Manama, April 20 (IANS) Sahara Force India drivers Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg finished third and sixth in the first practice session at the Bahrain Grand Prix Friday, while they decided to give the second a miss amidst security concerns.
The Bahrain Grand Prix had got off to the worst possible start Wednesday as a Force India team vehicle survived a fire bomb here while making its way from the Grand Prix circuit back to its hotel. None of the four team members, who were in the vehicle, was injured.
On Friday, Force India were the only team running on the soft compound tyres at the Sakhir circuit in the desert landscape half an hour's drive from capital city Manama. The team withdrew from the second free practice session for safety reasons.
Di Resta, in VJM05/02, clocked 1:34.150 to finished third while Hulkenberg, in VJM05/03 clocked 1:34.344 during the 26 lap first session.
"The track was very green and dusty to begin with, but we got on with the programme quickly and did the usual balance work, cooling checks and got a feel for both the medium and the soft tyres. The baseline set-up was not a long way off, but our focus for tomorrow is to improve our performance in the low-speed corners," said Di Resta.
Hulkenberg said Force India made sure to run on all three sets of tyres to get desired data for the race.
"The session went okay and the car felt quite good out of the box, although there is still some fine-tuning to do in FP3," he said.
Force India's chief engineer Jakob Andreasen said: "A very busy morning programme with a lot to get through considering we haven't raced in Bahrain for a couple of years. After the initial balance checks we looked at our brake and engine cooling solutions and dialled the cars into the circuit with some mechanical and aero set-up work. We have pretty much used up our tyre allocation this morning, which has given us all the data we need heading into tomorrow when we can hopefully deliver a strong qualifying performance."
The Bahrain GP was cancelled last year after anti-government protests in the Gulf kingdom claimed nearly 50 lives.
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