Driver reaction - final day
Drivers have their say after the final day of pre-season testing
Last Updated: 04/03/12 6:59pm
What the men in the driving seat had to say after the final day of pre-season testing in Barcelona.
Lotus' Kimi Räikkönen: "I was happy with today's running. We didn't have any major issues so it was certainly better than yesterday. Everything worked, we tried a lot of set-ups on the car and it all came together well. It was a long time in the car today but I feel fine. It was cooler today so the tyres didn't work as well as otherwise but everything was okay. Of course, the fastest time at the end of the day looks good but no-one will know how fast any of the cars are until we get to qualifying at Albert Park. All the changes we have made over testing have been improving the car, so we'll have to see what happens in Melbourne in a couple of weeks' time. I'm feeling positive."
Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo: "Another day with a lot of laps to add to the high-mileage day yesterday. I have done more running this week than at the previous two tests and we have learned a lot about our new car, enough to have a basis for the start of the season. Personally, I found it very useful and I've got a clear understanding of the changes we have made these past few weeks and how the car reacts. Now I'm just looking forward to Melbourne - can't wait."
Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel: "I'd love to be able to say more about today, but this morning I had an issue, I went off track and broke the front wing and had to come in. It took quite a while to get back out and then just before lunch we had a problem with the gearbox so it upset the whole day. After that there wasn't much we could constructively do. To be honest, it wouldn't be fair to judge the updates we have, as I didn't get many laps today. I think yesterday was quite a decent step and it was a good day for Mark, so we'll take what we can from that.
"Summing up, I think that with testing you always have something you'd run differently but you have to accept what you get. There aren't many years you can give yourself a 10 out of 10, because it's likely that things break or you stop for precautionary reasons. Overall, though, I think we can be quite happy with how we've done this time."
Force India's Nico Hulkenberg: "We managed to fit a lot in today and hopefully when we have been through all the data we will have learned a lot, too. The race weekend simulation was useful, but unfortunately my race distance was cut short, so we will rely more on the data from Paul's run yesterday. We were also busy trying all the tyre compounds to learn more about tyre management and how to get the most from them. You always want more time in the car, but I think we can be pleased with how our three tests have gone. We still need to find some more performance because the whole grid looks very close and competitive, and I expect the grid in Melbourne to be extremely tight."
Mercedes' Michael Schumacher: "After four intensive days of testing this week, we are soon heading to Australia and it's really time for the season to start. We are very happy with all the work we have been able to achieve, covering a lot of kilometres and learning a lot about our car which gives us a good basis to work from. The car felt good from the very beginning, and we have managed to improve it over the test days, so I think we can say that we are very well prepared. Again, what this means compared to our competitors is something I want only to go into after some races, as we all know that testing does not show everything. What we can say though is that the field is tighter than it has been, so we are looking forward to an exciting season."
Williams' Bruno Senna: "We had a productive morning completing a number of tyre tests and aero runs. It has been interesting to see the car developing. Overall we've had a good few days of running here in Barcelona. We are still improving, but I feel we are in a solid position to go to Australia."
Williams' Pastor Maldonado: "We completed some good runs this afternoon and ended our test programme without issue. I'm feeling positive, and ready for Australia."
Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi: "My test programme for today had foreseen several longer breaks for changes to the car but of course not the early end because of the engine. These things happen, but I am still happy with our achievements. We did a lot of work to learn about the huge variety of set-up and aero options the new car offers. We made progress and of course there is still room for improvement. Personally I have not found the perfect set-up for me yet, at least not for Barcelona; Melbourne might be a different story anyway. I think performance wise we are looking fine and our simulation work for racing was really good. I feel confident, well and fit - and I think we could race tomorrow if we had to."
Caterham's Vitaly Petrov: "I am more than happy with how we went today. The team has done a fantastic job all day and we've been improving in every area each time we went out. I had my new seat today so I'm really starting to get comfortable in the car and the laptimes are coming down, the setup is improving and everything is working really well. The last lap before lunch was close to perfect for me, with the conditions and the way the car behaved, but we know there is still more to come so that is good news, it keeps us pushing.
"This afternoon we were looking at a race simulation and despite the slightly early end to the day it all went to plan. The degradation levels were manageable and we didn't have any issues at all with any of the systems - KERS, engine, gearbox or anything mechanical. We do have work to do, that's the same for everyone, but I think we have prepared as well as we can for Melbourne so for me this has been a really good first couple of weeks with the team."
More to follow...