Nico Rosberg was reasonably encouraged following practice on Friday for the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Rosberg may have been a very lowly 18th in the opening session, but he improved in the afternoon and ended the day seventh overall on a 1 minute 14.669 seconds, which put him just fractionally behind his Mercedes team-mate, Michael Schumacher and eighth on the combined timesheets.
“It was a decent Friday for us today,” Rosberg remarked. “There were difficult conditions out there because of the high track temperatures and the altitude which made it hard to find grip. However we managed quite well and, especially on the long runs, the pace was good.”
Rosberg warned, however, that he is not expecting miracles: “I hope we can do better here than in the previous races,” he continued, “but it will be tough for us, and our focus is still on learning and understanding for 2013.”
Schumacher meanwhile, who is of course preparing for his final race at the pinnacle of the sport, was also quite happy. With rain forecast though, he knows the race could be a very different challenge.
“It was a reasonably good day, and we kept working on our planned programme. However, the predictions for Sunday at the moment are for rain, so there may be totally different conditions then,” he added. “We therefore have to see what we can make of today's data and transform it into a good qualifying and, even better, a good race.”
“We had a pretty good final Friday of the season today,” summarised Mercedes team principal, Ross Brawn. “We had the 2013 development tyres from Pirelli to work with and spent this morning going through a series of evaluations. It was a good session and we collected a lot of interesting data.
“This afternoon, we focused on race preparation and high fuel work. The car seems fairly well balanced and the tyres for this weekend proved consistent despite the high track temperatures.
“There is speculation that Sunday will be very wet so it may prove futile, but we've completed a large part of our preparation if it remains dry.”
“A smooth and decent first day for us at this last Grand Prix of the 2012 season," Mercedes boss, Norbert Haug chipped in. "During the first session, we had our first experience with the Pirelli tyres for the 2013 season. In the second session this afternoon, our lap times looked quite consistent during our race simulations. The weather forecast predicts rain for Sunday and slightly cooler temperatures tomorrow than we experienced today when track temperatures reached about 50 degrees. If the forecast is right, everybody will have to handle different conditions than experienced today."