2013 Italian Grand Prix Practice - Driver reaction
The 22 drivers have their say on the opening day of action
By William Esler. Last Updated: 06/09/13 6:17pm
The 22 drivers have their say on the opening day of action at the legendary Monza circuit.
Sebastian Vettel: "It will be very tight this weekend, as we saw in the first practice. It will be close tomorrow in qualifying with quite a few cars separated by only a few hundredths of a second. There are a few things we still need to do to optimise the car, as there are two or three corners where we are sliding more than we would like. It's positive today, but it's only a Friday."
Mark Webber: "We seem okay here, although it's only Friday. We seemed good on Friday in Spa and then everyone was with us in P3. But, that said, the car feels good although we have some work to do to prepare for the race, so let's see tomorrow."
Fernando Alonso: "The feeling is the same as any Friday, which means we're neither very happy nor very disappointed with our performance level and we will have to wait and see how qualifying goes before getting a true picture. Red Bull seems very strong again here and we will have to do a lot of work to be as well prepared as possible for qualifying, in order to find those missing tenths.
"Although we have yet to analyse the data we have gathered today, some of the updates we brought here for this race seem to be working well, while others will require a bit more evaluation. We must get the most out of what we have available and try to have a good qualifying and a good race in front of our home crowd.
"Let's hope the weather will also be on our side, as the forecast for Sunday is for storms and that's why we must be ready to deal with whatever the conditions will be. Tyre degradation is very low here and we will definitely see fewer stops than at other races".
Felipe Massa: "Today we managed to test everything we had on our programme, which related to evaluating various aerodynamic solutions, looking for the ideal level of downforce. Now, our next task is to analyse all the available data to understand how to improve the car for qualifying and the race.
"Not everything went perfectly, especially towards the end of the second session when, as I was coming out of the first chicane, I had a gearbox problem. As I tried to change from first to second, it went straight into third and at that point, I returned to the pits slowly. We don't know exactly what happened, but I don't think it was anything serious. This won't be an easy weekend, because our main rivals have set great lap times on both compounds and in race trim, but we will do all we can to be as competitive as possible".
Jenson Button: "It's always fun to drive around such a fast circuit. You don't really feel the speed, it's more about getting used to the extremely low downforce set-up that we run around here.
"Early on in FP1, my DRS stuck open - we use a completely different DRS system for Monza because it's a low-downforce circuit. The mechanism stuck open in the shroud - which was a mistake - but it was quickly fixed by the guys in the garage.
"Despite that problem, FP1 was actually better for us than FP2, when we weren't quite as competitive. Nevertheless, there's a little bit more pace in the car that I hope we'll be able to extract - so it would be nice to get through to Q3.
"We changed quite a bit between the sessions today, and we think we know what works and what doesn't. It was a positive day in terms of understanding the car, actually.
"There are a lot of cars only narrowly ahead of us - it's extremely close out there. So we're going to work as hard as we can overnight. Having said that, we know that the race will be more important than qualifying."
Sergio Perez: "We managed to complete a very positive programme during both of today's sessions.
"In fact, we got through everything on our job-list today, which is a real positive. As always at Monza, we tried varying levels of downforce - that's an important thing to get right here - but it's a very difficult decision to make around here.
"Clearly, we need to make the right call for Sunday. In fact, as Jenson says, I don't really feel that qualifying tomorrow will be quite as important as it usually is; the key for us will be to engineer ourselves a good set-up, with a good strategy, for Sunday.
"So, in actual fact, we'll spend more time thinking about Sunday, and not so much looking at tomorrow. I'm not even too focused on getting into Q3, because I know our main aim will be about how we manage everything on Sunday."
Kimi Raikkonen: "The car felt pretty normal for me today and we're going to look at the data in order to make a decision on whether to use today's specification or the older one. It doesn't feel much different to me so it'll be a decision based on what the data says.
