Renault's Robert Kubica has admitted he struggled somewhat today during practice for the Canadian Grand Prix at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
Kubica, who will be gunning for his seventh points finish on the trot this Sunday, finished the first session in sixth.
However he dropped back in free practice two and ended proceedings eighth on the timesheets, his best lap a 1 minute 17.529 seconds, which left him six tenths off the pace set by Sebastian Vettel.
“It was quite a difficult Friday. In the morning the track conditions were very poor, especially at the start of the session, so we had to wait quite a long time for the track to get better. In both sessions we tried to evaluate different downforce levels because we were not sure what would work best for us,” Kubica explained.
“Overall we are struggling with a lack of grip and it seems like everybody is suffering with the tyre wear on the long runs. So managing the tyres will be quite an important factor for the weekend.”
Team-mate Vitaly Petrov meanwhile was 13th in the sister car in FP1 and 14th in FP2. His best lap was a 1 minute 18.582 seconds.
“It was my first experience of Montreal today so I had to learn the track. It's a challenging circuit because you need to attack and be aggressive, but also beware of the walls, which are very close to the track,” he added.
“We did some set-up work preparing for the race and evaluated the tyres, which have quite a big drop off in performance here during the long runs, and that could be a problem for the race. We still need to find the optimal set-up, but we have final practice tomorrow morning to work on things.”
Renault chief race engineer, Alan Permane summed-up: “The track began the day very dirty and slippery. It did improve, but not enough to make us happy and comfortable with the car. The cars are sliding about and that's made even more difficult by the fact that we are running with low downforce.
“We ran both tyre compounds (medium and supersoft) this afternoon. It's difficult to say which one is better in terms of lap time and we still need to look over the data to determine which one we will favour. We will continue monitoring this during final practice tomorrow morning as the track evolves further and more rubber is laid down.
“At the moment we're predicting a dry day tomorrow and rain on Sunday afternoon – probably after the race, but the forecast can change very quickly here so we will keep a close eye on the weather radar.”