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Friday practice - selected driver quotes 18 Jun 2004

Jenson Button (GBR) BAR.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, United States Grand Prix, Practice Day, Indianapolis, USA, 18 June 2004 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren shows his support for the Olympics.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, United States Grand Prix, Practice Day, Indianapolis, USA, 18 June 2004 Bjorn Wirdheim (SWE) Jaguar Test Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, United States Grand Prix, Practice Day, Indianapolis, USA, 18 June 2004 Nick Heidfeld (GER) Jordan.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, United States Grand Prix, Practice Day, Indianapolis, USA, 18 June 2004

Barrichello blitzes the opposition on day one at Indy

Rubens Barrichello goes over half a second quicker than his nearest rival, while Takuma Sato and Felipe Massa come together at Turn One. Read what they and all the drivers had to say about their progress after practice. Times and positions refer to session two.

Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (1st, 1m 10.365s):
“It was a very productive day and I am very happy with the car’s performance. We did a lot of work on assessing the tyres and they are working well on their first lap, allowing me to set my best time immediately. Being quickest on Friday is of absolutely no importance: it is a question of finding the right balance on the car and being comfortable with its handling. I quite like driving the oval section here, as it is something a bit different and the infield section was still a bit green today. Tomorrow will be a busy day as we try and find the best set up for the race. This has been a near perfect start to the weekend.”

Anthony Davidson, BAR (2nd, 1m 10.967s):
"Driving for the first time at Indianapolis has been every bit as exciting as I thought it would be. It’s an interesting track and the long straights create good overtaking opportunities; I’ve never overtaken as many cars in a practice session as I have today. The track was very dusty at the start of both sessions which made set-up changes difficult to determine. The asphalt rubbered-in reasonably quickly through the session so we have been able to make steady improvements. Generally I’m very pleased with what I have achieved at yet another circuit debut. I think we are looking good for another strong race here but it’s very hot and humid which should make it even more challenging for Jenson and Taku."

Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams (3rd, 1m 10.982s):
“I am reasonably satisfied with the performance of my car today, even if we have still quite a lot of work ahead of us, before we can say we are ready for tomorrow’s qualifying and Sunday’s race. It’s too early to say where we really stand in relation to the competition. I evaluated the type of tyres that Michelin brought here and they seem to be both good, but before making our choice we need to have a careful look at the data.”

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (4th, 1m 11.036s):
“This was not an especially good Friday for me. For whatever reason, I could not get the car to work the way I would have liked when trying to push hard on just one opening lap. Therefore I am not particularly pleased with the result, but we are on the pace and we will still be able to fight both for pole position and the race win. When I spun, it was just my mistake. It seems the track, which is very wide here, was not actually wide enough at that moment!”

Jenson Button, BAR (5th, 1m 11.230s):
"We’ve had a really productive day today. We made some useful improvements to the car and worked on our performance over longer runs. The track was very dusty when we started out and we set the car up to cope with the oversteer we were experiencing earlier in the day. The circuit had a lot more grip this afternoon so the balance wasn’t ideal for one lap. We’ve gathered quite a bit of information which we’ll be looking at tonight and which should help us tomorrow."

Ralf Schumacher, Williams (6th, 1m 11.530s):
“All in all I can be very happy with today’s performance even if driving was fairly difficult due to the fact the track is still quite slippery. I finished my tyre evaluation and collected some useful data. There is still some work to do, but I am pretty confident about the weekend ahead.”

Cristiano da Matta, Toyota (7th, 1m 11.893s):
"I think we have had quite a good couple of sessions this morning. We have worked mainly on tuning the settings on the chassis and we also did the tyre comparison, which is the priority on Fridays. It seems quite clear to me what compound of tyre we need to use, but we will only really know where we stand tomorrow because every team does different things on the opening day. For us, I think the biggest thing we need to look at is the traction, but overall it's not been a bad start to our US Grand Prix weekend."

Olivier Panis, Toyota (8th, 1m 11.994s):
"We have had two productive free practice sessions which we also used for long runs in order to get as much data about the two tyre compounds as possible. I am quite happy that all three of us drivers were able to get into the top ten. This is particularly encouraging as I know that I still have some margin for improvement because I was held up by traffic on my quick lap. The team did a very good job and I am looking forward to tomorrow."

Ricardo Zonta, Toyota (9th, 1m 12.019s):
"Although I raced here back in 2000, the Speedway felt like a new track to me first thing this morning, so I spent the initial runs simply relearning the circuit. We made some good progress to improve the balance of the car for the second session when we completed our tyre programme and long runs. I had quite a bit of traffic on my final set of new tyres, so I backed off during the out lap to create enough distance. By doing this, the brakes were not at their optimum temperature, which resulted in me locking the wheels and losing a couple of tenths. Nevertheless, I am happy and I think we have done a good job."

Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (10th, 1m 12.197s):
"We completed our tyre evaluation programme and will continue working on finding a good set up in tomorrow's two practice sessions. It can be quite tricky here as you have to find a good balance both for the full throttle part and the in-field section. I like this track and enjoyed my first couple of laps familiarising myself with the lay out."

