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The first free practice sessions of the spectacular Singapore Grand Prix which took place today at the Marina Bay Street Circuit served as a learning curve for HRT Formula 1 Team. A learning curve both for the team, which has brought a new floor to this Grand Prix, and drivers Pedro de la Rosa, Narain Karthikeyan and Ma Qing Hua, who drove for the first time at the 5.073 km street circuit.
The tough conditions with extreme heat and humidity were another factor worth keeping in mind throughout the 180 minutes of practice, that the team made the most of to carry out multiple aero, set-up, mechanical and tyre tests. All three drivers did a great job on the track and now it's time to analyze all the data gathered and decide on the optimum set-up for tomorrow's qualifying session and Sunday's race.
Pedro de la Rosa: "In the first session we focused mainly on learning the circuit. It's just as I expected, although tougher physically, especially in the first session. The second session was a bit easier, and as I already knew the circuit, we decided to set up the new floor. Now we must analyze the data to fully understand how it worked and how the different tests we carried out went, especially with different heights on the rear. From there we'll be able to evaluate the magnitude of the improvement and how much we can extract from it."
Narain Karthikeyan: "The objective was to adapt to the track because street circuits are always tricky and the important thing was to do laps and gain confidence. The track is very demanding physically, not just because of the heat, but because it's very stop and go. We must be happy with how the session went overall because we did a good job but tomorrow we must take another step forward with the car to progress. And I'm also happy with the trust and support Tata Tea shows in me, with them present on my helmet and drink bottle from this race on."
Ma Qing Hua: "It was fantastic to drive the F112 once again and do it at such a spectacular track. We did a good session and I learned a lot. We took it calmly as the conditions of the track, which was wet, weren't easy. We went out on intermediate tyres and the team wanted me to be comfortable and adapt to the track before switching to softs. I improved my times lap by lap and it was also the first time I'd driven a Formula 1 car in wet conditions, on a street circuit at night time so I'm happy with the result."
Luis Perez-Sala, Team Principal: "The day started with rain and it wasn't easy. Besides, none of the three drivers had raced at the Marina Bay Street Circuit before and we incorporated an aero upgrade so it was a day for learning and they did a good job. Ma, once again, fulfilled his role and took another step in his learning process, which is very positive. Now we must analyze the data before drawing conclusions. With the difficulties that all these factors presents the important thing was to finish the day with no incidents and we did just that."
Check out our Practice gallery, here.
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