Mortara encouraged by early pace
|By Steven English||Thursday, November 13th 2008, 08:38 GMT|
Edoardo Mortara was encouraged by his front running pace on the first day of running at this year's Macau Grand Prix but is refusing to get too carried away with the final qualifying session still to come tomorrow.
He took provisional pole today and only Japanese F3 champion Carlo van Dam was able to get within seven tenths of his best time - but the majority of the drivers haven't yet shown their true pace, electing not to push too hard and risk a crash on the first day.
Mortara doesn't expect to maintain such an advantage in final qualifying tomorrow.
"Nothing has really happened yet, it is a good start but it is just day one," said the Italian. "The times will be faster tomorrow so today is more like practice. Also, the rookies that are learning the circuit will get faster all the time and the gap will come down.
"To be honest, I wasn't pushing that hard in the morning and I don't think many did."
But it wasn't all good for Mortara today, he damaged the nose of his car at the end of the qualifying session when Masaki Matsushita spun and blocked the road.
"I am satisfied with the car, but we have to work very and if we can fix all this damage then it won't be a problem," added Mortara.
Van Dam also played down the significance of the times this afternoon and is confident that he will be in a position to challenge Mortara for pole tomorrow.
"It is only the first day, but so far it has been pretty good in terms of lap time," said van Dam. "It is called first qualifying but really it is just second practice - it is about getting comfortable with the car.
"It is nice to be here with TOM'S. They are always strong here and we've had some good preparation, so I am feeling quite confident.
"Last year Mortara was the best rookie here and we have been working hard to close the gap to him. This morning we were 1.4 seconds off and now we are only three tenths so we'll see what more we can do tomorrow. I feel good."