Mark Webber, Jaguar (11th, 1m 12.438s):
“This was a good day for me today and I worked through a comprehensive programme with my engineers. The team has achieved a good set-up on the car and the balance is feeling right. The weather can make a big difference at this track so I am pleased that we did not experience any of the rain that we saw yesterday. We are well prepared going into tomorrow and I will be working with my engineers tonight doing some fine tuning.”

Jarno Trulli, Renault (12th, 1m 12.441s):
"I had a difficult day today. Obviously, we concentrated on tyre testing as normal, plus a little bit of set-up work, but at this stage we do not seem to be competitive. The circuit was very slippery, which means the car has very little grip, and we haven't yet found a good balance."

Giancarlo Fisichella, Sauber (13th, 1m 12.537s):
"We got off to a good start today but then I had some problems with oversteer and the rear tyres were tending to blister, so our main focus has been on improving the set-up to minimise this. We have a lot of work to do before qualifying tomorrow."

Takuma Sato, BAR (14th, 1m 12.601s):
"It was a shame that I wasn’t able to complete my programme today, having made some positive changes after the first session. It was good to see the other two cars running well and completing the required tyre evaluation. Even though I was not able to complete a full tyre assessment I am confident that we can make the right choice for tomorrow."

Bjorn Wirdheim, Jaguar (15th, 1m 12.761s):
“I really enjoyed driving the car today and I was pleased to have managed thirty laps. My running in Montreal (Canada) had been curtailed very early in the day so getting out and getting a full day today makes a huge difference. My test programme focused mainly on aerodynamic work during the morning session and then I also did some tyre work this afternoon. The grip was not great this morning but by this afternoon it was good and we could really push the R5. My set-up is good and I have only had to make minor changes.”

Christian Klien, Jaguar (16th, 1m 12.950s):
“It was my first opportunity this morning to experience this new track and I really enjoyed it. The circuit is unusual and the infield in particular is quite tricky. I worked through my full test programme and we were pleased to have completed it without any problems. The R5 is feeling well balanced around here and I have managed to achieve a good set-up in advance of tomorrow’s qualifying. Completing a good number of laps makes a huge difference to us especially at a new track like this one is for me. I spent some time this morning working on familiarisation and I am comfortable with the track layout.”

Felipe Massa, Sauber (17th, 1m 13.196s):
"Like Giancarlo, I had some problems with oversteer today. As for the incident, I knew that Sato was some way behind me and he wasn't in my mirrors or alongside me when I looked before turning in as normal. Then he hit me. I don't understand. This isn't a race today, it's just a practice session..."

Zsolt Baumgartner, Minardi (18th, 1m 13.384s):
"We worked throughout the day on the balance, and finally got it on the last run, as the lap time reflects. I have never driven on this circuit before and at first it was difficult to find a rhythm, but then we made good progress this afternoon. I hope we can improve the race balance of the car still further tomorrow. We have done a good day's work and it is always nice to set a quick time at the end of the session."

Timo Glock, Jordan (19th, 1m 13.446s):
“The first practice was difficult because the track didn’t have much grip. It improved lap by lap but we still have the same problems really - the car is good for one lap and then we get
oversteer and traction problems. We have to look for a better set-up and work long and hard tonight to improve the car for long runs.”

Fernando Alonso, Renault (20th, 1m 13.732s):
"It was a very difficult opening day from my point of view. The car had very low grip this morning, then I made a mistake early in the second session: the rear of the car was quite nervous, and I lost control under braking for Turn 11. At the moment, we are not in very good shape, and there is a lot of work to do this evening to try and catch up the time we have lost today."

Nick Heidfeld, Jordan (21st, 1m 13.961s):
“Unfortunately, this has not been our best Friday practice day, not because of reliability – which is not an issue - but because the balance has been difficult from the start. We made some good improvements between the sessions but we still have a very nervous rear on the car and we need to work very hard for tomorrow.”

Giorgio Pantano, Jordan (22nd, 1m 14.407s):
“Today was a learning day for me as I have never been here as a driver before and have to learn the circuit. By the end of the day I was quite happy with knowing the track and we have been working on the balance of the car and tyres. We have some problems with the car’s rear stability so now we are going to check what we can to for tomorrow.”

Bas Leinders, Minardi (23rd, 1m 14.409s):
"I'm very happy today, both with the car and with my own performance. I had a very nice test programme today and was able to set some good times in both practice sessions. I would like to thank everyone on the team for a great job today."

Gianmaria Bruni, Minardi (24th, 1m 14.428s):
"It's a little disappointing that we couldn't do a low-fuel run in the end, as we weren't able to take full advantage of the work we did today. Unfortunately, we had a technical problem, which meant we weren't able to go out for the last run, when we should have set our fastest lap. We succeeded in improving the balance of the car, though, and were close to Jordan on lap times, so we will aim to make more progress tomorrow."

David Coulthard, McLaren (25th, no time):
"Obviously I lost some track time as I was unable to take part in the second session which is a shame. All of a sudden at Turn eight the car just stopped and there was nothing I could do. Kimi collected quite a bit of data which should help us in making the best tyre choice possible, and we have two practice sessions tomorrow morning before qualifying and the race."