"Today we were a little surprised to be third fastest, but we're still quite far away from the fastest cars. There are still some areas for improvement so hopefully we can find more speed for tomorrow."
Romain Grosjean: "We had a productive day today. The timesheets showed that Kimi and I were very close, however that doesn't necessarily mean a lot. Kimi tested the new long wheelbase car and from today's work we have sent data back to the factory and we will see what the outcome is when analysis comes back.
"As drivers, our feedback on the feel of the car is also key. It is hard to precisely compare the two though; it could provide more brake stability which is what we all want here in Monza, however each driver also has their own braking style."
Lewis Hamilton: "The car feels pretty good here today at Monza. The balance is reasonable and we've had a pretty smooth day, better than our recent Fridays in fact. Although we're quite competitive, we're not quick enough yet and will have to work hard tonight to see where we can make some improvements. Of course we don't know what fuel loads other teams are on so we'll have to wait and see but there is a bit of work for us to do if we want to compete right at the front tomorrow."
Nico Rosberg: "As usual on Fridays, we are a bit away from the quickest times, however we learned a lot today. Almost every single lap brings important information and I think our car is good again. We need to work hard this evening to improve further though as the Red Bulls are very quick again. Generally it's a great atmosphere here at Monza; the track is absolutely fantastic and the fans are very enthusiastic. There's always a great welcome for us here."
Nico Hulkenberg: "It was quite a challenging day. This morning was compromised a bit by a gearbox issue, which we were able to solve before the afternoon session. When doing the long runs I felt more comfortable in the car than with low fuel. We definitely have some room for improvement there. We have to look into the data and analyse what happened, because I think we can be more competitive. Otherwise, as usual, we were learning about the tyres and the set-up."
Esteban Gutierrez: "It was a very productive Friday, without any issues on the car. We were trying to find the right balance and set-up of the car in the morning. In the afternoon, we made a decision, which wasn't the best. Overall it looked positive and we have very good data to analyse so we can make the right decision about the set-up of the car tomorrow."
Paul Di Resta: "The car seems to be relatively well balanced, but we've not been able to break into the top ten yet. So we need to work away tonight to try and improve things a bit more. Making Q3 tomorrow is the big target, which is definitely achievable. The field looks quite spread out here, certainly compared to some other races, but we seem to be close to McLaren. The tyres are performing in line with our predictions and we've got plenty of data to go through tonight."
Adrian Sutil: "Monza is an unusual track so it's been quite a challenge to get on top of the car today. There's certainly a lot to look at tonight because we need to improve the car under braking and make it easier to drive as I'm lacking overall grip at the moment. For the tyres we have the data we need and the long run performance looked okay."
James Calado: "Amazing - that's the only word I can use to describe the day. It took a while to get used to the car again, but once I was familiar with everything I was able to drive consistently and set some reasonable lap times. The balance felt good and everything ran smoothly during the session. I learned a lot and hopefully got some good data for the team. I want to say a big 'thank you' to Sahara Force India for the opportunity and I'm already looking forward to getting back in the car later in the year."
Pastor Maldonado: "We completed all the plans we had today. There is a lot to look at as we are close to the limit so it's hard to find a few more tenths of a second. It is quite difficult to put a lap together as there is some inconsistency in how the car behaves through different corners, but we will see where we are tomorrow as the track is changing a lot. We weren't able to improve our time too much this afternoon so we need to work harder to make sure we are better tomorrow."
Valtteri Bottas: "It wasn't an easy day today. We had some inconsistencies in the aerodynamics during FP1 and then in FP2 we were missing quite a lot of straight-line speed on my option tyre run. We need to look at why that happened as that is why the time doesn't look so good on the board. The positive thing today was the long run as we were competitive compared to Toro Rosso and Sauber and I think we can really challenge them in the race this weekend."
Jean-Eric Vergne: "The car worked well in the morning, but we were not so competitive in the second session. On my short runs and also on the long one, I had a problem with the balance of the car, although this afternoon, that aspect was a little bit better than in the morning.
