OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE
Fuji, Japan, Oct 10, 2008
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen emerged third and ninth respectively from Friday’s second free practice session for the Japanese Grand Prix. Lewis completed 40 laps of the Fuji International Speedway, setting a best time of 1m18.463. Heikki did 32 laps and posted a 1m18.803 in a session that saw the top 17 drivers covered by less than a second. In the morning session, Lewis was quickest overall with a 1m18.910 (23 laps); Heikki ended up third with 1m19.279 (20 laps).
“Fuji is a place I really enjoy: it’s not the easiest of tracks because it requires a good set-up to get the best from the car, but I had no complaints today. We were immediately on the pace and found a very good balance straight away. In the afternoon, I did a promising longer run with no major problems and I feel confident about our pace for the rest of the weekend.”
“Today was a pretty straightforward practice day with no major problems. We successfully went through our tyre comparison programme, which went well. We made some good progress with the set-up into the afternoon and that also made me feel a lot more confident about attacking this place. I don’t think today’s times are totally representative, but we’re certainly in good shape for the rest of the weekend.”
“Today we conducted two trouble-free sessions, encountering no problems with either of our cars: a normal day at the office, you could say. Having said that, whomever I talk to in our team, I notice the same thing: we’re more together, more focused, more committed and more motivated than ever before. There’s a tremendous feeling of comradeship – in our garage and in our hospitality units here at Fuji, and of course back in Woking, in Brixworth and in Stuttgart. And that comradeship, that will to win, will persist throughout this race weekend and throughout the final two weekends of the season, too.”
“That didn’t look bad, and we are quite satisfied with the outcome of today’s practice. Our long runs in race trim were fast and consistent, with both the option and the prime tyres. It’s all looking positive; however, we don’t yet know what the opposition has in store for us. Only one fact seems to be sure: the weather will be better than it was last year.”
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