Manor’s F1 rookie Rio Haryanto says he is “pleased” with how he acquitted himself in the opening free practice sessions for the Australian Grand Prix, especially given the tricky weather conditions.
Intermittent rain showers threw a spanner in the works of teams and drivers as they exited a long winter of preparations in Melbourne. But the situation was even more challenging for this year’s debutants, who had never lapped around Albert Park.
“It was a difficult day to start my Formula One career for sure under the difficult conditions,” said Haryanto, one of the three newcomers in 2016 along with team-mate Pascal Wehrlein and Renault’s Jolyon Palmer. “All in all we did what we had to do, which is to be out there to learn the circuit. I feel much more prepared now.
“One lap, I thought this was going to be a slightly dryer track but suddenly the rain came back. I had to really concentrate a lot, watching if the rain was coming or not. It was tricky but we did some good laps in FP2 and I am pleased with that.”
Haryanto adds that while he would rather have a dry circuit over the remainder of his maiden grand prix weekend, he is still happy to have secured valuable mileage on a wet track for the first time in his nascent F1 career.
“That’s the positive thing, despite the difficult conditions. We experienced how the car feels in wet conditions. We did not find a big difference in terms of balance compared to the dry track. It’s good data for us and also for myself to understand how it feels for the next time we encounter similar conditions.”