The forecast for Saturday might be for showers, but after comfortably pacing both free practice sessions on a dry opening day ahead of this weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos, Red Bull Racing team-mates Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber professed themselves optimistic about their prospects come rain or shine.
Although Vettel lapped the 4.3km, anti-clockwise Autódromo José Carlos Pace in São Paulo almost half a second clear of Webber during the morning FP1 session, the Australian closed right up later on in the day to wind up barely a tenth of a second adrift of the young German – but even more importantly still, the pair were both some three tenths clear of their principal rival, F1 2010 World Championship leader Fernando Alonso. All-in-all, a promising start to a 'must-win' weekend.
“I think it was pretty good today,” acknowledged Vettel, who has
to beat Alonso in Brazil to retain any hope at all of continuing to fight for the title in the Abu Dhabi finale a week later. “Of course, it's not the most important thing to be at the top of the timing list today – it's more important tomorrow and Sunday – but it's a good start. The car feels alright; I'm not 100 per cent happy with the balance and think we can improve it, but it's looking okay. I think it's likely to rain tomorrow.”
Webber, for his part, does not necessarily need to beat Vettel at Interlagos, but does need to finish ahead of Alonso – who he presently trails by eleven points in the drivers' standings following his costly Korean mishap a fortnight ago. Having dominated proceedings in the same race this time last year, the plain-speaking Aussie is calm about the battle that lies ahead.
“It was a good Friday and we got through everything we wanted,” the 34-year-old affirmed. “Obviously the track was in a good condition from the outset, so we were able to get down to work. Conditions were good and we made the most of it. We're not too sure what will happen weather-wise, but we're pretty quick and the car works well in all conditions, so we should be set for a good result.”