Lotus stand-in Jerome d'Ambrosio felt he made 'steady progress' today during practice for the Italian Grand Prix.
The 26-year-old, who has been drafted in to replace regular driver Romain Grosjean, while the Frenchman serves his one-race ban, completed a total of 65 laps during his first grand prix practice sessions since Brazil 2011, finishing up 15th in P1 and 12th in P2. His best lap was a 1 minute 26.157 seconds.
“Today went pretty well overall and it feels good to be back in the car,” said the ex-Marussia Virgin Racing pilot. “It's not an easy task stepping in at the last minute; there's a lot to take in and with a low downforce track like Monza it can be quite tricky to find the limit, but we completed a busy schedule and put in a lot of laps which is a good start.
“It's difficult to say where we are right now, but we made steady progress between the two sessions and my aim for tomorrow is to take another step forwards and see where we go from there. So far so good.”
Lotus trackside operations director Alan Permane was impressed with how the Belgian coped: “Jerome has done a great job; chipping away at the time difference between him and [team-mate] Kimi [Raikkonen] without any problems while absorbing all the procedures and information we've thrown at him. We feel we've made good progress with the running we've had,” he noted.
Raikkonen meanwhile was again on the pace, and he finished the day seventh overall on a 1m 25.504s, just two tenths off the top time set by Lewis Hamilton.
“It was an okay day,” added the Finn. “We tried a few different things with no issues and I'm happy with the car. Our long run pace was not too bad and we weren't too far away from the fastest lap set today either.
“There aren't many corners here, but running with low downforce means the grip is not as good under braking and cornering through the chicanes.
“It's not easy to get the perfect lap here but maybe we can improve tomorrow; we shall see,” he concluded.