The German finished both Friday practice sessions in the top three and feels that it has been a positive day for the team. However, he does feel that work still needs to be done on tyre management.
Discussing his day at the office he said: “The track here at Suzuka is such great fun to drive and our car was feeling fantastic around it today. We were quite fast over one lap and on the long runs but the important thing is how we manage the tyres as that will be the key to success here. There’s a lot of work ahead of us but I’m really looking forward to the rest of the weekend and I hope we can annoy the Red Bulls a little bit.”
Team-mate Lewis Hamilton topped the first practice session of the day before slipping to sixth in the second 90 minute session. He felt that it was a good day for the Brackley based squad and is looking forward to a competitive race weekend: “This track is so beautiful to drive, it’s fast and flowing, and our car really does feel good here. But it’s also a very unforgiving and challenging circuit; you’re always on the limit so the trick is to balance and control that limit. I’m happy with where our car is after the first practice sessions today although, of course, we would love to be more competitive.”
Despite being happy with the feel of the car, he did specify that there is still work to be done: “We’ve got some work to do this evening on the tyre management in particular. It’s too early to think about what we can achieve but I’m looking forward to a competitive qualifying tomorrow and then we will have to see what we can do in the race.”
However it wasn’t the smoothest of Friday’s with team principal Ross Brawn confirming that the team had to change their programme after Hamilton and Rosberg suffered flat spots: “We had a slightly messy session this afternoon which didn’t quite run as smoothly as we might have hoped. Both drivers suffered flat spots with the tyres, which forced us to adapt our programme, but they were still able to complete enough running to get a good feel for each compound and how it’s working at this circuit.”
Image courtesy of Mercedes AMG Petronas