Preparation for the Spanish Grand Prix got underway today with two 90-minute free practice sessions. Etihad Aldar Spyker Formula One Team race drivers Adrian Sutil and Christijan Albers drove in both sessions, each completing 25 laps in the first session and 33 and 30 respectively in the second.
In the last two races, the team has been at a disadvantage by not participating in the scheduled pre-event tests, however came to Spain with a strong base set-up developed in last week's three-day test at the circuit. In two trouble-free practice sessions, both drivers were happy with the balance of their F8-VIIs and were able to focus on evaluating tyres and set-up for Qualifying and Sunday's race.
Adrian and Christijan were evenly matched throughout the sessions, recording times just over two seconds from the fastest time of the day.
After a final practice session tomorrow morning, Qualifying starts at 14:00 local time.
Adrian Sutil: This was the first track I have been to this year with prior experience, so I know every corner and feel very comfortable as I don't need to spend time learning the circuit or getting a basic set-up. The first session was OK, I was quite happy with the balance, but the second session was a bit more difficult than we expected. We tried out the softer tyre and normally it makes a big difference, but this time we couldn't seem to find that improvement in time as we hoped. We'll just work on it for tomorrow but we are moving forward all the time.'
Christijan Albers: Even with the testing, it was not an easy day, but step by step you see that we are going quicker compared to the others. I've been working hard with Jody, my engineer, and we saw some improvement today, but we know we have to work to get a better result in Qualifying. The car is more stable, we still have a couple of issues, but I think tomorrow we'll be up there fighting with the others.'
Mike Gascoyne, chief technical officer: It was a productive day. We didn't have any mechanical problems on either car and worked on evaluating the two types of tyre available this weekend. The balance of both cars was pretty good and both drivers were reasonably happy; I think we've benefited from having tested here before. The pace of the car was better and we're now much closer to the pace of the group in front, a trend we hope we'll continue throughout the weekend.