Driver reaction - Aus practice

The drivers have their say on the first running of 2013

By William Esler.   Last Updated: 15/03/13 10:25am

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The 22 drivers have their say on the first running of the 2013 season at Albert Park in Melbourne.

Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel: "Overall it was a good day for us. It was pretty seamless and there was no trouble with the car. After all the mileage of testing, it was fun to be out there - this circuit doesn't get easier, it's a good challenge. The soft tyre doesn't last too long, but the harder tyre is a decent race tyre. The weather should be quite changeable tomorrow and, as we can't predict how much that will impact the tyres and car balance, we need to be ready to change things. Today was a good day and the balance was good, but we need to be ready for what's coming up."

Mark Webber: "It was not a bad day and we got through plenty of information. It was nice to have a bit of sun on the circuit after Barcelona, where we had pretty overcast conditions. We had to correlate a lot of information from Europe and that went pretty well. We still have a huge amount to go through tonight and we're expecting a bit of overcast stuff tomorrow, so we need to be ready for that. Overall, it was pretty positive for us, but there are still areas to improve on."

Ferrari

Fernando Alonso: "Overall, this was a very productive Friday, as we did a lot of laps and got through an important initial analysis of the behaviour of the two types of Pirelli tyres available for this race. Our efforts were helped by particularly favourable weather with sunshine and summery temperatures.

"However, the weather is expected to change completely from tomorrow, with wind, rain and a significant drop in temperature, which could influence Sunday's race. I'm not expecting any major surprises here, we already knew we were not the quickest and that was confirmed today. The car responds well, but we know there is still much to do if we want to fight with the very best".

Felipe Massa: "All aspects of both sessions were positive, even if we are aware that much work still awaits us both this weekend and for the whole season ahead of us. In the second session, when I went out on the Supersofts, something did not work properly on the KERS and that cost me time, denying me the chance of doing a better lap. I am not surprised by the performance of our opponents and I expected Red Bull to be competitive right from the start".

McLaren

Jenson Button: "Clearly, we're not as quick as we'd like to be, so our task now is to work hard to find out why our car is like it is, particularly in terms of ride and downforce.

"Our short runs weren't particularly encouraging, to be honest. We're a couple of seconds off the pace, by the looks of things, and that's always going to be disappointing for a team as successful as Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.

"But, in a situation like this one, all you can say is that there's a hell of a lot of work for us to do - and that we're well up for it. This team is incredibly good at turning things around, performance-wise, when that's what's required.

"So we'll now spend the next few hours working hard, studying our data, and I'm confident that we'll be able to find some improvements for tomorrow.

"Qualifying won't be easy, but I'm pretty sure we'll be able to do a better job on Saturday than we've done today."

Sergio Perez: "We're struggling a bit, to be honest. We aren't as competitive here as we'd wanted to be. But we're working on it - and, as Jenson says, we should be able to find some improvements for tomorrow.

"But, going forward, I know exactly how good Vodafone McLaren Mercedes' technical guys are - I've seen it from the outside before and I'm seeing it from the inside now - and there's no doubt that they can close the gap to the cars ahead better and faster than anyone else.

"We have an incredible team spirit too, which is fantastic to be a part of.

"Lastly, it's important to remember that the Australian Grand Prix is only the first race of the season, and that there's a long road ahead of us. We knew before we came here that we wouldn't be as quick as some of the other teams, but our task is still to score as many World Championship points as we can. The competition in Formula 1 is incredibly intense, and every World Championship point counts."

Lotus

Kimi Raikkonen: "It's good for the season to start and the car felt pretty strong out there. I don't think we're the fastest but it's a good start. It was nice to have a reliable day after spending some time in the garage during testing. The track was as I remembered it and there were no surprises from it or the car. We'll have to see what happens tomorrow with qualifying as maybe it will be a bit cooler. I'm happy so far this weekend."

Romain Grosjean: "It feels great to be out on circuit and on such a lovely day too. The track felt good and the car felt better. It took a while for the grip to come to us, but you expect that on a street circuit. We made good progress with set-up on the car over both sessions and I think there's more to come which is promising."

Mercedes

Nico Rosberg: "That was an interesting day for us. There are a lot of new things to learn with the car and we made some good progress over the day. We can certainly be happy with our testing programme when you compare where we came from last year. My car had a gearbox problem at the end of the second session but these things happen and it doesn't affect us for tomorrow."

Lewis Hamilton: "Overall it was a good day, if perhaps not the smoothest. I'm happy with where we are and to see Nico in third place on the timesheets shows that we're pretty competitive. That's a reflection of a great job that everyone has done at the factory and here at the track. I'm looking forward to the rest of the weekend."

Sauber

Nico Hulkenberg: "Overall it was a challenging day. On the first day there are always a few things you need to work on and improve. I think we still have some homework to do. Free Practice two was quite difficult for me because of traffic. I think we can still improve our time. We collected a lot of data for the tyres and if we do our homework well we should be able to aim at the top ten qualifying tomorrow."

