Malaysia Practice - Reaction
The drivers have their say on Friday's running
Last Updated: March 22, 2013 11:33am
The 22 men on the grid have their say on Friday's running at the Sepang International Circuit on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur.
Sebastian Vettel: "I think it was unusual today as in the second session one part of the track was pretty wet and the other was dry - but it all dried out quite fast, as it was so hot. This afternoon we couldn't do so much due to the weather, but this morning it looked okay, although the tyres don't last very long! We need to try a couple of things now overnight to improve and take a step forwards."
Mark Webber: "It was a pretty smooth run for us today, but we need to improve and keep finding pace. The slicks were not too bad in those conditions and the crossover point looks quite interesting. The tyres are still the most important thing at the moment - it's all about those! It's pretty warm in the car, but if I'm warm, then so is everyone else and in general it's not as bad as previous years."
Fernando Alonso: "Today, the car worked well in all conditions and that is very good news for us. This circuit is more representative than Australia for evaluating the car's performance and so it was important to understand here today if the positive feelings from the winter were not just an illusion. On my lap on the Medium tyres, I did not have the right balance, otherwise I could have managed to improve, as I did on the Hards and I could probably have been on the "front row."
"Now we must see how tomorrow goes, when it could rain at any moment and on a track where tyre degradation is much higher than in Melbourne. With a high number of pit stops likely, a car that works better in the race than in qualifying could be an advantage. However, tomorrow we will try and do our best to get a place on the front row, because, as usual, the start, strategy and pit stops will hold the key."
Felipe Massa: "Overall, it was a good day, even if the rain that arrived for the end of the second session cost us some valuable time, when it came to comparing the two compounds over a long run. The car responded well in both sessions and, as for the tyres Pirelli brought here, I felt much more comfortable on the Mediums that we'd already used in Australia.
"We now have a long evening to work on understanding what the real behaviour of the tyres is, because that is definitely what can make the difference and could make us more competitive, as we prepare for both qualifying and the race".
Jenson Button: "Today we got through a decent amount of satisfactory work, and we duly gathered some more useful info about MP4-28.
"On a dry track it feels better than it did in Melbourne, but even then its pace still isn't there compared with that of the front-running cars.
"We've identified some further improvements that we can make before tomorrow, though, which is encouraging, and it's been a good day in terms of learning.
"Back at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking [Surrey, UK] the guys are working as hard as they possibly can to find extra performance - and here in Sepang, too, every single member of our race team is doing a truly awesome job.
"It's a lot easier to work on a car that's winning races than it is to work on a car that's not fully competitive, so fair play to everyone for getting their heads down and battling through."
Sergio Perez: "Today was a very busy day, during which both Jenson and I tried a number of options in an effort to decide which spec to go with tomorrow and Sunday.
"Our car has improved since Melbourne - which is quite cheering when you consider that we raced there only four days ago - and it felt better in both dry and wet conditions today.
"Having said that, although as I say it felt better on a dry track today than it did in Melbourne, it would still probably qualify and race a bit better on a wet track than on a dry track, relative to our opposition, so we won't be upset if it rains quite a bit over the next couple of days."
Kimi Raikkonen: "It was a pretty good day. We tried changing a few things on the car and made progress with where we wanted to be at the end of the sessions. We had some running in the wet which you often get around here and the car feels fine. We ran pretty heavy today so I don't know how we'll be when everyone is light for qualifying, but I'm happy with where we are and expect we'll be reasonable tomorrow."
Romain Grosjean: "We're still working on the setup of the car as it's not quite right for me and it's difficult to understand why exactly. The new front wing does feel better than the one before so that helps.
"Kimi was running an updated aero package which looks to be an improvement so we know there's more pace to come in that area, but there are still things we can do with the current specification once I get everything working for me. It was pretty hot out there - quite a contrast to Melbourne - but I felt comfortable and I'm looking forward to making some improvements tomorrow before we head into qualifying."
Nico Rosberg: "We worked a lot on our long run pace today, rather than being quick over one lap. As we saw in Melbourne, tyre management will be the key to success, so that's our focus for the practice sessions. The conditions were tough out there and the heat is unbelievable. Generally we learnt a lot today but we still have some homework to do tonight and tomorrow."
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Lewis Hamilton: "We made some positive steps with the set-up over the two sessions today. I had a good long run in the dry which has given us a lot of information to look at tonight. We didn't learn too much in the wet this afternoon however as the conditions were quite mixed when I went out. We focused mainly on longer runs today so I haven't done a quick lap yet on either set of tyres; that will come tomorrow. I'm happy with the direction that we're going and let's see what the weekend brings."
Nico Hulkenberg: "All in all it was a difficult Friday. I don't know what to make of it yet. I think we still have a lot to do until the next session tomorrow. It's a tough call, because I was not able to get a proper long run due to the weather. I think we still have potential in terms of the balance of the car and we have to wait and see what happens tomorrow."
