Spain Practice - Driver Reaction
The views from the cockpit after Friday practice
Last Updated: 11/05/12 5:34pm
The men in the driving seat have their say after the first day of running at the Spanish GP...
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Jenson Button: "It was a positive afternoon. I did a good lap on the Option tyre, the car is running well, and our upgrades seem to be working. But there are still some improvements to be made. The Option seems to be a bit easier for everyone as it's softer and therefore more receptive to generating temperature. In P2, we also started to find a way to get the Prime to work, but then, later in the session, we couldn't quite get back to that sweet-spot.
"If we can solve these issues with the Prime and get it into its correct working range, I think we can be quite competitive this weekend. There are a lot of quick cars out there, but, aerodynamically, I think we've got a strong car. We've just got to make sure that we make sure that the four things touching the road are working properly for us too."
Lewis Hamilton: "The car already feels better than it did at the last race - there's a good series of improvements within the car. My long run this afternoon was very satisfying and there are positives to take from that, but there's still more time in the car, as Jenson showed. I struggled a little with set-up today. It's a little bit inconsistent, so it's very difficult to pinpoint exactly what's needed to make it better. But we'll be looking at the data to find out where the most significant issues are, and I'm confident we can make improvements overnight.
"Nevertheless, the upgrades we brought to this race seem to be working well and we've got good pace on the longer runs. The guys back at the factory did a fantastic job. It's been a positive day and we're in the fight."
Nico Rosberg: "Generally all worked well today, but there are also a few question marks after the two sessions. Tyre management will be a big challenge again this weekend, and that will be the key for success. We have got plenty of options to work though this evening to find the right set-up for the conditions out there tomorrow and on Sunday."
Michael Schumacher: "The way it worked out for us today demonstrated that the testing we did in Mugello was worth it, so again I'm happy we had the chance to do that. Of course it was very warm today and therefore the track was quite slippery, but that was according to our expectations. Our feeling for the weekend is pretty okay after everything we have learned in the two sessions, so we will now analyse the data carefully in order to work out exactly how to approach qualifying and the race from everything we have learned in the two sessions today."
Kimi Raikkonen: "There were no problems with the car and everything felt good today. We tried a different front wing, but in the car you can't tell if it makes much difference; that is why the team's engineers are looking at the data. I felt comfortable and I think the work done at Mugello and in the Windshear test programme have made improvements. We'll have to see tomorrow how much pace everyone has when it comes to qualifying as that's when it matters. We've been fast everywhere else so far and there's nothing to suggest we won't be fast here again."
Romain Grosjean: "It was a pretty good day today. The weather is fantastic, the car feels great and the lap times were promising; I'm a happy man. The balance felt strong on both tyres and we were able to complete long runs to give us valuable tyre data for Sunday. I'm happy with the performance of the car even when the tyres are nearer the end of their performance life which is a good sign for this weekend. It's very close of course, so qualifying will be interesting. I can't wait for tomorrow to come."
Fernando Alonso: "It's nice to be back racing in front of my home crowd: from the moment I got here on Wednesday evening, I could already feel the warmth of the fans who are also now all Ferrari fans. We had a very busy programme, with a lot of new things to try and it was important to evaluate them very carefully. First impressions are positive: some parts worked as we expected, others less so, but broadly speaking, it confirms the tendency we had already seen in Mugello last week, which is that the data emerging form the wind tunnel has been been confirmed on track. Today, conditions were obviously very different to when we were here for the winter tests: it's much hotter and the track surface conditions have therefore changed, with temperatures approaching 45º C. We tried to adapt the car set-up to the track conditions, but we are not yet completely satisfied: there is still work to do. Actually, it was a rather different Friday to usual, with the times even more mixed up than we have seen at the first four races this year. The tyres? No surprises, we know them sufficiently well now after all the kilometres we have done this winter and in the first part of the championship. The Softs seem quicker, the Hards more consistent, so nothing new there."
Felipe Massa: "It was very hot today, which put the tyres under a lot of strain. We worked a lot on the updates we have available as from this weekend and, at first sight, the results seem to be positive. This morning especially, we concentrated on comparing different configurations, while in the afternoon, we worked mainly on set-up and tyre behaviour. It's impossible to make a comparison with the results of winter testing, because the track surface conditions have completely changed as the temperature is so different to what we had in the winter. Now we must put together all the best elements to produce our maximum potential and prepare well for qualifying and the race. On Sunday, if it turns out as hot as this, it will be an even tougher race than usual, especially because of tyre degradation."
Sebastian Vettel: "It wasn't too bad today - there's a lot of stuff for us to go through. We had a few new parts to try, which is not that unusual for Barcelona. I'm pretty happy; we did a lot of laps and got through the programme well. The wind played a role today, you could see some cars going off the track and the asphalt temperatures can go high here which makes the car slide. It's similar here to last year and it's likely we will see a few stops on Sunday during the race."
Mark Webber: "It takes a while to get in to the groove here with the balance. We saw at the end of P2 that you have to get everything together to get the lap time here. We'll have more chances tomorrow to work on the short runs. We were trying a few things in those practice sessions and we'll see what Adrian and the guys come up with for us tomorrow. I'm not sure how many pitstops there will be on Sunday, but it will be quite a few. The soft tyre is a nicer tyre to run on - but tyre strategy will be very important here."
Pastor Maldonado: "We completed our programme today and the tyres were working well this afternoon. It helps that we have done quite a lot of testing here, but the track conditions are quite different to over the winter so we now need to spend some time analysing the data. I am feeling confident though as this is a circuit that I like."
