Driver reaction - India practice
The view from the cockpit in New Dehli after Friday practice
By William Esler. Last Updated: October 27, 2012 11:50am
The drivers have their say after the Friday's running in India, where Sebastian Vettel topped the times in both sessions.
Sebastian Vettel: "Friday's are always difficult with so many things changing. The track improvement was quite big today, it was dusty to start and improved lap by lap, so I wouldn't be surprised if tomorrow the order is different, but we've had worse Fridays, so I am happy. We need to keep working and improve a little bit overnight."
Mark Webber: "That went pretty well. I had a lock-up in Turn 1, which I could have done without, but it wasn't the end of the world. We got on with the important stuff, which is understanding the soft tyre on short and long runs. We'll have a look where we can improve the car, you can always improve. The team is incredibly motivated and the drivers also."
Lewis Hamilton: "It was quite a positive day - on my side of the garage, at least.
"The car felt quite good, but to get the best from the tyres each lap wasn't so easy. We're not quite quick enough yet, but tyre durability and our long-run pace both looked quite good. In fact, I was very happy with the long run. If we continue in that direction, we'll hopefully be strong in the race.
"I think we're probably quick enough to qualify third or fourth fastest at the moment, but, to go for pole, we're going to really need to push hard in our development work tonight.
"It looks like it'll be another close race."
Jenson Button: "It hasn't been a perfect day.
"Our lap-times in the first session were okay, but we couldn't really get the Option [tyre] working in P2 - perhaps that was down to a temperature issue.
"Then I had a gearshift problem during my long run in the afternoon. The team is currently looking into it - hopefully, we'll have it sorted by tomorrow.
"Still, I think Lewis's long-run pace looks promising. We're still a few tenths shy of the very fastest cars, but I think we're more competitive on long runs than we are on short runs, where we're slightly struggling to get the tyres working.
"Fortunately, this is a good circuit for overtaking, but our aim is obviously still to qualify as close to the front as possible."
Nico Rosberg: "We learned a lot in the two practice sessions today and found some good set-up directions, so it was a decent day. Fourth place is not our realistic position at the moment but I am confident that we're looking a little better here than at the previous two races."
Michael Schumacher: "We had two sessions today where we worked mainly on long runs and the performance was reasonable by the end of the day. The car balance was ok, particularly in the first sector with the slower corners, and as such confirmed the performance that we expected from the circuit characteristics. With the soft tyres, I didn't really get a lap together, but we managed to build a basis to work on for the rest of the weekend."
Kimi Raikkonen: "The circuit is nice. For me it was easier to learn than the Korean track ; it's not as technical but it's good. It's always nice to come to a new place like this - I've been racing for many years, and you always end up going to the same places so it's good when you get a new place and a new circuit. For sure we can still improve on one lap but I think we are not far away from our maximum speed. Of course I hope that we are faster than McLaren. Our car was working well, especially on soft tyres but with the hard tyres it was more difficult to find grip."
Romain Grosjean: "It's been very hard to set-up the car as the track has been evolving a lot through the day; from zero grip in the morning to much better in the afternoon. However, we've made good progress today and we're working on improving further overnight. There are a few blind corners, and some quick places where you don't want to make mistakes either. Hopefully we find the car we want for qualifying and get what we want tomorrow."
Paul Di Resta: "It was not an easy session for me. The balance is still not perfect and we need to work hard tonight to try and improve that before final practice. The main issue of the day was the puncture I picked up half-way through FP2 because I missed out on my high-fuel run on the soft tyres. Also, it was hard to get a clean lap during my low fuel run because the track was so busy. We've got data with the other car but it would have been helpful to have run more laps and got a proper feel for the soft."
Nico Hulkenberg: "It was my first experience of the Buddh circuit today and I have to say they have done a really nice job. There's a good flow to the lap and the second sector is very technical and challenging. The programme for me today was quite straightforward because we managed to do everything we wanted. I completed a decent long run on the soft tyres this afternoon and I think we are quite well prepared going into tomorrow."
Sergio Perez: "For me the second practice was as difficult as expected in terms of finding a good set up for a single lap, but I think we look quite good when it comes to covering the race distance. Of course I didn't get the mileage I wanted today because I could not take part in the first practice session, but, despite this, it was a productive day for the team and we have enough information to make the most out of our chances."
Kamui Kobayashi: "I found it difficult today to find any grip. I can't really say whether this is down to the dust on the circuit, the tyres or the car. Most probably it is a combination of all those factors and we have to find the best way to improve. This goes especially for when we run low fuel, although I didn't do that many laps with a lighter car. I spent a lot of time running on a high fuel load and I think we are doing fine with the heavier car. We have to work now, but also to consider that anyway the grip level of the track will improve."
Esteban Gutierrez: "It was a great experience to step in for Sergio this morning. For me it was the first time I have been at the wheel of the C31, as I have only done straight line testing so far. Also I didn't know the track before, which made it an even more interesting session. I have worked very closely with the team all season, listening to the radio and attending the engineers' meetings.
