Barca Day Three: Driver reaction
The drivers have their say on the second day of the final test
By William Esler. Last Updated: March 2, 2013 6:37pm
The drivers have their say on the penultimate day of running at the third and final winter test at the Circuit de Catalunya.
Mark Webber: "I would obviously have liked to get a few laps in today, but that's the way it goes sometimes in testing. We had a few small issues with the car today which delayed us a couple of times and while it wasn't ideal I think we still learned plenty.
"In terms of the overall feeling at the end of my spell of testing, I think we've done well and we have made a step forward. As I've said before it's very difficult to see a real pecking order. We've just always been focused on what we have to do and not really looked too hard at anyone else. The important thing now is just to get out to Melbourne and get on with the racing. We have some work to do, for sure, and we have a few things we need to iron out, but that's the same for everybody.
"Looking at the first race, I think it's going to be a tight grand prix. There are a lot of quick cars out there and hopefully we have one of them. However, Melbourne is a very particular race, with very specific demands, so we'll treat it as one race, then go to Malaysia and see how things shake up there. The season moves fast and you have to prepare for every race."
Davide Valsecchi: "This morning was quite a rush to get everything ready as the call only came late, but the team were fantastic getting the car prepared for me. I only completed short runs today so I have a limited impression of the E21, however it's clear that it's a very good racing car. For me to be able to get immediately on the pace means that the car is certainly fast and competitive. It was a fantastic opportunity; I sat in the seat of a former World Champion so I knew that I'd be fast for sure."
Romain Grosjean: "I certainly didn't expect to be in the E21 again today so it was an interruption to a day off, but as interruptions go it was a pretty good one! The weather was definitely an improvement from what I've experienced so far and I was able to assess the new rear front wings; both of which feel improved over the initial versions. We ran with high fuel today so it wasn't about lap times in the afternoon, but it's all valuable data we're getting for the car. I hope that Kimi is feeling better for tomorrow, but I don't mind driving again if I have to."
Lewis Hamilton: "It was great to have a dry track today for my final day of testing, and we were able to get through all the test items that we wanted to achieve by the end of my programme. There's still a lot of work ahead of us to get to where we want to be but the team is doing a great job. The guys are working so hard at the factory and here at the track; it's been really nice to get to know everyone in the garage and how they work together over the past few weeks.
"The reliability, the mileage and the step-by-step improvements that we have achieved during the three tests are all very encouraging. Whilst we've been focusing on our own performance, we definitely haven't seen the full potential of our competitors yet, so it's difficult to predict where we might be. I'll be back at the factory next week doing some final preparation work on the simulator and with my engineers, and then it's off to Melbourne for the first race of the new season with my new team."
Esteban Gutierrez: "It was an interesting experience to do a qualifying and race simulation. It gave me the opportunity to see how the car feels in qualifying and race conditions. The understanding of the tyres was a very important point, especially here in Barcelona where we know graining of the front tyres is a big issue. However, we were able to manage the degradation of the tyres quite well. Unfortunately we were not able to complete the race simulation due to a supected water leak."
Adrian Sutil: "A busy day of race preparation, which all went to plan. There was a lot of pit stop practice throughout the day and it's good that we managed to do a race distance without any disruptions. It was less windy today, which made things easier, and the higher temperatures helped give us ideal testing conditions for understanding the tyres and the degradation."
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Pastor Maldonado: "We were running quite a few new parts this morning so our focus was on learning more about them and how they make the car behave. It felt very different, but it's too early to say how much performance gain they will bring. We have some good data for the engineers to analyse now, so we will see. I was able to do a good time despite the limited running which shows that we are still improving."
Valtteri Bottas: "I could really feel the difference today running the updated bodywork. We saw some improvements immediately but we still need to work on the car balance to maximise the potential. Overall, we learnt a lot and it's nice to see the work everyone has been doing at the factory having a positive influence on the car. It's now up to us to get the lap time out of it."
Jean-Eric Vergne: "We got through a lot of work and it was a positive day, after the difficulties of working in the cold and wet conditions on the previous days. We can ignore the lap times, because, unlike some other teams we did not do a qualifying simulation. However, our race simulation this afternoon went well.
"On the tyre front, we saw a lot of degradation here in Barcelona, but I think it will be a different story when we get to Melbourne. In general, the testing has gone well and even though we still have work to do before the first race, we tested a lot of items this week. Our performance? We are definitely looking better than last year, but where we are compared to the others is still difficult to say."
Giedo van der Garde: "For my final day of testing it's really good to put 126 laps on the board. We took full advantage of the weather today, running through the final tyre and setup evaluations this morning and then running a full race simulation after lunch. We only had one minor issue with the car this morning, but apart from that it ran well all day and it was good to get a full race distance done, both for me and the whole team.
"Even with the amount of laps we got through I feel really good. I've worked hard all winter to prepare for the season and today was a good test for how I feel physically and mentally, so it's good to finish off the tests feeling prepared for the race season to start."
Jules Bianchi: "The past 24 hours have passed by so quickly, having signed for my new Team and tested our new car in such a short space of time. Today has been pretty busy but we have been very fortunate to have dry weather, warm conditions, a reliable day and plenty of mileage, so in many ways I couldn't have asked for more on my first day in the MR02. Perhaps the only disappointment is not getting a clean shot at my run on the Supersoft tyre at the end as the Red Flag frustrated things for us.
"That would have put the whole day's work into context I think and I could have brought everything I have learned together into a single lap. However, I have learned such a lot about the car and the Team, so I am happy and looking forward to another half day in the car tomorrow morning. My thanks to the Team for a big welcome and for working so hard into the night to create the seat and have everything ready for me today. I feel very positive for Australia and the rest of the season. "