Despite a somewhat inauspicious debut that saw him prove comfortably off the pace and bring an end to his day in the gravel trap, Markus Winkelhock is confident he can significantly improve as his debut Formula 1 weekend progresses.

The Spyker test driver, promoted to racer this weekend when Christijan Albers was axed following the British Grand Prix, Winkelhock has been thrust into the limelight with barely any preparation.

It duly showed in the first session when he finished 4.6secs off the ultimate pace and, more tellingly, eight tenths behind team-mate Adrian Sutil. Worse was to follow in the second session when he spun off into the gravel and lost the final 25 minutes. Slower than Sutil by eight tenths again, Winkelhock at least got the gap to the leaders down to four seconds.

Still, despite a less than perfect day, Winkelhock was not too disheartened, pointing out that, despite his test driver status, it is only the second time he has driven the F8-VIII all year. With that in mind, the current DTM driver is confident of finding more tenths heading into qualifying.

"Actually today was not too bad, especially considering I had only tested the car for one day this year before coming here! I felt I went better throughout the day and I felt confident with the car after just a few laps. Step by step we improved, but unfortunately I was pushing too hard in the second session and span into the gravel.

"We lost around 25 minutes of the session, which was unlucky, but at the end of the day I was not that far off Adrian, who I think has been very quick this year. But I know where I am losing the time and I think I can improve again tomorrow."



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