Temperatures at Indianapolis were amongst the highest experienced so far this Formula One season , as the teams attempted to get to grips with the two Bridgestone tyres options on offer at a track not seen until race weekend.

The medium and soft compound Potenzas were under the microscope as drivers attempted to work out which option would be best for qualifying and the race and, despite the searing temperatures, Fernando Alonso led the way with a lap only 1.1secs off last year's pole time.

The medium and soft combination has only been previously seen at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, and the field was divided as to what it ought to run on day one. Alonso set his times on the soft compound, while BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld was second, but unhappy with the level of grip, regardless of what rubber he ran.

"After the first session, we looked pretty good on the results sheet, but that was only on the sheet I'm afraid," the German sighed, "I don't know who ran on which fuel load and used new tyres but, in any case, this morning I was already unhappy with the balance of the car and there was very little improvement this afternoon. We haven't managed yet to get the tyres to work properly and the car is just sliding too much."

Although several drivers echoed Heidfeld's sentiments about the lack of grip, Bridgestone's Kees van de Grint claimed that there were 'no tyre issues to report'.

"The circuit was not at its best, which is normal due to this being the first day of running," he noted, "But, despite this, both compounds of Potenzas performed well. If we are critical we could say that more grip would be advantageous but, in terms of graining and consistency, I am very satisfied.

"More grip should come as the circuit improves, but competitive lap times were already set despite the circuit's condition. The soft Potenza was faster, as expected, with a minimum four-tenths advantage over the medium Potenza.

"The temperature levels are not an issue to me, as it is the high speeds and the banking here which are the crucial aspects. Although we have had a good day today, we should never be complacent at this circuit."

 

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