Sauber drivers Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi admit tomorrow's third free practice session will be absolutely critical after rain kept dry running to a minimum in Melbourne today. The only chance the drivers got to run on slick tyres came on a drying track, giving the teams little chance to find a set-up for the weekend ahead.
Perez shone in the afternoon to finish third behind Michael Schumacher and Nico Hulkenberg but has warned that no real conclusions can be drawn from today's running.
“We made a good improvement from the first to the second session, but it is extremely difficult to deal with today's information as the conditions were not at all consistent. The third free practice tomorrow will be very important. We have to watch how the conditions develop and then really get everything right for qualifying.”
Teammate Kobayashi was tenth in the relatively good conditions of first practice before improving to fifth in the afternoon but sounded a similar note of caution to Perez, stressing that the true picture will emerge tomorrow.
“I am pretty happy, and I think overall the day went smoothly for us. We used intermediate and rain tyres as well as the medium compound of the slicks. Because of the changing track conditions, it was obviously not easy to learn much from today, so now we have to decide what to do and think carefully about the next steps for tomorrow.”
Head of Track Engineering, Giampaolo Dall'Ara, refused to totally write off today's running, feeling the laps spent on the intermediate and full wet tyres will come in handy.
“After all the speculation in recent weeks it was good to drive the first two practice sessions of the 2012 season. The target today was to prepare for the race. However, due to the changing weather conditions this was quite difficult. The positive aspect of this situation was we were able to run tyres which we didn't run in testing – the intermediate and the rain tyres. This might not help for the race, because the forecast predicts dry weather. Nevertheless it was good to gather some data with these tyres. We had to wait for the right moments to have some dry conditions. However, on the mainly wet track it was not possible to learn a lot about tyre degradation, so it was good that Kamui was driving in race set-up at the end of free practice one. Also positive to mention is the fact there were no reliability issues on the car, so we are really looking forward to the remainder of the weekend.“