Bruno Senna: "It was a good session this afternoon and we completed a lot of laps. It's now time to sit down and look through the data to improve the set-up of the car on long runs as well as for qualifying tomorrow."
Valtteri Bottas: This was the first track of the season that I already know so it was nice for me to be able to focus purely on the driving from the start. The car felt good but there are still some things we will continue to work on this afternoon. Overall, we gathered a lot of data and had a productive session which I really enjoyed."
Nico Hulkenberg: "We got through the programme pretty much as planned and the initial results seem quite encouraging. The main task was to continue understanding the new upgrades, which I ran for both sessions, and getting the car set-up nicely for the track. We made some changes during the lunch break and they improved things, so I'm happy about what we've done today. As always, there's still work to do, but the main tasks for today are complete."
Paul Di Resta: "A fairly normal Friday afternoon session for me trying to get on top of the tyres quickly and fine-tune the balance of the car. I had the new parts on the car, which seem to be delivering, although it's too early to say where we stand because we don't know what everyone else was doing or their fuel loads. I think it's going to be another very close weekend, just as we have seen in the previous races, and we still have plenty of work to do before qualifying to find the sweet spot."
Jules Bianchi: "I was driving the same car we raced in Bahrain so that the team could run a back-to-back comparison with the new developments we have here. The session went well, I managed 21 laps on the hard compound tyre and the programme has given us a lot of data to analyse before qualifying."
Kamui Kobayashi: "It was a good first day here for us. I think my fastest lap time on soft tyres should have been a little bit better, but I wasn't pushing enough on that lap. The long runs looked okay with both the hard and the soft tyre compounds. However, I think for qualifying we should improve the balance of the car. We have had a smooth day and I'm looking forward to tomorrow."
Sergio Perez: "In the morning the car's balance wasn't good and we had to change quite a lot for the afternoon session. We worked in the right direction, as it was an improvement and therefore it really was a productive day. I found on long runs both tyre compounds were degrading quite a lot, but we will see what we can do to help in this respect."
Jean-Eric Vergne: "This morning we continued with some aero evaluation that we had started at the Mugello test. In the afternoon, we worked mainly towards the race and I feel we found some good solutions. Now, we must start to think about qualifying and how to improve the car balance, but so far it does not look too bad. I tried both types of tyre and, as you would expect the Option brings a big advantage in terms of lap time on low fuel and the Prime has a longer life, but all the same it will be interesting to see what will be the best tyre strategy for Sunday. The new parts? It's hard to say what improvement they have brought, as the other teams have been developing their cars too."
Daniel Ricciardo: "We tried a few different downforce settings in the morning and we were not too convinced by our pace. So we decided to make a few changes to the car for the afternoon session in terms of how to run our aero package. It gave me a slightly better feeling from the car, but we still need to work hard on set-up to try and find something extra there, if we want to be in contention for Q3 on Saturday. I have a few ideas of what we want to do and the engineers, who are probably a bit smarter than me, have definitely got some ideas up their sleeves."
Alexander Rossi: "I am very pleased with how this morning's session went. We completed the program the team had set and I acclimatised quickly to the step up to F1. This isn't my first time working with the team, I already have a day at the Abu Dhbai young driver test last year under my belt, but coming into a full race weekend is a very different proposition to the young driver test. Today wasn't about setting the quickest lap I could - there may have been another seven or eight tenths to be found but the main thing today was to learn as much as I could, contribute by following the plan, give the engineers clear, concise feedback, and not make any mistakes. That's what we did so I think it's been pretty much as good as it could have been."
Heikki Kovalainen: "A pretty standard Friday for us. We made a couple of setup changes early on in FP2 that improved the balance and I think we've ended up closer to where we want to be today. As it's been all season, tyre management is going to be vital here, especially on Sunday, and from what we've seen from the tyre degradation patterns on both tyre choices I think we need to do more work on managing wear rates, but if we can do that I think we'll be ok tomorrow, and on Sunday."
Vitaly Petrov: "I'm relatively pleased with today but it was a bit of an odd couple of sessions for us. This morning we did all the runs on the hard tyres and couldn't really find a balance I could push with, and then this afternoon we managed to dial out the understeer we had on both the hard and soft tyres, but suddenly found we had oversteer that hadn't been there before. I think this is something that's affecting quite a few of the teams, and it's not what we were expecting after the Bahrain race and the Mugello test, but we'll work on it tonight and I'm sure we'll find a solution for FP3 and qualifying."
Dani Clos: "I'm happy to have got into the car for the first time today, albeit for a short first encounter. The feeling I had when I left the pits and saw the Spanish crowd, whilst driving for a Spanish team alongside Pedro, was unbelievable. It was my first time in the new car and I wasn't 100% comfortable since the car is built for Narain, so I had to adapt. We were able to carry out some aerodynamic work and try out some different things on the car so I'm pleased to have completed my job for the team."
Pedro de la Rosa: "Today was the day to try out the aero package we've brought to Barcelona, so we completed various short stints to see how the car behaved with the changes. It was interesting because the car has effectively taken a step forwards, but we need an even bigger step, especially at such a tough circuit as this one where there are many quick turns and where you need to improve the balance of the car. There's still plenty to do and a lot of data to analyze to have a better understanding of how to get the most out of these upgrades."
Narain Karthikeyan: "I'm disappointed to have not got any laps under my belt today; it's certainly not how I was aiming to start my weekend in Barcelona. Tomorrow will be an uphill struggle as we've only got one hour in the morning to get the car ready for qualifying in the afternoon, so we're really going to have to get our heads down and work hard. Hopefully we can make up for the time lost today and turn things around tomorrow."