understand the tyres and how they react for the long distance race. It is also important to improve our speed and the balance in terms of set-up and aerodynamics so we had one and a half hours to work on both and I think we covered both areas. It was a good Friday”.
Ricciardo, who is competing in his second grand prix weekend after replacing Karthikeyan at HRT, said that the morning session went well for him.
“I had an easy start to get used to the car,” he said. “We worked on the balance of the car and the tyres. A good first session to start my second ever F1 race weekend. Unfortunately we had a small problem with the car in the second session and could not take full advantage of all the track time.”