Brawn GP's Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello took to the track under the floodlights of the Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore this evening for the first of the practice sessions ahead of Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix.
The first practice session got underway at 18:00hrs in relative daylight which darkened over the course of the ninety minutes. Running with the Brawn-Mercedes cars in a high downforce configuration suited to the demands of the slow and twisty nature of the 23-turn circuit, Jenson and Rubens worked through a series of set-up evaluations with Rubens topping the timesheets at the end of the session and Jenson in second position.
The second session took place in full darkness at 21:30hrs with the Brawn GP drivers focusing on an evaluation of the soft and super soft Bridgestone Potenza tyre compounds available for this race weekend.
Jenson Button: "It's great to be back in Singapore this weekend and everyone is really enjoying the challenge of the night race and adjusting to our different working hours. We had a pretty full-on evening with a busy programme of set-up evaluations and tyre testing. This venue is a tough one with the heat and humidity to contend with and the nature of the circuit and the closeness of the barriers demand your total concentration. The key is achieving consistently quick laps and that's what we've been working on today. The car feels reasonable and with some more work later tonight, we should be ready for a good weekend."
Rubens Barrichello: "The car is feeling pretty good here after the first practice sessions and we're pleased with the work that we achieved. It was really busy out there today with traffic affecting our programme a little, particularly in the second session, but that was the same for everyone really. We've been focusing on our pace for Sunday and that's the most important consideration as we need the car well balanced to be quick in the race. I'm feeling positive and we should be able to achieve the right set-up ready for the weekend. It's so different to the rest of the year to be racing here at night and it's been a lot of fun so far."
Ross Brawn: "Following on from its successful debut last year, Singapore is once again proving to be a fantastic race venue and the whole team are enjoying the unusual hours that we are working and adjusting our race weekend programme to suit the particular demands of the night race. Looking at the first track activity today, we're pleased with how the two practice sessions went. Both Jenson and Rubens are feeling comfortable with the car and the reliable running throughout both sessions has provided us with a wealth of data to study into the early hours of the morning. This is a circuit which should suit our car provided we get the balance and set-up right for qualifying tomorrow so we're looking forward to the challenge of the weekend."