Day one at Hockenheim by the men in the hot seats
Four different teams in the top four places, with less than four tenths of a second between the lot of them. The drivers on Fridays two closely-fought practice sessions for the German Grand Prix
Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (1st, 1m 15.001s):
Friday in Hockenheim has been quite pleasant. We worked well on the car and had clean runs, helped by the fact that right from the start of this mornings session, we had a good baseline in terms of car set-up. I am quite happy with the overall situation. I think today was a good preparation for tomorrow and Sundays race, which I am looking forward to.
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (2nd, 1m 15.045s):
"We completed our planned programme and are pretty happy with how things went. The car is OK and I think we are confident with our tyre choice. It's hot but you don't really feel it when you are in the car. We now have to wait until tomorrow's qualifying and Sunday's race, but so far so good and based on today I think we should be in with a good chance for a very competitive result."
Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams (3rd, 1m 15.167s):
It was a good day. I had some small problems in the morning but the afternoon session was a lot better. The car was much more stable than usual but I made a mistake when I went out on my first set of new tyres and I could not take advantage of them. We managed to do a couple of good long runs so I believe we are looking pretty good for the rest of the weekend.
Jenson Button, BAR (4th, 1m 15.379s):
"We had a good morning, so it is very disappointing that I will lose 10 places on the grid as a result of my engine change. The programme ran according to plan and the car was very consistent, but it will be difficult and very competitive in qualifying tomorrow so we have a great deal of work to do now. The tyres worked well and were consistent during the long runs, which is good news for the race. I will obviously be targeting a points finish on Sunday but the task has been made a lot more difficult."
Antonio Pizzonia, Williams (5th, 1m 15.470s):
We had two productive sessions today. As it was the first time I've driven at Hockenheim in a Formula One car, I spent most of the time getting to know the secrets of the track, and how the FW26 behaves around this circuit. When I raced here in F3000 I really liked the circuit and once I finished in first - on the old circuit, which is a good omen. We will have to wait and see what qualifying will bring tomorrow, but I'm looking forward to a good session. Its good to be racing again and I must say thanks to the team for having offered me this great opportunity.
Anthony Davidson, BAR (6th, 1m 15.576s):
"Generally it's been a reasonably good day for me. I stopped the car on the circuit this morning after we identified a potential gearbox problem, which was a great shame considering the progress we were making. I was very pleased to finish first in the first session and disappointed to end this afternoon's session early. I think we have seen some encouraging signs for the weekend ahead and the car is looking competitive but it is obviously very frustrating that Jenson will have to lose ten places. I'm sure that he has a strong enough car to put up a good fight though."
Takuma Sato, BAR (7th, 1m 15.657s):
"We have had a good day today and the car looks very consistent on long runs. We should be quite a bit stronger here than we have been in the last few races and I hope we can get back to the sort of form we had in Indy and return to the podium. The package we have here is better and I am looking forward to setting up the car for tomorrow and the race."
Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (9th, 1m 15.738s):
It was a tough day for me with a few problems even the radio was not working for a while! We now have to look at the set-up of the car and I am confident that after working tonight with my engineers, we will have a much better day tomorrow.
Ricardo Zonta, Toyota (10th, 1m 16.200s):
"It was quite a good day with a lot of valuable laps completed. We found a good balance on the car almost immediately and then we did a series of long runs to evaluate the two different tyre compounds. In the end, we found some encouraging results for the race. Although, I was driving the standard TF104 today, the data we have obtained will still be useful for the TF104Bs because the overall behaviour of the tyres is the same. With the additional downforce on the new car, the performance of old tyres will be more consistent, and the time benefit on new Michelins should be greater."
David Coulthard, McLaren (11th, 1m 16.265s):
"During the second practice session I had two high speed spins under braking at turn two which upset our programme a little bit. Whilst the balance of the car is not where I want it to be, my primary goal today was to make the right tyre choice. Tomorrow I will concentrate on the car which I'm sure we will improve throughout the day."
Bjorn Wirdheim, Jaguar (12th, 1m 16.342s):
Friday is my only opportunity to get out on track and perform so I was slightly frustrated this morning when I had a problem with the brake ducts. The team made some changes but I missed out on some running. I made up for it in the second session and completed 28 laps with a 12th fastest lap time. The R5 is feeling good around here and I am keen to see the team do well in qualifying tomorrow and in the race on Sunday.
