In the circumstances, Heidfeld – looking to atone for his crushingly disappointing Renault
debut in Melbourne just under a fortnight ago – did a superb job to place seventh in FP1 and eighth in FP2 with just 22 laps on the board in total. Petrov, for his part, managed one lap fewer than his team-mate, winding up 24th and last in the morning and 13th in the afternoon.
“Because of the issues this morning, we didn't run very much at all today,” conceded the experienced German, revealing that he has made use of the time since the Australian Grand Prix
curtain-raiser 'to train and have a positive attitude going into this weekend'. “We therefore had to prioritise what we did in the afternoon, and we felt it was best to do a long run on the soft tyres. Although we didn't do many laps, we got some data and we learned a few things, especially about the high degradation rate of the softs.
“Considering that we did no real set-up work today, it's quite encouraging that I was in the top ten in both sessions. We now have to concentrate on making good progress in the final practice session tomorrow morning.”
“It wasn't the best day,” echoed the Russian, an unexpected podium star Down Under. “The problem in the morning was quite a surprise, and we decided not to run until late in the afternoon when we had understood things properly. When I did finally get out, the car felt fine, but the time we had was very limited and we didn't really manage to do any set-up work.
“As we expected, the degradation rates are very high here, especially for the soft tyres, but they definitely had more grip and were a couple of seconds quicker than the hard. However, tomorrow is a new day and I think we can still have a good weekend.”