Driver reaction - Singapore Fri
The view from the cockpit after the first two practice sessions
By William Esler. Last Updated: September 21, 2012 7:22pm
The drivers have their say after the first running on the Marina Bay Street Circuit where Sebastian Vettel topped both sessions.
Sebastian Vettel: "This is a tough circuit for drivers and cars. Overall we can be happy with today, but let's see what we do tomorrow, it's still Friday and today's results are not so conclusive as some drivers got stuck in traffic etc. Most important is that the car seemed to work on either tyre, so we go from there. The kerbs have been changed this year, which is an improvement."
Mark Webber: "The second session was useful today. I had a good feeling with the car and we seem to be more competitive here. We need to keep chipping away, also because the track will change a bit by tomorrow, so we need to be ready for that, but a solid start. I think we can be strong on Sunday, we need to execute a clean Saturday first, but so far so good."
Jenson Button: "I don't feel like I've found my flow yet - the track surface wasn't very grippy in either session because of the morning's rain.
"I'm not entirely happy with the balance either - not everything we tried changing today was successful - but we've still got a few ideas for tomorrow and that's a positive. There's still a lot of work to do - but, if we can fine-tune the balance, we should be competitive."
Lewis Hamilton: "Our car has quite a nice balance but we still need to make some further set-up changes. It's tough in these temperatures, especially on the long runs, but to be honest I think everyone's struggling a bit too. In P2, I ran a bit wide at the final corner on my fastest lap and probably lost about half a second. Still, it's great to be able to throw the car around on a high-downforce circuit.
"My race pace didn't feel great from inside the cockpit, but my engineers tell me it was quite promising. The track should also rubber-in by tomorrow, so tyre degradation should be less of an issue.
"We're in the top five, but it'll be a very tight battle for pole position tomorrow. We're looking at set-up and balance to improve our long-run pace, but today's performance isn't a bad place from which to start."
Fernando Alonso: "We tried various new components on the car: some seem to be positive, others less so, but maybe in the case of the latter, we need to spend a bit more time for them to be developed as well as possible. Overall, I would say today was positive, even if the first impression is that we are not as competitive as we were in Monza, two weeks ago. We still lack a bit of performance on tracks like this one, where you need maximum aerodynamic downforce.
"From what we saw today, there's a significant difference between the two types of tyre, but we will have to wait until tomorrow to get a clear picture of the situation on this front. Maybe today's difference has been somewhat exaggerated by the evolution of the track surface.
"Testing the tyres over a long distance is very complicated on a track like this, because of the traffic, therefore it's difficult to make a direct comparison to our main competitors. I am reasonably sure that, on Sunday, we will see rather significant degradation and it will be important to manage that as well as possible."
Felipe Massa: "It wasn't an easy day for me. The car wasn't right all day and I also suffered particularly badly with tyre degradation in both sessions. At the end of the second session, we found something that wasn't working properly, but that doesn't explain all my problems. We must find out what happened so we can fix it for the rest of the weekend. We have reasonably clear ideas about the direction to go in when it comes to set-up: one thing's certain, there's a lot of work to do."
Nico Rosberg: "That was a busy day for us as we needed to learn a lot about our new updates. It always takes some time to understand how things really work on the car, and there is a lot that we can take away from today to study overnight. In general, I feel we have made some progress but it is too early to make any predictions of how the weekend might go from here."
Michael Schumacher: "We had two productive sessions today, however I have not yet understood the real picture. We will definitely need to have a good look at the data this evening and extract the true performances shown. We were running the new parts today and the car felt reasonable, although at the end of the second session, we had a little brake issue and had to stop. Now we will have to work hard in front of our computers to find out what our chances will be this weekend."
Kimi Raikkonen: "It wasn't the easiest of days for us today. We don't have enough grip for some reason, and we seem to be lacking downforce. It's the same on both tyres ; a little bit better when the tyres are new, but still not quite the pace we want. I think we can improve for tomorrow but we have to find two seconds to get to the front. I don't think we'll find that much time ; but I think we should improve from Friday as we usually do."
Romain Grosjean: "It feels good to be back on track. Our position on the time sheets in the morning was not what we'd have liked and even after FP2 we know there is more performance to be found. The car is basically the same as what we ran in Monaco and Budapest where we were very competitive but we've struggled a bit for grip today. The good thing is we understand what we need to do, the team has been working hard to make improvements and I'm sure we'll be stronger tomorrow."
Nico Hulkenberg: "It's been a positive Friday overall and I think we are looking competitive here. The rain at the start of the first session didn't really have an impact on us and we still had plenty of time to get through the programme. I think in terms of race preparation we can be happy because we focussed on long runs and have lots of information going into tomorrow."
Paul di Resta: "I think you always need time to get up to speed on any street circuit so it was useful to have some trouble-free sessions and get the laps under my belt. The balance we have with the car is already looking good, but there's always room to improve things overnight. So I think we're in decent shape and the data collected should leave us well prepared for Sunday's race."
