The Marussia F1 Team's Timo Glock simply loves the Singapore Grand Prix - and it shows! On the opening day of Free Practice at the Marina Bay Circuit today, the German - who has a 2nd and a 4th position to his credit at this circuit - led the race at the back of the pack throughout both sessions, ending the day 0.35s clear of the team's nearest competitors.
Charles Pic was not fazed by yet another all-new circuit, nor by his first experience of night-race conditions to boot. He quickly found his rhythm and gradually set about bringing his lap time into line with that of his team-mate.
The day (night) began in wet conditions after a downpour left the track damp and drying in the 30?C ambient temperature and fierce 70%+ humidity. Consequently the drivers began Free Practice 1 on the Pirelli Cinturato Intermediate tyre before progressing through the evaluation of the P-Zero Yellow Soft and Red Supersoft when the conditions became more favourable.
The team's objectives for today were initially for Charles to acclimatise to a new circuit while Timo stepped through a number of aero evaluations. Both drivers used new development drum and duct brake parts designed to effect the required degree of cooling for this track, and some new rear suspension components were also brought into play to further benefit the handling issues which Timo experienced mid-season.
Timo Glock: "A sweaty start, not to put too fine a point on it. That's normal for Singapore though and the hot conditions are very tough for everyone. It's just great to be back again and huge fun to drive here. I love every lap. We got through the programme quite well today. In FP2 we did quite an important test which we still have to analyse and have a think about where we go with it, because we seem to have made good progress with the car. Other than that we did some long runs with the tyres and I think that will be the key point over the weekend - to just keep the tyres alive as long as possible. It's not easy to get the lap together in qualifying but I'll do my best and also I think there is still a little more to come from the car. We'll see what we can do."
Charles Pic: "Again, I'm very pleased to have adjusted well to what is a new circuit for me and also today has been my first time running in night-race conditions, so a lot to take in. This morning I made that my focus but I was quickly up to speed and able to work on the technical programme very soon. The heat and humidity are not easy for anyone in the team - it's tough. Generally I am quite happy with where we are on only day one - especially in respect of our competitors - and there is certainly room for further improvement through the weekend. I have to say this track is one of the ones I have been most looking forward to in my debut season and so far I love it! The atmosphere already is quite electric because of the unique setting, so I can't wait to see it build for the race."
John Booth, Team Principal: "A very positive start to our Singapore Grand Prix weekend. As expected Timo seems to be in his element here and the car is working very well with the new components introduced for this weekend. Charles seems to acclimatise so well to the tracks he's facing for the first time and this one is not easy, with the night-time schedule, the lights and the extreme heat and humidity. The rain this morning didn't make life easy as it hampered the start of our programme. Having said that, rain is good preparation for more rain and if we do encounter the wet conditions that have been mooted for later in the weekend, we will at least have had some preparation. Timo displacing all of our immediate competitors today has demonstrated another step forward and it was good to see Charles sitting between Kovalainen and Petrov after such a short amount of familiarisation with this track."
Check out our Practice gallery, here.