Driver reaction: Jerez Day Three
The drivers have their say on the day's running
By William Esler. Last Updated: February 7, 2013 7:19pm
The drivers have their say after the third day of the first winter test at Jerez where Felipe Massa was fastest.
Sebastian Vettel: "So far, I think we can be pretty happy. Mark had a good couple of days to start with and I took over today. It was great to get back in the car, to get rid of the rust and to get back in the groove again. The first feeling is good and the car is working well. It's difficult to judge the speed, but in terms of reliability it looks pretty good. For today we accomplished what we set out to achieve - which was to put a lot of laps on the car.
"At this stage it's very difficult to judge anything else," he added. "It could be that there is a favourite after these three tests, but it could turn out to be completely different in Australia because it's a different track with different characteristics. I expect the Championship to be at least as tight as last year, as the regulations haven't changed so much.
"In terms of the times, it's always nice to be on top, but if there's one phase of the year where it matters least, it's here. Now is the time to do our homework. It's good for us to do a lot of laps, to see that the car is working well and we'll go from there."
Felipe Massa: "It's always nice to arrive at the end of the day and see your name in first position but, honest, it doesn't count for anything. For sure, if I'm the last then you're always a little more frustrated, with the pressure around a big team.
"I think when you put everything together - the improvements I did day by day - I think it was an important three days. And I think it was a very important three days for the car and to work in the right direction."
Nico Rosberg: "I'm very happy with today and I think it was probably a personal record for me to do almost 150 laps. I've never been so well prepared physically as I am this season; I feel on top form and it was no problem to complete the programme.
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"To drive the distance from Silverstone to Spa in one day with no problems whatsoever is a fantastic achievement from the team. It really made up for the last two days and put a smile on everybody's face. In terms of driving the car, I have a good feeling, I can push it and feel comfortable - but obviously we still have plenty of work to do to continue improving."
Kimi Raikkonen: "It was good to get behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car again. The E21 feels quite good so far, even if the balance isn't quite to my liking yet. That didn't stop us going through the programme we wanted to do which had a lot of aero runs in it. We know the car can go faster, we were just running through what we needed to achieve. It's a shame that we had a clutch issue at the end of the day, but that's why we come testing so we can find these problems and fix them."
Esteban Gutierrez: "It was a very positive day with 110 laps. I had the chance to get to know the car and the tyres that are behaving quite differently. Because of this it was important to understand the warm-up characteristics and the behaviour on long runs with high fuel loads. It was very interesting to feel the progress - something that gets me up to speed. I'm positive about the new car and I immediately felt comfortable in it."
James Rossiter: "It has been four and a half years since I last drove a Formula One car, but with the simulator experience I've built up recently it didn't take too long to get back up to speed. The programme today has been very useful for getting a feel for the car as a reference for the simulator.
"The cars have changed quite a lot and it was the first time I've used KERS. It's important to know how the tyres behave and we've worked hard to try and understand them this week. That will help make the simulator model more representative as a way of exploiting the car's potential."
Valtteri Bottas: "It was my first day as an official race driver today and it's been a long wait. Since the announcement last year I've been looking forward to this day and it's great to finally get the season underway. Everything went as planned and we completed a lot of laps doing both aero and tyre work to gather some good data. It was a great start to 2013 for me."
Jean-Eric Vergne: "Of course [I feel] much more confident. I feel like I'm a better driver, much more experienced and my understanding of the car is much better than last year at this time.
"Everything comes to my brain, not much quicker, but it goes to another side and that's understood. So I lose less time in understanding things.
"It's a brand new car. We didn't bring anything from the STR7 to this car. The feeling is of course different because of the tyres but so far it's good."
Charles Pic: "It was very good to get back on track and for my first day with the team it's been pretty good. We had a technical issue late in the morning session that stopped the car on track but the team did a good job to fix it and give me enough time in the afternoon session to complete 57 laps in total.
"The important thing for the first day was starting to get used to the car, particularly working with KERS and my new team. Everyone's been very helpful since I first went to the factory and I've already spent time in the simulator there, and with my engineers and mechanics, so nothing was completely new to me. Obviously it's important for me to feel comfortable in the car as quickly as possible and we've worked through a lot of the normal procedures today so I'm pleased with what we've achieved.
"Tomorrow we'll keep working through a similar program, as well as some aero tests, and just keep adding to the mileage."
Max Chilton: "I'm really pleased with how my second day in the car has gone and I'm happy to have been able to reveal a little more of the car's potential. Obviously these are very early days for all of us, but there are some very positive signs and I'm excited about that. The race runs went very well and we're starting to understand how the 2013 tyres are going to wear.
"Having completed the long run work we needed to, it was nice to have a new tyre run at the end of the day to explore more of the car's performance. What we found was very encouraging and this has given the Team a nice boost at this early stage of the MR02's development."