A1GP Brazil team principal Emerson Fittipaldi insisted that the paddock can't be critical of the problems encountered in Beijing, despite the fact that only 25 minutes of running has been possible in the Chinese capital ahead of the third A1GP meeting of the season.

Having seen no running on Friday due to an issue with the hairpin on the street circuit, Saturday was little better, with the hairpin having been removed and limited running taking place before a loose manhole cover brought out the red flags on safety grounds.

With the need to ensure that all the offending covers are firmly fixed down in time for the two races on Sunday, the action was suspended with the grid being formed on the times posted during practice, meaning Raphael Matos will line up on the third row of the grid for the sprint race.

Having admitted that his driver would have been able to go faster, Fittipaldi was happy with the way the shortened day had progressed and, rather than criticise the Chinese for the problems encountered with the circuit, said they should be praised for the hard work that had gone into getting Beijing ready to race.

"I am very happy with the way that the team ran the car today and Raphael did a fantastic job, improving all the time," he said. "He was running right at the top of the times, and was on a very fast lap towards the end of the session, but was unfortunately slowed down when he got stuck in traffic in the last sector. With the performance of the car and driver, we really should have been second or third fastest, so that puts us in a confident frame of mind.

"Regarding the problems with the track, we cannot be too critical. I have experienced this kind of problem many times on American street tracks, even when I was racing I had this sort of thing happen at least twice. The Chinese people did a great job to put together the track, but unfortunately we've had this problem with the manhole cover. They have a lot of time to sort this out before running tomorrow, so now we just look forward to the race."

Matos himself was also happy with how his time at the wheel had gone, although the limited running meant he was unable to truly get in tune with the car and circuit.

"I'm quite happy with the car and the team is working well - we have secured a good grid spot for tomorrow despite the limited running we had," he said. "I was still learning about the car and the circuit when the session was stopped, but this is the situation and we just have to get on with things. We had a really good lap going until the second to last corner when I was held up by a car, which was a shame.

"I'm a bit disappointed with the way that things have happened with the problems on the track, but there's nothing we can do. It's quite a fun track to drive, it's very bumpy but every street circuit is like that. I have just been trying to use my experience of this kind of track from Atlantics this year and hopefully everything will be sorted and we'll have a good race tomorrow."

 

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