Force India's Paul di Resta made a strong start to the 2013 F1 Bahrain Grand Prix weekend on Friday.
The Scot, who has scored eight points so far this season, after finishing eighth in Australia and eighth in China last Sunday, began by posting the fifth fastest time this morning in the opening practice session at the Sakhir circuit.
He then held onto that position in the second session, knocking half a second or so off his top time from FP1, and concluding the day just 0.389 seconds behind Kimi Raikkonen, who was quickest for Lotus.
“As Fridays go it's been positive and we've achieved as much as we could realistically have hoped for,” di Resta remarked. “The car is working well and responding as we expected, and we've already got a reasonable idea of where we stand.
“There is still some optimising to do, as always, but if we can take another step forward tonight we should be in a strong position going into qualifying.”
Adrian Sutil meanwhile also had a pretty good day in the sister car - setting the seventh best time in FP1 and the ninth best in FP2, although he wasn't quite so happy as his team-mate.
“Lots of laps and lots of things to evaluate today, but I'm still not totally comfortable with the car – either for short or long runs. It all feels very low grip at the moment so the set-up is not quite right for me yet,” explained the German.
“As for the tyres, there are no real concerns. My long runs looked competitive and both the medium and hard compounds seem to be working well for us in the high temperatures – as they did in Malaysia.”
“A very straightforward couple of sessions and overall we are feeling happy with how things have gone,” summarised Jakob Andreasen, Force India's chief race engineer. “The aero programme this morning helped to address some of the unanswered questions from China and allowed us to learn more about some of the new parts we have tried on the car recently.
“We also tested all our cooling solutions and don't anticipate any issues during the race.
“As usual, we switched to tyre evaluation this afternoon and both cars managed to complete long runs on both tyre compounds. It was a slick session and sets us up nicely for tomorrow.
“With a few more tweaks overnight we should be able to keep up the momentum and get both cars in Q3 tomorrow afternoon.”