Mark Webber, Jaguar (13th, 1m 16.514s):
I did my installation lap this morning and was due to go out at the end of the first session when the team took the decision to change my brake ducts. They had found a problem on Christian and Bjorns car and to ensure that they did not cause me any difficulties they changed them too. I had a good second session this afternoon and managed to complete 27 laps working through a fairly comprehensive programme. We will be concentrating now on our balance and some further tyre work ahead of tomorrows qualifying.
Christian Klien, Jaguar (15th, 1m 16.854s):
My session was cut short this morning as the team changed my brake ducts but I am happy to say that they turned things around pretty quickly and I was back out on track for the second session. The track is quite green out there but the car is feeling good. My programme in the second session was very busy as I was making up for lost time. We did manage to complete our test items though and I am looking forward to getting back behind the wheel for qualifying tomorrow.
Felipe Massa, Sauber (16th, 1m 16.865s):
"It was a good day for me. We focused on long runs and my first impression is that things are better than I expected. The tyre choice is not straightforward, but our race pace today was good. Qualifying, however, will be difficult for us."
Giancarlo Fisichella, Sauber (17th, 1m 17.026s):
"The balance of the car was still not good this afternoon. I had oversteer going into the hairpin which turned to understeer at the midpoint. It wasn't so bad in the higher-speed corners, but we still have work to do to improve things."
Cristiano da Matta, Toyota (18th, 1m 17.300s):
"We opted to do our tyre comparison work in the first of today's practice sessions, before turning our attention to setting up the new TF104B car. As a result of this, we did not do any runs on new tyres in the second session, so the times are unrepresentative. Most of the updated aerodynamic parts have only been run for the first time today, so it is difficult to gauge our real performance. As the weekend progresses, we will obtain a much clearer indication of where we stand, but there is still a lot to be done tomorrow morning."
Olivier Panis, Toyota (19th, 1m 17.419s):
"We had two difficult practice sessions today because it was the first time the new TF104B car has run in its full configuration. We have had to use today as more of a test session to work on the set-up and to try all the new parts. It is hard to condense everything we have to do into just two hours. Having said that, we have acquired a lot of data, which we have to analyse overnight and work hard for a better day tomorrow."
Timo Glock, Jordan (20th, 1m 17.724s):
In the first practice session we had problems with locking and too much understeer but we worked hard to find a slightly better compromise for the braking system which made things better. During the morning I damaged the front wing touching the kerb at the first corner, my mistake, and we lost a little bit of time as a result while the team repaired the car. My timed lap at the end wasnt too bad but minutes before the morning session finished I had a problem with the anti-stall system and the car stopped. The car was fairly good in the second session but then I damaged the front wing again. After that I was able to do some long runs which were quite good and I think we have found a good tyre. On the last run I think I could have gone three tenths faster if it hadnt been for traffic in the first sector.
Giorgio Pantano, Jordan (21st, 1m 17.869s):
This morning we had problems with rear locking but by the time the session ended we had understood what to do and changed something on the rear and on the brake side. In the second session the car improved quite a bit and I think we can probably get even better on the lap time.
Zsolt Baumgartner, Minardi (22nd, 1m 18.098s):
"It wasn't too bad a day. We found a good balance for the car, although we need to work on it just a bit more tomorrow. I'm very happy that we were able to run both sessions without any problems and particularly want to thank the guys for all their hard work in this heat. I'm now looking forward to tomorrow and hoping to be able to perform to a similar level."
Bas Leinders, Minardi (23rd, 1m 18.224s):
"We tested a few small things today to improve the balance of the car. We lost a little time in the morning while an electronics matter was dealt with, but we were able to make the time up by the end of the session. In the afternoon, we started out with an oversteer problem, which we solved, but then we created another problem that couldn't be adjusted out before the end of the session. We were also losing some time on the straight in the afternoon. Generally, though, I'm pleased with the lap time we achieved at the end, as it shows I can be on the pace of Gimmi and Zsolt."
Nick Heidfeld, Jordan (24th, 1m 18.243s):
After a reasonable start to the first session with some good adjustments to the car, unfortunately the changes we made for the second session didnt improve it. We tried to come back on some of those things towards the end of the afternoon and I did a fairly long run to get some information for the tyres. Im sure that we can progress in time for tomorrow.
Gianmaria Bruni, Minardi (25th, 1m 18.309s):
"It turned out okay in the end. I had a problem on my first run, so I set my quickest lap of the day during my second run this afternoon. The guys found a hydraulic problem in the last few laps of the second session, and it seems it was that which caused me some difficulty in downshifting. Apart from those small things, though, it has been a good day and we were able to make a good tyre choice. We'll see how we go tomorrow."