Bridgestones soft tyre proved to be the fastest rubber on track at Sepang for the first day of the Malaysian Grand Prix. Kimi Raikkonens Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro set the days fastest lap time in the afternoon practice session held in hot but cloudy weather conditions. AT&T Williams driver Nico Rosberg used the hard compound to go fastest in the morning session.
The hot and humid 5.54km Sepang circuit provided a challenge for competitors still mastering the 2009 specification cars and Bridgestones latest slick tyres and new tyre allocations. Today was the first time that Bridgestones hard compound tyre has been used by teams, and the first time a Bridgestone soft compound has been used at Malaysia.
Q&A with Hirohide Hamashima – Bridgestone Director of Motorsport Tyre Development
What was significant about todays running?
Todays running was interesting as it was the first time that the teams have used the hard compound. This tyre worked very much as expected, in line with our predictions, so we are very pleased. As designed, this tyre takes longer to warm-up than the soft, but it looks to deliver good constant performance once in its temperature working range.
How durable do you expect the soft compound to be in Malaysia?
Today we saw most running with the soft compound take place in the afternoon session, when track
temperatures were dropping. We did not see the same level of drop off as we did in Australia with the super soft compound. Also, we did not see the same amount of graining as we did last weekend, which should make life easier in this respect for the drivers here. Sundays race does not start until 17:00 hrs, so we do not expect extreme heat like we have seen in Malaysia in the past, which should make life less difficult for the tyres.
Stats of the Day