Heikki Kovalainen was pleased an 'unusual programme' served to pay dividends for the Renault team in practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix, the Finn ending the day second fastest.

Renault have often struggled to make an impression in practice prior to the race in the interests of following a conservative programme designed to ease themselves into the weekend and not reveal their cards too early.

However, Kovalainen claims the R27 was quick from the off prompting them to push a little harder in the afternoon especially, despite tricky conditions that included a light sprinkling of rain in the latter stages.

Indeed, Kovalainen had been quickest in the session for much of the time before Fernando Alonso managed to undercut his time. Nonetheless he was pleased to pull a headline grabbing lap out of the bag.

"We ran a slightly unusual programme today, and it seemed to work well for us. I felt confident and comfortable in the car straight away, and the balance was quite neutral through both sessions. I got good quick laps on both types of tyre, and we understand the differences in their behaviour.

"I think that compared to recent races, this was a much better start to the weekend, and we are on the right track with the set-up. Now we need to improve the car a little bit overnight, and stay focused on producing a good performance on Sunday."

However, despite the seeming pace of Kovalainen and Giancarlo Fisichella, who was eighth fastest in the afternoon, Pat Symonds erred on the side of caution, pointing out the practice sessions in Hungary rarely provide an accurate indicator for the weekend.

"The times on Friday are not always a reliable indication of teams' true pace, and they must always be treated with some caution as teams often run quite different programmes. On a circuit such as this, that is probably even more true.

"We focused on completing our programme today and started to get a handle on the tyres. As always, the track was very low in grip when we started running, and the constantly-improving track conditions further complicated our attempts to find a good handling balance. It was important to avoid chasing the track evolution with our set-up changes, and I think we made good progress on the basic performance of the car in spite of this."

 

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