Ma Qing Hua looked back with great fondness on a day where he made Chinese motorsport history at Monza. Standing in for Narain Karthikeyan in FP1, Ma became the first driver from his country to take part in an official practice session and although he predictably finished slowest, was happy with how he fared.
“It was an extraordinary experience and I’m happy with my performance. From the start I felt comfortable in the car and working with the team, and I accomplished all the targets we set ourselves. We started with quite a long stint on hard tyres and then we made changes to the set-up as I adapted to the F112. It was an important step for me, but also for motorsport in China since it’s a very young sport there but with a great potential”.
Pedro de la Rosa drove in both sessions today as the HRT squad focused on getting the best out of the F112 in low-downforce spec and was pleased with the early performance.
“Today we enjoyed two clean sessions that enabled us to try out different aero configurations and complete a comparison of tyre compounds and a long stint towards the end in preparation for the race. We faced no problems and were able to complete all the tests as planned. We can still improve the car for tomorrow ahead of qualifying but we’ve set a good base for the race”.
Narain Karthikeyan was back in the car for FP2 but only managed 21 laps before having to stop with an exhaust problem but while it was running, the Indian was also satisfied.
“We focused on testing different car set-ups and the car worked well with all of them. The shame is that we had to stop before the end because of an issue with the exhausts. It was a precautionary measure more than anything else and it will be fixed for tomorrow. But the best thing about the day was that I found a rhythm quickly and that the car performed well”.