2013 Singapore Grand Prix - Driver reaction
The 22 drivers have their say on the opening day's action
By William Esler. Last Updated: 20/09/13 6:57pm
The 22 drivers have their say on the opening day's action at the Marina Bay Circuit in Singapore.
Sebastian Vettel: "It was quite busy; it's pretty hot out there, good fun and a nice place, but for all of us it's quite hard work. The time we set was a surprise today, I got a good lap in, but I don't think it's completely representative. We seem to be quick, but I think Mercedes will be very strong in qualifying tomorrow. I think Turn Ten is the best solution we have with the space that's available."
Mark Webber: "We got most of the work done today that we planned to. It's an easy venue to not get what you want, but in the end I think we've got a reasonable set-up. We've got work to do on the long run and also on the short run, you can't neglect that. We won't count our chickens yet, but it was a smooth day. Turn 10 is better now I think."
Fernando Alonso: "We can't say this was a good start, because we weren't competitive, but if we consider that last year, at the end of a difficult weekend we managed to get on the podium, we definitely aren't throwing in the towel yet. We have yet to analyse the data, but we certainly have to be realistic, because when you have one car in sixth place and the other in fifteenth, it's clearly not the result we were hoping for, without taking into consideration the updates we have brought for this race. Now, we have a lot of work to do to find the right set-up and the best strategy.
"Then we will need to put in a very good qualifying lap and attack from start to finish in the race. However, we know that won't be easy because on tracks which require high downforce, we suffer more and, just as in Hungary, apart from the fact that Mercedes seem to be on a par with Red Bull here, there are others who also look strong, like Lotus and McLaren".
Felipe Massa: "This was a difficult day, because I struggled to find the right way to move forward in both sessions. In the first session, we concentrated on evaluating various aerodynamic components, while in the second one, we managed to complete the programme, doing a long run, starting on the Supersofts and ending on the Mediums.
"Along with the team we decided to go in another direction to try and find a set-up with which I was more comfortable on this track. Unfortunately this did not produce the results we were expecting. I think that for tomorrow's qualifying we need to retrace our steps, trying to improve the balance of the car. I am sure it will be better and that I will manage to once again find the car I'm used to driving".
Jenson Button: "This morning was about getting used to the circuit again, putting laps on the car and doing aero comparisons.
"This afternoon the car felt better, but it's strange how much of a difference there seems to be between the tyres. I found about 3.0s from my Prime run to my Option run.
"On the long runs at the end of FP2, the Option tyre felt good; but, as soon as we put the Prime tyre on, there was lower grip and we struggled to get good balance. On the plus side, though, the ride has been good and we haven't had the rear-end bouncing that we had earlier in the year.
"So, overall, I'm pretty happy with P7. I wouldn't mind being P7 on the grid, in fact. I don't think that's too bad for us right now."
Sergio Perez: "It was an interesting day, testing the two compounds Pirelli brought here. It's the first time this year we've had such a difference between the two compounds - nearly 3.0s - so to get the balance right was pretty difficult.
"We're in decent shape here, though. But obviously a lot depends on how we fare in qualifying.
"In many ways this circuit is completely different from any other track we've visited so far this season. Having said that, we're using a very similar aero package to what we had in Hungary, and we hope we'll be reasonably competitive in that configuration. Unlike Hungary, though, it's a street circuit, which means the driver can sometimes make a bigger difference on a single qualifying lap, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow for that reason."
Kimi Raikkonen: "It was a pretty decent day. The car felt okay, but I had some traffic on my fast lap on the softer tyres so I wasn't able to set a faster lap. The car isn't too bad and there are still some places where we can make it faster. The times don't matter on Friday so we'll see what happens tomorrow."
Romain Grosjean: "We had a lot of problems today with the car which meant I didn't complete many laps. It wasn't the ideal situation, but nevertheless the baseline we have here is pretty good. Hopefully we can get on top of the issues we had and have a strong car for qualifying as track position is pretty important here. Tyre degradation was better than we expected with the super soft performing well, so we'll have to look closely at the data for the rest of the weekend."
Nico Rosberg: "It's great to be back in Singapore although the conditions are incredibly hot out there and it's a tough challenge for the drivers. We had a reasonable day but there is still some work to do this evening as our competitors seem to be very quick again.
"We will be looking at how we used the tyres this evening and make sure we are on top of potential overheating and degradation on the long runs as there are no long straights here to cool the tyres down."
Lewis Hamilton: "It wasn't the perfect Friday for us but we got on with our programme and know where we have to make improvements for tomorrow. The balance of the car felt really good in P1 but it definitely went away from us in P2.
"There is a lot of work to do this evening but we're used to that on a Friday night and will just get on with it and focus on our car and performance. It's so difficult to overtake around at this circuit that you want to qualify as high up as possible and, of course, aim for the front row but that will be tough. The circuit is much improved here without the chicane and Turn 10 feels like a much nicer corner now."
Nico Hulkenberg: "During FP1 we struggled a bit with the set-up of the car and couldn't really find a good rhythm. This afternoon was much better. I felt a lot more confident in the car. However, there is still room for improvement, especially on the option tyre.
"I think we can find quite a bit more in the lap time. Overall it was quite interesting that the harder tyre was quite weak for me during the long run, and the option performed a lot better. In that regard we still have a lot of work ahead of us."
