Charles Pic

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Driver reaction - Belgium practice

The men in the cockpits have their say

By William Esler.   Last Updated: 31/08/12 4:39pm

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The drivers give their views on a frustrating day in Belgium, where both sessions were heavily affected by rain.

Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel: "It's a shame when there's so much water, as we'd love to go out on track more, but you can't. It's a shame for fans around the track - it's quite windy and probably not so nice out on the grandstands. Hopefully they can come back tomorrow with dry clothes and we'll have some sunshine - that's the forecast anyway! You can't race in these conditions, as the tyres can't get rid of the water."

Mark Webber: "It's a shame because we love Spa and it would be nice to do some more laps, but in the end you can't really learn much in these conditions. We got some info from FP1, but you can't race when there's so much standing water on track and you probably wouldn't qualify in this, so in the end we just put the car to bed tonight and come back tomorrow."

McLaren

Lewis Hamilton: "It's been incredibly wet today - there were lots of rivers running across the track and lots of aquaplaning, so you had to be very wary out there. There's no real benefit to be gained from pushing the car, but there are always things we can learn, so we did a couple of installation laps to check the effects of the upgrades we've brought to this race and see how the tyres switch on in the wet.

"It's going to be challenging tomorrow, but everyone is in the same boat - no joke intended! If it dries out, the track will be green in the morning, so you'll be setting the car up during a couple of runs in FP3.

"Nevertheless, it's great to be back out on track. A Formula 1 car would be fun to drive even if it were snowing, so I just enjoyed every little bit of lap I had."

Jenson Button: "We did a couple of installation laps, but that was about it. The weather was better during the morning session because you were able to do a couple of laps with only a little bit of aquaplaning. This afternoon was extremely wet - the only reason we ran in FP2 was to do out-laps and in-laps in order to practise our starts.

"For most of the lap, you're not really pushing - then, halfway down the Kemmel straight, it suddenly gets wetter. It's a different type of asphalt, which doesn't drain as well. As soon as you hit that, you feel the car slow down and then it starts to spin its wheels.

"Hopefully, the worst conditions have blown over and we can get down to business tomorrow. It's been such a long break that we just want to get out there and enjoy ourselves."

Mercedes

Nico Rosberg: "Although it was raining hard, we learned a little about the behaviour of the car today. We collected some data for the starts, balance and tyre temperatures as you can always learn something in the rain. The weather conditions were very special out there but it wasn't dangerous as long as you went slowly where the big puddles were. We expect it to be dry on Sunday so that's why we didn't risk going out too often today."

Michael Schumacher: "Coming to Spa this year is very special for me, especially with the honour of being awarded the honorary citizenship of Spa on Thursday, and I look forward to a stunning race weekend. Unfortunately the weather today did not allow us to do much more than just basic work as there was too much rain coming down in both sessions.

"There was a lot of aquaplaning, even when just cautiously cruising around the circuit which sometimes you did not see or expect at all, so proper driving was not possible. But we have a lot of basic data from Spa and we know what to expect. Tomorrow's practice will nevertheless be very important, especially as the weather is supposed to be much better. I look forward to going out on this beautiful track again tomorrow."

Lotus

Kimi Raikkonen: "There's not much to say about today. It was too wet to run and there was little point as the forecast is for better conditions over the next two days. I'm looking forward to driving the circuit in the dry. It's a shame that we haven't been able to evaluate our new developments as it would have been interesting to see how they perform here. Tomorrow is another day, let's see what happens."

Romain Grosjean: "It's a big shame we couldn't do much running today as it was so wet. I was really looking forward to trying the famous 'Device' for the first time, but I guess I'll have to wait. The weather should be better tomorrow, so we'll have a busy time getting two days of evaluation into one session and then going straight into qualifying. The E20 has been strong at every circuit so far this year, so I'm sure it will be pretty good around this track in any case."

Force India

Paul di Resta: "Not much to say after a day when we spent most of our time in the garage waiting for the rain to stop. There were a few moments when the rain eased up this morning, so I managed to do some laps on the wet tyres, but it was very tricky and there were some very wet parts of the track. We did a few runs to check over the car, but there was a limited amount we could learn today. You have to feel for the fans who didn't see much action. I hope they didn't get too wet."

Nico Hulkenberg: "It was just one of those days in Spa - the sort of weather you often experience here. It was wet when we woke up and the rain stayed with us all day. It was cold, too, and quite chilly in the car. We did a limited programme because there was no point taking the risk on such a wet track. We think it will be dry tomorrow, but at least we have some experience and data from the wet conditions because you never know what the weather will do in Spa."

