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Within this blog you can expect to find all the latest news related to Formula 1 & its Jr. series (GP2 & GP3) This is my first ever blog so feel free to leave comments on how I am doing or Tweet me @PhillipNunesF1 with your views.


Welcome to my Blog. This is my first attempt at blogging and I intend for it to be a success so please feel free to leave comments saying how I am doing and your opinion on the latest F1 news.

Everything written on this site is by myself - Phillip Nunes

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Friday, 16 March 2012

Australia FP1 & FP2 Review

Australia FP1 & FP2 Review

The 2012 Formula 1 season finally got underway in a damp and drizzly Albert park at 12:30pm local time & 1:30am GMT. The season had been highly built up but the season seemed to start with an anti-climax when the typical changing weather at Melbourne dealt the teams with a blow in the form of rain just before Friday practice 1 (FP1)

The weather was the least of Kimi Raikkonen's problems when his cars front end was in bits. The returning 2007 world champion was taking the chance of poor weather conditions to change the power of his power steering. Which according to sources he has not been happy with so far in the Lotus.

The weather didn't stop the teams and the first car on track was the Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne. The rookie Frenchman was quickly followed by the the pack and they all ran through installation laps to make sure the car was working ready to go push on a fast lap. Although this early section of the practice sessions are not thrilling for the spectators it is crucial work for the team to confirm the car is fundamentally ready to run.

Slowly by slowly the teams moved out back onto the circuit on the green marked intermediate Pirelli tyres. The times kept tumbling due to the ever drying track and ever growing confident drivers. All the teams were out on track as although wet conditions are not ideal, being the beginning of the season they still need to do aero and this is possible in damp conditions.

Later on into the session the Sauber team unleashed Kamui Kobayashi onto the street circuit with dry hard compound tyres, marked by the white stripe.  Kamui instantly went 6seconds quicker than the current fastest times and the rest of the field soon followed the Japanese driver onto the track on the hard compound Pirelli's

The times were improving every lap and whilst Felipe Massa had just completed his fastest 1st sector the Brazilian spun at turn 9 after getting his rear tyre onto the grass whilst under breaking. This left the Ferrari driver 18th after the 90minutes of practice and feeling rather embarrassed.

This re-highlighted Ferrari's troubles and it was proven again by the highly talented Fernando Alonso nearly loosing the back end at the last corner of his last lap. He could manage a solid 4 posistion which seemingly with Red Bull's low key first practice left the 2 McLaren drivers to battle it out and Schumacher just behind;

1) Button 1:27.560s 11 laps
2) Hamilton 1:27.805 14
3) Schumacher 1:28.235 17
4) Alonso 1:28.360 21
5) Webber 1:28.467 21
6) Rosberg 1:28.643 22
7) Ricciardo 1:28.908 23
8) Maldonado 1:29.415 16
9) Raikkonen 1:29.565 8
10) Kobayashi 1:29.722 26
11) Vettel 1:29.790 21
12) Hulkenberg 1:29.865 17
13) Di Resta 1:29.881 18
14) Senna 1:29.953 21
15) Perez 1:30.124 22
16) Grosjean 1:30.515 16
17) Kovalainen 1:30.586 16
18) Massa 1:30.743 11
19) Vergne 1:31.178 17
20) Petrov 1:31.983 8
21) Glock 1:34.730 8
22) Pic 1:40.256
23) Karthikeyan No time 3
24) De la Rosa No time 0

The weather forecast predicted for Friday practice 2 (FP2) was meant to be dry but just minutes before the green light the heavens opened. This drenched the track and meant a very slow start to the second session with very few cars heading out.

When the cars did emerge from the garages they were all on the blue marked full wet tyres as there was clearly a lot of standing water left on the circuit. Like the first session the teams had to do the standard procedure of installation laps to confirm the car is ready and a chance for the driver to find how the track is feeling on grip.

The quiet spell on the track due to the weather allowed the newly designed HRT team to get some valuable mileage under the belt for Indian driver Karthikeyan. The HRT team had issues with Narain Karthikeyan's car who stopped in FP1 reportedly due to a drop in oil pressure.

Similarly to the 1st session the track dried out over the period of the first 60minutes whilst the grid ran intermediate tyres. This left the last section of the 90minutes for the teams to attack the track with some dry running.

Everyone was on track to get some crucial data of dry running going into the weekend. Interestingly unlike FP1 teams decided to allow there drivers to run on the yellow mark soft compound. This tyre is meant to be quicker but the white marked hard compound was delivering the fastest times in this session. This may be due to the tyre compound being able to reach operating temperature at a lower figure.

The times were getting quicker and quicker with both Sahara Force India's looking impressive but the P1 posistion went to 7 time world champion Michael Schumacher driving for this years dark horse Mercedes. Shockingly despite looking twitchy the prancing horse of Ferrari picked up another 4th from Fernando and a positive 7th from Felipe Massa.

It is key not to read to much into these times as the track was constantly drying and teams could easily be on different fuel loads which can affect the lap time massively but what we can see is that Mercedes & McLaren both look impressive in lap time and straight line speed but don't discount the others yet as teams historically will not show there true pace until FP3, if not later (Qualifying)

1) Schumacher 1:29.183 16 laps
2) Hulkenberg 1:29.292 19
3) Perez 1:30.199 23
4) Alonso 1:30.341 13
5) Kobayashi 1:30.709 14
6) Di Resta 1:31.466 13
7) Massa 1:31:505 14
8) Kovalainen 1:31.932 16
9) Rosberg 1:32.184 17
10) Vettel 1:32.194 19
11) Webber 1:32.296 20
12) Glock 1:32.632 17
13) Petrov 1:32.767 15
14) Grosjean 1:32.822 11
15) Button 1:33.039 18
16) Hamilton 1:33.252 11
17) Maldonado 1:34.108 21
18) Raikkonen 1:34.275 7
19) Senna 1:34.312 17
20) Vergne 1:34.485 29
21) Ricciardo 1:34.604 31
22) Pic 1:34.770 13
23) Karthikeyan 1:42.627 16
24) De la Rosa No time 1

What was your view of the first two practice sessions? Let me know via a comment on this blog or Tweet me via the link below.

Twitter - @PhillipNunesF1

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