"Today I really enjoyed seeing from the inside of the cockpit what I had only seen from the outside. It was also very interesting to be part of an official Formula One event for the first time. It is obviously different to testing and it is challenging to stay focused. I think the circuit here is amazing, especially with the chain of fast corners. However, my target was to progress during that session and make sure I brought the car home in one piece. Now Sergio will be taking over again but, in case anything should happen, I feel ready to get into the car again."
Daniel Ricciardo: "I enjoyed driving this track last year and it's been even more enjoyable today in what is a quicker car than I had back then. I had a good time out there, while also pushing as hard as we could to be in good shape for tomorrow. In general, I think we achieved what we set out to do. We were good straight out of the box this morning, so we did not make many changes in P1 and the general balance of the car seemed quite good.
"In the afternoon, it was clear that the track evolution affected the balance and we have to keep that in mind, as it will evolve even more tomorrow and we have to plan our changes on the car to take that into account."
Jean-Eric Vergne: "Today was my first time at this track and it is really fun to drive, keeping you busy throughout the lap. However, my pace was not that good and we definitely need to look at the data and decide what to do because we're about a second away from where we should be.
"As for the tyres, there seemed to be a big difference between the performance of the Prime and the Option, but no problems on this front. Daniel and I ran different set-ups to evaluate various choices and clearly, what he had worked better than mine, so we will keep that in mind tonight."
Bruno Senna: "We were working hard to get the optimum car set-up today so we had to try a number of things to get the right balance during the second session. On the whole we have had a very productive day and completed what we had set out to do. Now we need to work on improving our set-up ahead of tomorrow's qualifying."
Pastor Maldonado: "Today the pace wasn't quite where we want it to be for qualifying so we will have to work hard and analyse where we can improve to give us the sort of one-lap pace that will get us into Q3. Our long runs continue to be strong though, like they have been all season, so that's encouraging for the race itself."
Valtteri Bottas: "It was a good first practice today because we managed to complete a busy programme. We completed some good aero evaluations and managed to get a good amount of data. This was my first time driving this circuit and I can tell that it will become one of my favourites because it has a nice flow to it and the surface is very smooth which means that tyre wear is lower so you can push the car a bit more."
Giedo van der Garde: "It was another good session for me today and one I want to dedicate to my Grandpa who sadly passed away last week. I know he's always been very proud of me and he told me to enjoy myself whenever I'm driving, so I made sure I did today. The circuit is pretty technical but I was up to speed quickly and didn't have any problems getting through the plan we were running today. One thing that was really obvious was just how much the track evolves - even on my first run I could feel the grip levels improving with every lap, so by Sunday it will probably feel very different, but for me in FP1 it was fine.
"I'll be back in the car again next week in Abu Dhabi at a track I know well, and then I have two full days at the Yas Marina Circuit in the young driver test. It's good to keep adding to the mileage I've already done this year and I'm really pleased with how much progress I'm making with the car and the team in general."
Heikki Kovalainen: "Having sat out FP1 the key for me was getting through as many laps as possible and I'm pleased with what we achieved in FP2. The balance has been pretty good all afternoon on both tyre compounds - we did have some understeer in the high speed corners on the first run on the soft tyres but we dialled that out for the long run and the car felt good as the grip levels kept improving. It's good to see clear air between us and the cars behind and maybe we can play with the tyre strategy tomorrow to push closer to the cars ahead - that has to be the aim."
Vitaly Petrov: "FP1 went well for me. Even though there wasn't a lot of grip early on the car felt pretty good and we got through a lot of aero work that gives us data to work on tonight. In FP2 we were again running well but on my second run on the soft tyres it looked like we might have had a problem with the engine so we ended the session a little early to let the Renault Sport F1 guys take a look and make sure we prevented any damage.
"Until that point the car had again felt good and we'd found a balance where deg levels on the tyres were very manageable. I think we're in quite good shape for tomorrow and Sunday so hopefully we can have a strong weekend here in India."
Pedro de la Rosa: "I loved the circuit. It's really nice and also very challenging. You have to use the kerbs a lot and the car really suffers, so we have to drive carefully. Overall I had good sensations with the balance of the car, especially in the afternoon when I was able to do more laps. But we've still got a lot of room for improvement and if we're able to improve the balance of the car we'll be able to run better. Especially in changes of direction because we lose too much time on quick corners and we can correct that. Now we must continue working on the set-up of the car to have a good qualifying session tomorrow."
Narain Karthikeyan: "It was a great feeling racing in India once again, at home. The first session went pretty well and in the afternoon we decided to change the balance of the car to improve certain aspects. We'd just set the soft tyres when, unfortunately, we suffered a hydraulic failure which impeded us from improving our times. But the problem should be fixed for tomorrow so I hope to have a good qualifying session."
Timo Glock: "Today was a pretty normal Friday. The track was very dirty to begin with and FP1 didn't work that well for us because we struggled a bit with traffic and I never got a clear lap. In FP2 we worked on the set-up programme and it went pretty well with the tyres. The start of the session was okay and the long run was good, so that's important for the race on Sunday."
Charles Pic: "It has not been a straightforward day today. This is another new track for me and I'm enjoying the layout and characteristics. While FP1 went well for us, we have struggled in FP2 and I have experienced a few small issues which have interrupted our flow. There is more we can do to improve ourselves for tomorrow, however our long run pace was good which is positive."
More to follow...