15 March 2013
Sutil satisfied, Di Resta hampered by poor balance
Force India described Friday as "a positive start to the season," with a satisfying return to racing for Adrian Sutil - but issues for Paul di Resta.
Adrian Sutil was back in action at an F1 Grand Prix for the first time in over a year, and was loving every minute of his second chance to compete in the 2013 world championship.
"It was a very good day and I feel satisfied," the Foce India driver said after the two free practice sessions on the Albert Park street circuit in Melbourne. "I had a good feeling all day and enjoyed working with my engineers, who I already know very well. The track is obviously evolving and improving, but we got a good feel for the tyres."
Sutil had more than a few 'moments' during the three hours of track time available to the teams in Australia on Friday as he got reaccustomed to F1 racing after his year out of the sport, but no major problems as he went on to set the ninth fastest time of the day with a lap of 1:27.435s
That was almost a second faster than his team mate, Paul di Resta, who admitted that he'd been struggling with balance issues in the afternoon session.
"It wasn't the easiest of days because I had a balance issue with the car in the second session," explained the Scot. "It looks like I picked up some damage, so it was not easy to gauge exactly where we are."
Even so, the team was happy to complete its programme of work for the day and was satisfied by how they'd fared compared with the other midfield teams.
"It was crucial to get all the tyre information we needed today," said di Resta. "There is a noticeable difference between the two compounds, but it's difficult to say much more until we have been over all the data."
"We were able to pick up where we left off in the Barcelona test," said Force India's chief engineer Jakob Andreasen. "A typical day of Friday practice to start the season. The cars are working well.
"Adrian settled back into the routine seamlessly and worked his way steadily through the programme. The only issue of the day was some damage to the floor of Paul's car, which we were unable to fix, so that compromised his car's performance this afternoon," he admitted.
Whether the solid day's work translates into a good performance in tomorrow's qualifying session and a starting position high up on the grid for Sunday's race is an altogether different matter, as di Resta pointed out.
"It's likely to be wet tomorrow," he said, echoing the concerns of all the drivers and teams on pit rod, as wet weather could prove a game-changer for everyone.
"Overall we're well prepared going into the weekend and possibly anticipating some wet weather tomorrow," agreed Andreasen.
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