Red Bull Sets Practice Pace in Japan
Bridgestone’s soft tyre took Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel to the fastest lap of the sinuous Suzuka Circuit on the first day of the Japanese Grand Prix today. The German set a 1:31.465 lap time in the afternoon session after earlier setting the fastest time with the hard tyre in the morning. Bridgestone director of Motorsport Tyre Development, Hirohide Hamashima said that both compounds for the race were looking “strong”, but that wet tyres would also come into play at some point over the weekend.
Hamashima continued: “We saw exciting running today as this year’s cars and drivers tackled the delights of Suzuka, which can certainly catch out the unwary. The circuit surface improved through the day as we would expect. We saw some drivers have issues in the Degner Curve, especially when the circuit was dirtier in the morning.
“There is also a change of track surface here from the more abrasive older tarmac to the smoother, newer tarmac and this presents a good challenge. Overall this was a strong Friday tyre performance at the location where we tested our first Formula 1 tyres.
“Both compounds worked well today. We saw some graining, with a little more on the front than the rear, however nothing of particular concern. Of more concern is the weather as I think that rain is a strong possibility and that would certainly provide additional challenges. If it were to remain dry I think that a new lap record might be on the cards, but it is a game of chance with the weather,” he concluded.