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Bridgestone debut hard tire at Sepang
Bridgestone’s soft tire proved to be the fastest rubber on track at Sepang for the first day of the Malaysian Grand Prix. Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari set the day’s fastest lap time in the afternoon practice session held in hot but cloudy weather conditions. Williams Toyota 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 Bridgestone’s latest slick tires and new tire allocations. Today was the first time that Bridgestone’s hard compound tire has been used by teams, and the first time a Bridgestone soft compound has been used at Malaysia.

Hirohide Hamashima, Tire Development Director

“Today’s running was interesting as it was the first time that the teams have used the hard compound. This tire worked very much as expected, in line with our predictions, so we are very pleased. As designed, this tire takes longer to warm-up than the soft, but it looks to deliver good constant performance once in its temperature working range.

“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. Sunday’s 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 tires.”

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