Driver reaction - Spain practice

The drivers have their say on the first day of running

Last Updated: 10/05/13 6:13pm

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The drivers have their say on the first day of running at the Circuit de Catalunya where Sebastian Vettel set the pace.

Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel: "We have some new parts here but the days of big, big upgrades don't really happen now with the regulations how they are. This afternoon was fairly conclusive, but this morning wasn't really much good with the weather. It's hard to say much about the harder tyre, I think the number of pit stops will be the same here in this race as at the last few."

Mark Webber: "It looks reasonably tight. We couldn't have got more out of it today really, the weather made things a bit tricky, but it was a pretty good day overall. We had a few things to test this morning which we had to move to the afternoon when the weather was better - but it was okay. We still have work to do tonight. It's a nice grand prix to come to - one of the most popular of the year."


Fernando Alonso: "The signs from today are positive, as we were quick in both the morning and afternoon and the car seems to be well balanced on light and heavy fuel loads. But it is always premature to try and draw conclusions on a Friday when everything seems to be going well, because in the past we have seen how our competitors can take off in qualifying. We have a great deal of data to analyse this evening, especially because the rain in the morning meant we had to squeeze almost all our planned programme into the second session when it was dry.

"The feeling is definitely good and even though we are aware it won't be easy, we are sure we can fight it out with the best. I don't expect any great surprises compared to Bahrain and I think the top group is now defined, with Red Bull, Mercedes, ourselves and Lotus, although we need to see how much McLaren manages to improve, while also keeping an eye on Force India, who have been very strong in qualifying and the race".

Felipe Massa: "Everything went well today, even if this morning's rain reduced the amount of time we had to test everything we had planned for the first session. We began that job as soon as the track dried and then finished it off in the afternoon session, paying maximum attention to the handling of the car on both types of tyre Pirelli has brought on this track, especially the new Hard. Even on the long run, the car seemed competitive and this makes me confident and so I hope we can continue to do well right to the end of the weekend".


Jenson Button: "As with any test of an upgrade package, there are positives and negatives to take away from today.

"There's now a better understanding of the correlation between the track and the wind tunnel. That's positive for the future, but of course we'd always like more. So I think we've moved forwards, but I think the others have too.

"We were limited in terms of the amount of running we could this morning, so there's a lot of data to sift through and plenty of things to change for tomorrow. We need to look at those elements that are potentially working and those that are not helping the overall car balance.

"We need to focus on a couple of areas - but, hopefully, we can improve them a bit by tomorrow."

Sergio Perez: "Today was basically all about the afternoon session, and collecting as much data as we could from some very intense running. It possibly wasn't the day we were hoping to have, but we collected a lot of data for the engineers - that's a positive.

"It was difficult to draw any clear conclusions from today, but the main positive we can take away is that we have a lot of data to feed into our simulation software in order to improve our understanding of the correlation.

"We've made a slight improvement. Once we get a better grip on our understanding of the correlation, I think we'll start making bigger steps. Over the next few races, hopefully we can make more progress."


Kimi Raikkonen: "It was a pretty normal Friday. We tried some things on the car, ran with some different tyres and we'll have a look at all the data to see where we think we are. We finished the day not too far off the fastest time, so we can say that the day wasn't a disaster, but for sure there are some things we have to improve with the car which is normal after the first day's running."

Romain Grosjean: "Today was okay. It may not look great on the timesheets, but we didn't finish our lap on the medium tyres as I had to come back in. The circuit isn't an easy one to understand in terms of tyre performance as there is a lot of degradation, and of course this morning the weather conditions made things a bit difficult. We completed a good number of laps to collect as much data as possible, so we'll be working on the set-up this evening where we should be able to take some steps forwards."


Lewis Hamilton: "The team have done a great job to bring our upgrades here this weekend and whilst I could feel the impact immediately, it's difficult to quantify how much of an improvement has been made at this early stage. After the first session this morning, I felt there was some good promise and the car was well-balanced but I was a little less happy in the different conditions this afternoon. We'll keep working on it tonight and see if we can make tomorrow a little better."

Nico Rosberg: "It seems that we are quick again on one lap but we need to focus very much on achieving a good race pace. There is still a lot work to do but in general I felt that we had a good test programme today and learned quite a lot. It's difficult to manage the tyres in these conditions and we have seen a lot of graining today because of the lower temperatures."


Nico Hulkenberg: "The day was ok. Unfortunately we could not run our aero programme as planned due to the rain in the first session this morning, but you can't change the weather and the situation was the same for everyone. We were able to work through the whole programme during the second free practice without any problems. The new rear wing is an improvement. However, if it's enough of an improvement to catch up to our competition I can't say yet."

Esteban Gutierrez: "We were able to work through the whole programme today. The stability of the car has improved, which gives me more confidence to push during the long runs. We were able to analyse the new parts we brought to Barcelona. The team is doing a good job and we are pushing to be able to close the gap to our competition. It's hard to judge where we stand at the moment, but I think qualifying tomorrow will show where we are at compared to the rest of the field."

Force India

Paul Di Resta: "It was difficult to learn a massive amount today with the wet conditions this morning and our limited running. We had some new parts and both cars were slightly different to allow us to evaluate as much as possible. We will decide tonight the best overall package to carry forward.