Esteban Gutierrez: "It was an okay Friday. We managed to get in some good laps and we were able to get through some things that we were planning to do in order to improve qualifying. My experience is improving, but I need to work on certain things. We worked on the set-up of the car. The long runs look okay.
"There is a lot of thermal degradation on the tyres, which will be quite a challenge during the race. This is something we need to look into to try to find the right compromise for qualifying and a good race pace. Overall the car feels good, but we need to keep working on looking to qualifying tomorrow."
Adrian Sutil: "It's encouraging to be back in the top ten and if we can do a similar run tomorrow with the super-soft tyres I think we can aim for the top ten in qualifying. The main thing we need to work on tonight is our performance on the medium tyre because I was more comfortable on the super-softs."
Paul Di Resta: "We made good progress between the sessions and we certainly look quite competitive over the long runs. So I'd say that compared to previous years things are looking positive because we seem to be getting the car in a similar zone to last year, where it worked well. Some more gains overnight would be welcome so we will focus on some of the finer details to try and keep moving forward."
Valtteri Bottas: "I didn't have any big problems learning the track and I really enjoyed driving it. It's quite a tricky circuit, to putting one lap together will be a big challenge for qualifying tomorrow. Looking at the pace we have, particularly in FP2, there's still more for us to do and we need to work hard tonight to improve for tomorrow."
Pastor Maldonado: "We completed the planned runs today but we still don't have the pace in the car. We need to try to improve in all areas this weekend and it will be tough with the heat. We need to address some of the issues with the balance of the car in order to have a good race."
Jean-Eric Vergne: "We have some new things on the car here and we have spent today getting to understand how they work. I would say they show good potential for improvement. It all went smoothly, so now it's the usual story of looking at all the data to find the best possible set-up for tomorrow.
"It's going to be a long night for everyone, but I am confident that we can come up with something useful. As part of the usual tyre evaluation, I did a long run on the Supersoft and it felt pretty good and I was quite pleased with that. The main area we need to work on for tomorrow is the balance."
Daniel Ricciardo: "In FP1 we found ourselves a little bit on the back foot, as I wasn't really comfortable with what I had underneath me. We made some adjustments for FP2 and they produced what we expected, which is positive. Now we have to fine tune those adjustments and then we can have a good package.
"In high downforce configuration and high temperatures we have struggled a bit this year, but I feel the changes to the car should see us make a step forward, although in Formula 1 you always have to remember that the other teams are also developing their cars. Today, myself and Jean-Eric were just outside the top ten, but I'm confident we can move forward from there tomorrow and if we get into Q3, then we can look forward to a strong race on Sunday."
Charles Pic: "FP1 was ok but clearly there was more pace to be found. The main balance issue in the session was understeer, especially mid-corner on the first couple of runs, and under braking it was too easy to lock the fronts. We made a bit of progress throughout the session but by the last run the rear tyre performance had dropped off so it was a bit tricky to really judge where we'd moved forward.
"From the start of FP2 the car balance was a bit better. The grip levels on track had also improved but it was immediately clear from the times and how the car felt that the changes we'd made from FP1 were taking us in the right direction. Despite that the fronts were still not there so we made another mechanical change for the first run on the supersofts and they came up to temperature ok but there was still understeer, especially on entry to mid-corner, even more than the mediums.
"On the long runs the times were ok and the supersofts held up pretty well, but when they went off it was a big drop and we'll need to manage that. I didn't really have a chance to push the mediums hard at the end of the session so we'll need to look at that again tonight."
Giedo van der Garde: "The first session was not too bad for me. Like Charles I had understeer on the first two runs and the front tyres were just not biting. We also had some traction issues which we didn't fully fix in FP1 but we made a ride height change for the last run and that was pretty positive.
"After FP1 we made some changes to the ride height, front camber and front anti-roll bar and from the first run the front tyres were working better. The understeer I'd had in FP1 had turned to a bit of mid-corner oversteer - the entry into the corners was fine but there was a bit of snap mid-corner so we added some more front wing for the performance run. The supersofts were much quicker and easier to drive and I think the first lap I had on them was good - there was a bit of understeer but not really enough to be a major problem.
"We did a very long run on the mediums to finish the session. The deg levels were ok until the final lap when they'd completely gone and then we switched to supersofts for the final stint. What we've seen from them today gives us some interesting options to work through tonight and I'm sure we'll make more progress tomorrow."
Max Chilton: "I'm pretty pleased with how today has gone for me, though not as pleased as I would have been had we maintained position from this morning! Having said that, we're really close on lap time and we've done a lot of work with the car to be able to arrive at a good direction for tomorrow. We tried quite a few things and I think once we take all that into account to fine-tune the car, we'll be in reasonable shape for qualifying. Not a bad start really."
Jules Bianchi: "Today I got my very first taste of this track and the whole night race experience and I have to say it is pretty sensational. We had quite a big programme to get through and though we tried a lot of things to achieve the data, we lost the position advantage we had to Caterham in the first session, which is a bit of a shame.
"Nevertheless our times are very close considering I didn't manage to resolve the understeer issues this evening, so I'm feeling quite confident for tomorrow and that we can be in a good fight this weekend."