Sergio Perez: "For me it was a difficult day because I was never really happy with the balance of the car. It felt inconsistent and a bit unpredictable. We now have to analyse the data carefully and find a way to improve the car."
Kamui Kobayashi: "The first session when we were evaluating parts was quite positive but in general our performance was rather weak today. I had way too much oversteer. It is great to go racing in Singapore again but it is important that we improve the balance and set-up because you really need confidence in the car here."
Daniel Ricciardo: "This is not your run of the mill circuit, with the night and the atmosphere at what is a unique venue. It's great to have a change and myself and Jean-Eric had a chat after the first session and both agreed we were having fun! I felt the first session went better than the second and the changes we made before FP2 meant we did not seem to keep up with track evolution.
"We therefore need to think what we can do to get closer to the top ten like we were in the first session. But trying things out, whether they work or not, is what Friday is about. As for the tyres, the Supersoft is naturally faster and by quite a bit, while the Soft logically proved more consistent over a long run."
Jean-Eric Vergne: "This is definitely the hardest new circuit I have come across so far this season, with so many corners and the fact it's really hot. I really enjoyed this whole experience of racing on a street circuit at night, but at first I was making a lot of mistakes on what is a very long lap.
"But I am getting used to it, I brought the car back in one piece and I know I will improve tomorrow. Overall, the car did not feel too bad, so I think if we can improve it a bit and I learn my way round a bit better, there should be more to come for the rest of the weekend."
Pastor Maldonado: "It was a good day as we completed our plan. We lost one run in FP1 due to the weather, as the track was still wet, but I'm happy we were able to get all the data we needed. We need to work on our performance but the consistency of the car looks good. It's difficult to say where we are at this stage as we don't know what everyone else is doing and this track can be quite unpredictable.
"The track is also improving all the time so we'll see tomorrow. You have to change your approach in Singapore but I really enjoy it. It's both physically and mentally challenging for drivers, but it is an amazing circuit to drive."
Bruno Senna: "It wasn't an ideal day but I was still able to learn a lot about the car and we have a good idea on the direction we will take tomorrow. I made a mistake in FP2 and touched the wall which damaged the car. I was trying to push hard and on a track like this unfortunately that means you can end up in the wall.
"There isn't too much damage so we need to work hard to be 100 per cent ready for tomorrow. We are aiming for the top ten but the grid is looking very tight so we are going to have to push very hard. It's going to be important to qualifying as far forward as possible at this circuit but the competition is strong."
Pedro de la Rosa: "In the first session we focused mainly on learning the circuit. It's just as I expected, although tougher physically, especially in the first session. The second session was a bit easier, and as I already knew the circuit, we decided to set up the new floor. Now we must analyze the data to fully understand how it worked and how the different tests we carried out went, especially with different heights on the rear. From there we'll be able to evaluate the magnitude of the improvement and how much we can extract from it."
Narain Karthikeyan: "The objective was to adapt to the track because street circuits are always tricky and the important thing was to do laps and gain confidence. The track is very demanding physically, not just because of the heat, but because it's very stop and go. We must be happy with how the session went overall because we did a good job but tomorrow we must take another step forward with the car to progress. And I'm also happy with the trust and support Tata Tea shows in me, with them present on my helmet and drink bottle from this race on."
Ma Qing Hua: "It was fantastic to drive the F112 once again and do it at such a spectacular track. We did a good session and I learned a lot. We took it calmly as the conditions of the track, which was wet, weren't easy. We went out on intermediate tyres and the team wanted me to be comfortable and adapt to the track before switching to softs. I improved my times lap by lap and it was also the first time I'd driven a Formula 1 car in wet conditions, on a street circuit at night time so I'm happy with the result."
Timo Glock: "A sweaty start, not to put too fine a point on it. That's normal for Singapore though and the hot conditions are very tough for everyone. It's just great to be back again and huge fun to drive here. I love every lap. We got through the programme quite well today. In FP2 we did quite an important test which we still have to analyse and have a think about where we go with it, because we seem to have made good progress with the car.
"Other than that we did some long runs with the tyres and I think that will be the key point over the weekend - to just keep the tyres alive as long as possible. It's not easy to get the lap together in qualifying but I'll do my best and also I think there is still a little more to come from the car. We'll see what we can do."
Charles Pic: "Again, I'm very pleased to have adjusted well to what is a new circuit for me and also today has been my first time running in night-race conditions, so a lot to take in. This morning I made that my focus but I was quickly up to speed and able to work on the technical programme very soon.
"The heat and humidity are not easy for anyone in the team - it's tough. Generally I am quite happy with where we are on only day one - especially in respect of our competitors - and there is certainly room for further improvement through the weekend. I have to say this track is one of the ones I have been most looking forward to in my debut season and so far I love it! The atmosphere already is quite electric because of the unique setting, so I can't wait to see it build for the race."