Sauber

Kamui Kobayashi: "I feel very sorry for the spectators here in the grandstands. We did some running in the first session, but in the afternoon we basically stayed in the garage. There wasn't anything to learn out there and it is obviously pretty easy to damage the car in these conditions. I can't say much except: Welcome to Spa - and welcome back to reality. I didn't see a drop of rain for the five weeks I have just spent in Tokyo and Hawaii."

Sergio Perez: "Unfortunately for all of us the conditions today didn't allow for any proper driving to kick off the second part of the season. It is such a shame for the brave spectators. I believe the fans in Spa really love Formula One and today we left them disappointed. I hope we can make up for this tomorrow and on Sunday and put on a good show."

Toro Rosso

Daniel Ricciardo: "The morning session went pretty well and right from the start, we had a good feel for the car in the wet. In fact, it's been like that before when we have had wet race weekends and the car gives us confidence in these conditions immediately. We were able to do some good lap times and even with all the rain, it was nice to be out on this great track."

Jean-Eric Vergne: "This morning, as is usually the case in the rain, the car performed very well on the Extreme tyres. There were no problems and our lap times for me and Daniel were respectable. However, this afternoon, the rain was really too heavy to do anything worthwhile, so we only went out right at the end to do a practice start off the grid."

Williams

Pastor Maldonado: "It was quite a frustrating day, not being able to get much running, but it's the same for everyone and we will all just be thinking about tomorrow now. It looks like it's going to be dry so we need to be ready for that and do the best we can."

Bruno Senna: "It wasn't too much of a useful day for the team, as we didn't have much running in the morning or the afternoon. We've done some good technical work trying to get the car ready for tomorrow and for the race. We didn't take any risk though as there was no need, but hopefully tomorrow will be dry and we can do some more laps to prepare for qualifying."

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Caterham

Heikki Kovalainen: "It's obviously good to be back to racing but a shame it had to start with weather like this. Spa's notorious for its weather but I can't remember seeing it rain this hard for a long time so after today there's really not a lot to say after most of Friday was washed out. It looks like tomorrow should be dry so I think we'll be able to get more laps done in FP3 but with the weather in Spa you can never tell."

Vitaly Petrov: "First it's really good to get the season started again and it was great to come to Spa, catch up with the team and get back into the car. Even though the weather was clearly very bad in FP1 we managed to complete a good percentage of the runplan and the car felt pretty well balanced from the first few laps.

"In FP2 we were monitoring the weather throughout the session and as it progressed the rain fell harder than ever so we decided not to risk running. I made the strategy call to stay as warm as possible in the motorhome, wearing two jumpers and a couple of jackets and keeping as far away from the rain as possible!"

HRT

Pedro de la Rosa: "I was surprised by the large amount of rain that poured down during both sessions. We anticipated the morning session to be less wet and that's why we made the most of it to complete our only run. We only did a few laps mainly to confirm that the car and the systems worked well, so in the afternoon, with the track in even worse conditions, we decided not to go out as it didn't contribute anything to us.

"It's been almost a month since we drove the car and the positive side was that I was able to get rid of the rust and get a feel for the car. For tomorrow we have an extra set of dry tyres and as today we were unable to test with a full deposit, that will be a priority."

Narain Karthikeyan: "Today I was unable to do any laps as the conditions were terrible, but you can't fight against these things so the best thing is to focus on tomorrow. No rain is anticipated so we will work on making up for lost time from the very start and to get some feel for the car. It will be an intense session but I'm really looking forward to going out on track."

Marussia

Charles Pic: "It feels great to be back racing again after the long break. We have brought some new developments here to Spa with us, which we hope will prove to be another positive step forward. Today we had big plans for testing those on the track, but the conditions have proved frustrating for everyone as there has been very little let-up in the rain.

"This is not unusual for Spa though, so we have to look forward to what are expected to be two dry days remaining, when we should have a better chance to see the signs from our new components. On the positive side it is very nice to end the afternoon session in P1 on the timesheets. Unusual circumstances of course, but nice to see."

Timo Glock: "It has been so wet today that we have been able to do very little in the way of meaningful running. We have some experience of the wet tyres and some data for our new parts, but that is about it. We just have to hope that the forecast is correct and we really can look forward to some dry running for the next two days as it is very important for our new developments. It is good to be back on track though after the summer break."

More to follow...

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