Heikki Kovalainen was delighted with his first day on track at the NÃ¼rburgring as he completed 71 laps over the two Friday practice sessions – 11 more than the race distance – and finished P18 on the timesheets.
“I'm pleased with today's performance – that was one of the good Fridays,” said the Finn. “We completed more laps than anyone else out there and the car has felt good all day. I can feel that we have made a decent improvement to the back of the car which helped us find a good balance pretty early on and it was working well on both tyre compounds, so this goes down as a good days work.”
Kovalainen’s Team Lotus team-mate for the weekend Karun Chandhok found that the T128 was a little different from the Hispania that he drove last year, but was happy with the 51 laps he was able to complete today.
“That was good day of learning,” said the Indian. “The main area I've been looking at is the brakes – we use a different material here to my previous team so I think that's why I've maybe ended up with quite a lot of square tyres today!
“I had a few moments under braking, and a couple of lock-ups, but that's what today was about – getting used to the tyres and the brakes and easing myself into a place where I can start to push. Over the day I improved my time from this morning by over 1.5 seconds, so I'm pleased with that, and now I'll work with the engineers to find more time and keep pushing forwards tomorrow.”
Chief Technical Officer Mike Gascoyne said that the team were having issues with tyre temperatures today, but was generally pleased with how the two practice sessions had unfolded.
“A pretty useful first day where we were able to complete the programmes on both cars and make sure Karun completed a decent number of laps,” he summarised. “[Karun] was obviously on a steep learning curve so we wanted to give him a chance to work on the tyres, both over a single lap and on long runs and he acquitted himself very well in both sessions. He and Heikki were struggling to warm up the front tyres, especially on the harder compound, but we can work on that and look forward to tomorrow.”