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Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg kicked off the Mercedes team's track preparations for the Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix today with the first two practice sessions at the Sepang International Circuit.
In sweltering conditions, Michael and Nico worked through an intense programme over the two 90 minute sessions. The team focused mainly on tyre evaluations with the Pirelli medium and hard compounds available here. The pair completed 108 laps of the 5.543 km circuit and finished the day with Michael in P2 and Nico in P4.
Michael Schumacher: "We had a good day on track today, and I am very happy about the work that has been done since Australia. This has enabled us to achieve reasonably consistent long runs which is obviously important in these conditions. Saying that, we also know that everyone works on different programmes on Fridays, so I would guess we have not seen everything yet. We are very much aware that we should not be too optimistic about today's outcome."
Nico Rosberg: "We've had a decent start today at one of our home races here in Malaysia so I'm quite happy. We learned a lot about how to use our tyres, and I feel things are going in the right direction but I don't know where we are compared to the others. It will be very interesting how we can manage the situation on Sunday."
Ross Brawn: "We've had two good practice sessions today and achieved a lot of positive work. We know that we need to focus on tyre consistency and durability, and we learnt some valuable things today which we can hopefully carry into the race. We also need to make sure that we follow the track evolution over the next couple of days so that we end up with the right car for the race on Sunday. Overall, a very good start to one of our home races here in Malaysia."
Norbert Haug: "Our focus today was on long runs under race conditions to learn about the best usage of both compounds Pirelli are supplying here. Sepang is a very demanding track in this respect with both heat and humidity contributing to the challenge on this wonderful circuit in the home country of our title partner Petronas. We learned a lot today and hopefully created a basis to work from tomorrow and on Sunday."
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