Esteban Gutierrez: "From a set-up point of view it was a very productive today. We were able to improve the car from free practice one to free practice two in terms of its balance. Then unfortunately we had several issues, but we managed to get back on track to use the time we had. I didn't have time for a proper run with the medium tyres, but getting some laps in the wet and then changing back to dry conditions was very positive. Tomorrow we have to catch up on the time we missed out on today."
Adrian Sutil: "The morning went OK and the balance was quite good. We made a change during the lunch hour to cure some oversteer and my general feeling with the car is good. I missed out on some running this afternoon, but I think the rain interrupted things for everybody so I didn't miss too much dry track time. I still managed a run on the hard and the medium this afternoon so I've got a feel for both the tyre compounds."
Paul Di Resta: "I think we've had a reasonable day. We've got some tyre data and first impressions suggest that our performance level is pretty similar to where it was in Melbourne last week. Hopefully we can continue the progress overnight. Generally I'm fairly happy but, as always, there's some work to do tonight to make sure we're comfortable on both the compounds going into the race."
Pastor Maldonado: "We didn't have the pace today unfortunately. We need to analyse the data tonight to see what we can do. We have a lot of work to do but we'll be pushing hard to see what we can achieve tomorrow."
Valtteri Bottas: "We had a number of parts to test today following the race in Melbourne and we were evaluating different things between the two cars. We will analyse the data to see what worked well and make some decisions for qualifying tomorrow. We hope to find some improvements, but we know we still have a lot of work to do to close the gap."
Jean-Eric Vergne: "I think this was a positive day, including the reliability front which is important. We concentrated on our long run work and we got some good answers from that, which is the most important thing, rather than looking for quick lap times. Consistent times over a distance are more important. For tomorrow, we can now look at finding more pace.
"Tyre degradation is quite high, but we expected that and it's the same for everybody. If it's dry for the whole race, tyre management will be quite tricky. I didn't learn much on the Inters, except that driving the car in the wet on a heavy fuel load is difficult! The heat? I'm fine with it."
Daniel Ricciardo: "We learned a lot about the tyres today. In the morning, they seemed to struggle in the heat and we made some changes to help deal with that in between the two sessions. We managed to improve the balance of the car to prolong tyre life and I think we succeeded to a certain extent in doing that.
"We still have more work to do on that. The heat doesn't affect the brakes much as there's time to cool them down, but you have to watch the engine temps and also the body temperatures, because looking in the garage the guys seemed to have just come out of the shower! This is a more physical race than others and it is definitely warm, but having come here a few times, I'm prepared for it and enjoying it."
Charles Pic: "Friday has been ok for us and it's mostly been looking at tyre degradation and balance. There was a little too much understeer in the first session this morning so we tried a couple of setup changes and they seemed to work. In the afternoon we had to change the plan a bit when the rain started but that gave us a chance to run seven laps on the intermediate tyres which could be important for Saturday and Sunday. We also had our first runs on the medium tyres here and wear rates were ok on those. I had a small mistake on my quickest lap on the performance run and that cost me quite a bit of time so I think there's more to come tomorrow, especially in qualifying.
"We've also been working on improvements in the garage between runs, cutting down the turnaround times, and that's working well. Overall it's been a good week in Malaysia so far for me. It's been busy but I'm enjoying it - we've had a great welcome wherever we go and I'm sure that'll continue all weekend."
Giedo van der Garde: "I think we've had a pretty good day. We've completed a lot of laps on all the tyres except the full wets and run through the whole program. In FP1 it was the normal runplan, focusing on the hard prime tyres and starting to understand deg levels on those - our pace on that compound and the wear rates were both encouraging, but we'll have to work a bit more on getting them up to temperature efficiently and then keeping them in that first phase of degradation as long as possible.
"In FP2 we did a couple of short and long runs on the primes and one on the medium tyre, as well as a stint on the inters when the rain started. It wasn't the intense rain we had on track yesterday but it was still enough to mean we needed to run the inters and with rain possible in quali and in the race that's more good data for us. It's also good for me to get as many laps as possible done on the intermediates - it's all part of the learning process and with full running in both FP1 and FP2 today, compared to Melbourne, we're in a better position for tomorrow and Sunday than we were last weekend."
Jules Bianchi: "I'm happy with the work we have been able to complete today, but it's always difficult to end Friday without a clear picture of where we stand and where there are still so many variables to consider. I am pleased with my performance today though and we seem to be making progress on the set-up we need here. This is just one of those races and circuits and it's the same for every team. It's my first time racing here and I am happy with the way I have acclimatised to the track. Now we have to see what the rest of the weekend holds. It could be frustrating, it could be exciting. We will see."
Max Chilton: "Today hasn't been the most straightforward of days but I know from experience that this circuit presents a variety of challenges, so not entirely unexpected. We have had our frustrations in a few areas but we've made some progress and completed some good runs - unfortunately not my new option run. I'm looking forward to seeing how the rest of the weekend will shape up now. The rain looks sets to play its part - that much looks clear. The rest is a little open right now so I think we will see an interesting qualifying and race."