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Japanese GP practice reactions: McLaren-Mercedes

Heikki Kovalainen – 1st:

"This morning the track was in a better condition than it was in the afternoon so we decided not to go out in second practice. We think tomorrow and Sunday will be dry so we didn't want to risk any damage to the car in these tricky conditions. We also felt that we wouldn't benefit at all from doing any additional running. In the morning, it was not so bad - it was drying out quite well so we could also use the Intermediate tyre, which worked well. I like this track, it has some very good corners and the grip level is very high. Obviously, the Japanese make very good Tarmac as this was also the case in Fuji!"


Lewis Hamilton – 6th:

"This track is awesome! It is the best track I've ever driven. It's something very special for me and I had a great time today, even though it was wet. We didn't do much running - we weren't supposed to be running this afternoon, but I couldn't help it: I just had to go out and have a little bit of fun! I've heard it's going to be dry for the race, I'm just looking forward to getting out there in the dry and seeing how fast you can push around here."


Martin Whitmarsh - team principal (McLaren-Mercedes):

"Firstly, it feels fantastic to be back at Suzuka for the first time since 2006. It's such a mighty racetrack and has clearly caught the imaginations of both our drivers. The organisers have done a fantastic job with the facility's refurbishment, creating a world-class venue without losing any of the unique character that this place has. And although the poor weather made it difficult to appraise our speed relative to our rivals, we're encouraged by our performance today: Lewis was immediately on the pace during every single one of his runs and Heikki finished P1, comfortably quicker than his nearest rivals. Nonetheless, with dry weather forecast for Sunday's race, and mixed conditions still expected tomorrow, we still have a lot of work to complete to fully prepare us for what could be both an unpredictable qualifying session and a tricky and eventful race."


Norbert Haug - vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:

"A typical Suzuka day, really. Tomorrow's weather should be better, and on Sunday it should be fine according to the forecast. Having said that, the conditions traditionally change very quickly at this circuit. Heikki posted the fastest time of the morning session which nobody could improve in the very wet afternoon practice - but this of course does not mean a lot in judging the competitive order of the field after the few laps that have been done by everybody today. It is remarkable what the racetrack owners have invested here to improve working conditions for the teams at this great circuit, and the new pit building is absolutely state of the art."



Related Pictures

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Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) McLaren MP4-24, Spanish F1 Grand Prix, Catalunya, 8th-10th, May, 2009

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