Sahara Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg was among the top-10 drivers in the practice session for Sunday’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park. Hulkenberg, who has returned to the side, managed his fastest lap in FP1 in 1 minute and 33.533 seconds but cut down at least two seconds in the second session to take the 10th spot.
“It was a smooth day with lots to learn. I had a little moment at the end of FP2 when I put a wheel on the grass under braking, but the conditions were difficult because the sun was so low in the sky. Otherwise the day went well in terms of reliability and we look quite competitive so far,” he said.
“It feels like both tyre compounds are working well, but there is still room for improvement with the balance, which is where we will concentrate this evening,” the German added.
Mexico’s Sergio Perez’s was the 13th fastest with his best time of the day in 1:31.283 in FP2. “It’s been a successful day in terms of the work we’ve done and I think we can feel confident about the rest of the weekend. There are some areas where we need to improve, but the most important thing is that we managed to collect some good information.
“I’m happy with the general balance of the car so we have moved in the right direction with the set-up. My long run was not ideal because of the traffic, but we have enough information to make our decisions,” he said.