"The baseline of the car is very similar to how it was in February during testing so we seem to be in the right operating window. My day was cut short with the tyre issue, but at this stage we're waiting for Pirelli to analyse exactly what happened."

Adrian Sutil: "An interesting day with a big variation in weather conditions. It was useful to have the wet running this morning because it's an area where we need to be more competitive. The changes we made improved things with each run. The afternoon tyre work was normal, but we also ran on the prototype tyre, which was very hard and felt very different to drive.

"The normal hard and medium compounds are quite similar, but the difference between the two is bigger than I expected here. The long runs went well and the car felt pretty well balanced on the medium tyre."


Pastor Maldonado: "We've been working on different set-ups today and testing a number of new parts on each car. We feel a little more positive, but we will analyse everything we tested today and hope to show the improvements in qualifying tomorrow."

Valtteri Bottas: "It was an interesting day for us. Unfortunately the weather wasn't quite right in the first session, but this was the same for everyone. We were trying different parts on the car today, particularly in the second session, so we have a lot of data to analyse tonight to work out the best set-up for tomorrow. The initial feeling is that we are starting to take steps forward."

Toro Rosso

Jean-Eric Vergne: "Earlier this week, I said I hoped we could have a positive weekend and that our updates would show signs of improvement and I have to say this is the best Friday we have had for many, many races. It's encouraging, but we still have work to do, analysing the data overnight, to try and improve still further.

"But we are looking in much better shape than in previous races: I am really happy, because everyone at the factory has done a very good job over the past few weeks to prepare for this race and the next ones after that. Tyres? All seems fine at the moment."

Daniel Ricciardo: "Overall, this was a pretty positive day and in the intermediate conditions in the morning, we were always in the top three or so, which looked quite good. Then, this afternoon we were also alright in the dry. I'm sure some of the teams, like McLaren will find more speed for tomorrow, but I think we can too. I expect it to be a close fight with a reasonable chance of getting into the top ten in qualifying and our long runs were also pretty good.

"It's always interesting to test new components and set-ups as you have to change your driving style a bit to deal with them. The best thing today was that the team brought a lot of parts here and, even if they might have looked good in the wind tunnel, it was reassuring to feel an improvement in the car on the track, where it matters."


Heikki Kovalainen: "For me that was a pretty good session, even though we lost quite a bit of time with a mechanical issue. Once that was fixed we got on with the program and ended up only losing one run and as P1 started with a wet track everyone else was limiting their track time as well, so the relative loss was minimal. In the session we were mainly working through back-to-back comparisons of some of the new parts we've brought here and it was good to see that the car generally felt much better than the one I drove in Bahrain.

"The balance has been improved, especially mid-corner and in both low and high speed turns, so it's easier to push, but with so few dry laps today it's too early to tell how much we've gained from the package we have for this race. The rest of the weekend is supposed to be better weather so we'll learn more about how to get the most out of the new parts in P2 and P3, but we'll only really find out where we are, and where everyone else is, on Saturday afternoon and on Sunday."

Charles Pic: "Having sat out FP1 I was looking forward to trying out the new parts in P2. On the first couple of runs the car had too much understeer in the low and medium speed corners so we made a couple of mechanical adjustments and the balance started to improve on runs three and four.

"Tyre degradation was also not too bad on either compound, but we have more work to do on bringing the tyres up to temperature so we can get them working efficiently as soon as possible. We'll look at that tonight, and how we can optimise the setup with the range of new parts we have here to improve the overall balance as we have quite a lot of time to come from that, and then we'll aim to pick up where we finished in Bahrain."

Giedo van der Garde: "With Friday morning's weather we didn't get as many laps done as we'd like in P1, but I was still happy with how the car felt with the new parts on it. We didn't have KERS for the session which obviously knocks off about 3/10ths a lap, but we were focusing on testing the new parts so even though the times were ok it was more important to gather as much data as possible.

"In the afternoon session we carried on with evaluation of the update package and we definitely made more progress. The car had good balance on the medium tyres, both on short and long runs, and I think we showed quite good pace on that compound and on the hards but we need to work on the car's behaviour on the entry into corners.

"Against that is the fact that the car has much better traction out of the corners and that's a really positive sign. Now we have the normal late Friday ahead of us and we'll be focusing on improving the setup generally so we can attack quali as hard as possible, and put us in good shape for the race on Sunday."


Jules Bianchi: "It's good to be back at Barcelona. It feels like only yesterday when I made my debut for the Marussia F1 Team in testing here, but so much has happened since then and I have learned a lot. The car feels quite different to when I last drove here and the improvements we have made are clear to see, which is good.

"The developments we have brought here seem to be working well so far. It was a big step to make going straight from the prototype to the option, which made it very difficult to get the most from the tyre. Extracting the most from the new components will take a little more time but once again we seem to have followed a good path and I hope we can be where we want to be this weekend."

Max Chilton: "A short day for me having sat out FP1 this morning with Rodolfo in the car, which makes for a rapid learning curve in the afternoon. It's a shame I didn't get the best out of the Medium tyre because of traffic and we still have some work to do to try to optimise the new components, but we have a good basis to build on overnight to better prepare us for qualifying."

Rodolfo Gonzalez: "It was good to be back in the car again, although the weather and damp track made it difficult to get into a good rhythm. I had a very specific programme to work through with the new development parts, which we completed, and this will provide the engineers with plenty of data to compare with that of the race drivers today."

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