“It was a trouble-free day. We covered lots of laps, which was the priority and that allowed us to advance with our programme. The first signs are therefore encouraging and we will now review our data and work on our settings ahead of the final free practice session tomorrow morning to be ready for qualifying”, said the Spaniard after an encouraging first day.
The two-time world champion comes to Fuji Speedway after a great weekend in Singapore, where he had topped the timing sheets in GP's practice session and won the race despite starting it from 15th place on the grid (due to fuel problems). Last year, the Spaniard – then trailing teammate Lewis Hamilton for the lead in the drivers' classification – crashed out of the Mount Fuji race in heavy rain conditions.
It wasn't a perfect day for Renault though, as rookie Nelsinho Piquet only scored the 13th time in the second practice, almost half a second behind teammate Alonso. The Brazilian blamed most of it on not knowing the circuit very well – being his first Fuji Speedway run in career – and seemed confident to scoring a good result on Sunday.
'The circuit is interesting, not particularly difficult, and I was able to get comfortable with it quite quickly. We have made good progress with our technical programme today and although we still have a lot to do from now until tomorrow, it's definitely a good start and a sound basis to work from for the rest of the weekend', said Piquet.