Jérôme D’Ambrosio said that he made ‘steady progress’ throughout the two 90-minute practice sessions that marked his return to F1 track action today in Monza with Lotus.
The Belgian, who is standing in for the suspended Romain Grosjean this weekend, finished the day twelfth on the timesheets, and declared himself pleased with his efforts.
“Today went pretty well overall and it feels good to be back in the car,” he said. “It’s not an easy task stepping in at the last minute ; there’s a lot to take in and with a low downforce track like Monza it can be quite tricky to find the limit, but we completed a busy schedule and put in a lot of laps which is a good start.
“It’s difficult to say where we are right now, but we made steady progress between the two sessions and my aim for tomorrow is to take another step forwards and see where we go from there. So far so good.”
Kimi Räikkönen sounded reasonably indifferent when discussing his Friday, but is hopeful for improvements tomorrow.
“It was an okay day,” said the Finn. “We tried a few different things with no issues and I’m happy with the car. Our long run pace was not too bad and we weren’t too far away from the fastest lap set today either.
“There aren’t many corners here, but running with low downforce means the grip is not as good under braking and cornering through the chicanes. It’s not easy to get the perfect lap here but maybe we can improve tomorrow ; we shall see.”
Lotus‘ Alan Permane was pleased that the rain stayed well away from Monza today, and also praised D’Ambrosio for his efforts.
“It’s nice to have a straight-forward Friday with dry running ; it’s our first for a while!” he said. “The lower downforce here means we focused on the various compromises ; getting the car to work in the corners, balancing the need for a soft car to ride the kerbs versus a stiff car to enable high speed change of direction and so on.
“We feel we’ve made good progress with the running we’ve had. Jérôme has done a great job ; chipping away at the time difference between him and Kimi without any problems while absorbing all the procedures and information we’ve thrown at him.”