"Generally though, I suffered with a lack of grip, which I can't explain at the moment. However, I am confident we can find ways of moving forward and enjoying a competitive weekend at our home race."
Daniel Ricciardo: "Our performance was quite good this morning and we tried to improve for FP2, but unfortunately, we seem to have gone in the wrong direction. Having run only the Hard in the morning, in the afternoon, I did not set a competitive time on the Medium. I did make some mistakes and I will admit to that, but there were too many of them so we definitely need to get the car to suit me a bit better.
"At the moment, it's on a knife edge. I was happier on the long run I did this afternoon and that was the most positive aspect. Driving here at Monza is always different and this morning, on the first runs, you definitely feel that extra speed down the straight, which is a nice feeling and something I enjoy about being here."
Heikki Kovalainen: "Overall I'm pretty happy with how the session went. The main thing is obviously for me to help the team as much as I can and in such a short session that's always tricky, particularly as it takes a lap or so to get back up to speed with the low downforce package we're running here.
"There was a little understeer in the high speed sections but the main issue for me was braking stability. That's obviously important around Monza as there's a couple of heavy braking zones, but we made some progress on that by the end of the session."
Charles Pic: "FP1 went ok. The car balance was good right from the installation lap and the rest of the session went to plan. We were mainly working on mechanical setup options and running downforce scans so the times weren't really important, but it was still good to see that the gap to the teams ahead is around where we'd predicted.
"In FP2 we started with an eight lap run on the hards but it felt like the changes we made over lunch had a negative impact on the car balance, increasing mid-sector understeer and entry stability in particular. We made a couple of mechanical changes and then went out on the mediums for the first time but the car felt very different from the morning session, the balance wasn't as good and there was more understeer so we definitely didn't get the time we could have from that set.
"On the long runs the car balance was again not consistent - we had both understeer and oversteer in the corners and that's obviously not what we're looking for here. However, we have accumulated a decent amount of laps and have a lot of data to work on tonight so we'll keep working and come back stronger tomorrow."
Giedo van der Garde: "I was back in the car for FP2 and straight out to start work on the hard compound tyres. On the first run my times were ok but the traction wasn't great and I needed a bit more time to find the best line in sector one. On run two we made a bit of progress and then we went for the first run on the medium tyres which, honestly, was strange.
"The grip you'd expect from a new set of options just wasn't there - the car balance was fine, but we didn't find the time we should have found from the options so we'll have to look at that in detail tonight. On the long runs the pace was ok , as was the deg levels, but we definitely need to look at how we manage tyre warm-up and make sure we have options to fix the grip issue with the options, especially for qualifying."
Max Chilton: "I am obviously quite happy with the first day of running here. We've had a smooth couple of sessions and made good progress through each, so to end the day ahead of my nearest competitors is a nice reward. We have done a lot of work to optimise our package for here, as low downforce circuits have not always played to the strengths of our car. We seem to have chosen a good direction though, the balance is good and let's hope we can maintain this momentum through the rest of the weekend."
Jules Bianchi: "Today was a little frustrating for me as I had a lot to achieve in just one afternoon session, so I was pushing hard and perhaps forcing myself into a couple of mistakes. This cost us in terms of consistency and although we have completed the programme, I feel there is quite a bit more to come from me and the car. It has been very warm so far but we need to plan some alternative scenarios as there is a strong chance of the weather changing later in the weekend. I hope this evening will allow us to play catch-up a little more so we can enjoy a smoother day for me tomorrow."
Rodolfo Gonzalez: "It was nice to have the opportunity to drive FP1 at such a legendary circuit as Monza this morning. It's a beautiful track and a fantastic experience in an F1 car. My programme was mainly aero focused, to enable the Team to start to evaluate the low downforce set-up we have here. Everything went according to plan and I am happy that my feedback is playing a role in moving us forward through the weekend."