Esteban Gutierrez: "It was a very productive day. The tyres are getting better, and not as critical as in Barcelona. As a team we need to find more speed, and that means me as a driver as well. I've improved from free practice one to free practice two. Now I will focus on improving for qualifying tomorrow."

Force India

Paul Di Resta: "It wasn't the easiest of days because I had a balance issue with the car in the second session. It looks like I picked up some damage, so it was not easy to gauge exactly where we are. Given that it's likely to be wet tomorrow, it was crucial to get all the tyre information we needed today. There is a noticeable difference between the two compounds, but it's difficult to say much more until we have been over all the data."

Adrian Sutil: "It was a very good day and I feel satisfied. The baseline set-up was not too far away from what we needed and the car felt very similar to the way it performed in Barcelona at the final test. I had a good feeling all day and enjoyed working with my engineers, who I already know very well. The track is obviously evolving and improving, but we got a good feel for the tyres. The main focus tonight is to work on improving the balance on the super-softs."

Williams

Pastor Maldonado: "We ran some different tests today on the car and the tyres, so we haven't got the maximum pace out of the car yet. We have a lot of work to do before tomorrow, but we have another practice session to focus on the set-up needed for qualifying and we'll be analysing all today's data this evening."

Valtteri Bottas: "It felt good to be back on track today. It's a new circuit for me so it took a few laps in the first practice to get to know it a little better. The track improved a lot going into the second session with much more grip, so I felt like the car could still improve further. We will analyse all the data tonight and keep working on the car in FP3 to get everything ready for qualifying."

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Toro Rosso

Daniel Ricciardo: "In P1 it was soon clear that in terms of balance and set-up we were not where we wanted to be so we made some changes and they helped. I definitely feel we made progress from morning to afternoon, but not enough, so there is more to do overnight to find more pace. It's nice to be racing at home in Australia again, which is an added incentive to work really hard to get the car to go quicker and give the fans something to cheer about on Sunday."

Jean-Eric Vergne: "It's really nice to be back on track for the first Grand Prix, the first day of practice and I'm happy to be back in the car. The most obvious change from winter testing has been the higher temperatures and this meant the tyres have worked much better today than they did in Spain. We have quite a bit of work to do to get closer to those ahead and I feel we currently lack some speed. However, our long runs looked pretty good and the balance of the car was okay."

Caterham

Charles Pic: "For our first full day of running that was ok. We definitely have work to do to get where we want to be and we knew where we'd be relative to the cars around us for the early part of the season, so there's been no real surprises today.

"In P1 we ran through a pretty normal program on the medium tyres but we have some work to do to extract the maximum performance from them so we'll look at that tonight and do more work on that in FP3. In FP2 we did a couple of longer runs on that compound before switching to the supersofts and found that deg levels on those was good, especially on the long runs, and the times were consistent. Now we need to make sure we can get the same performance level out of the mediums as we did on the supersofts and that will set us up ok for Sunday."

Giedo van der Garde: "First I want to say how good it was to start my first full F1 weekend. I've worked very hard for a long time to get here and a lot of people have helped make my dream come true, so I want to thank them for helping make it happen.

"On track P1 was good - we got through a decent number of laps and focused mainly on tyre evaluation, running on the mediums for the whole session so we could have a detailed look at degradation levels on that compound. FP2 started ok - on the first run I had some understeer that we dialled out for the second run but unfortunately I have a bit of rear locking as I went into T3 and went into the gravel. The anti-stall kicked in before I could get the car back out and that was the end of my afternoon.

"Despite that we have a lot of data to work through tonight and we'll come back fighting tomorrow. We'll have to make the most of P3 but I'm looking forward to it and it's all part of the learning process for me."

Marussia

Jules Bianchi: "It has been a very good first practice for the Team and for me, so I am quite happy given that it is only my third day in the car. I have been looking forward to this day for quite a long time and it really worked out well I think. I'm sure it's the case for other teams as well, because this is only day one, but it is very encouraging to know that while we have a good basis today, there is a lot more to come.

"We completed a detailed programme and put some good mileage on the car, so we have a lot of information to look through and see the direction for tomorrow. The car is performing well but we have quite a lot of understeer and we need to improve this. As for the track, I like it a lot. It takes a bit of getting used to at first, but once you are up to speed it's an amazing lap and now I can't wait to do some more tomorrow."

Max Chilton: "Our objective today was to learn the Albert Park track as quickly as possible and then start to gather plenty of information with the car and the tyres, so I'm pretty happy with what we've achieved in terms of the programme. Now we can start to piece that together a little more to focus on outright performance and I think tomorrow we will have a clearer idea of where we stand versus the cars around us.

"Even at this early stage though I'm sure we can feel positive about where we are in relation to our immediate competitors and the car has shown some real promise. Though its early in the season, that's a nice reward for all the hard work we've been doing over the winter and in testing, so well done to the Team here and back at home. So, a late night tonight looking at the data and then we'll aim to push forward again tomorrow.

"Albert Park is an amazing circuit and I've loved every second of driving it so far. Tomorrow will be another big milestone in my debut weekend with my first Formula 1 qualifying and I'm very excited about that."

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