Day one in Hungary by the men in the driving seats
Only a second between the top ten runners in a very competitive opening day of the 2004 Hungarian Grand Prix. The drivers explain their progress at the Hungaroring.
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (1st, 1m 20.884s):
"A positive start to the weekend. We completed our pre-planned programme without any problems. As always we were busy evaluating tyres, and I believe we have a good picture of what we are going to do. The car handled well straight away which is always an advantage. However, it's early days and we need to see what happens tomorrow, but for sure it's better to be first on a Friday than 10th."
Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (2nd, 1m 21.009s):
It was a good Friday session and I am happy with the work we achieved and how things are going in general. I feel quite confident for the rest of the weekend. I experienced no problems with the car. Some of our competitors look quick, but as usual on a Friday it is hard to assess their performance without knowing exactly what programme they were running.
Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams (3rd, 1m 21.185s):
We have made good use of todays practice and my lap time was okay by the end of the session. But theres still quite a lot of work ahead of us, because we know theres more in the car. The track was very dirty at the beginning of Free Practice and there was no grip at all, but conditions improved throughout the session and they were acceptable towards the end. However the balance of the FW26 wasnt ideal under cornering and on the bumpy sections. We need now to address this and get the car in good shape for tomorrow.
David Coulthard, McLaren (4th, 1m 21.203s):
"An encouraging start, but obviously we have to wait and see how the weekend develops. However, we had a good chance to evaluate the set up and tyres, so a good day's work. The past has shown that it's very difficult to overtake at this circuit, so a strong starting position is important, and I think we are going in the right direction."
Olivier Panis, Toyota (5th, 1m 21.352s):
"The weekend has started off in a very positive way. We had two productive sessions without any problems. I am working with a new team on my car from this weekend, but the fact that I know all the guys has been a big help. Now we need to concentrate on tomorrow in order to try to keep our current pace."
Takuma Sato, BAR (6th, 1m 21.364s):
"I'm happy with our performance today and I think this is a good indication of how strong we will be this weekend. I haven't driven the new circuit before as the track was changed for last year when I wasn't racing, so I had some acclimatisation to do this morning. The car is very strong though and I think we should be on similar pace as we were in Germany three weeks ago. I have come back from the three week break feeling physically and mentally relaxed and I'm really looking forward to the weekend."
Antonio Pizzonia, Williams (7th, 1m 21.574s):
Today it has been a learning day for me, as it was my first time on this track in a F1 car and I basically spent my time learning the circuit. I am quite happy the way we went through our programme and the results show that it was a productive session. We have collected good data and tyre choice seems pretty clear to us, at the moment, even if we know the track is going to improve a lot. I am fairly pleased with my day but still I know theres more to come from me. We will work hard with the engineers this afternoon and then Ill go back to the hotel tonight and sleep on it and consider where I can still improve. I am sure tomorrow Ill be even better prepared.
Jenson Button, BAR (8th, 1m 21.685s):
"I'm really pleased to be back on track after the three week break. I'm focusing purely on the Hungarian Grand Prix, which promises to be a very exciting race for us, not least because the weather is throwing up some surprises. As is always the case here, the track conditions were very dusty this morning and Anthony did most of the running in the second session. This afternoon gave us a better opportunity to evaluate the tyres and start to work on set-up. The car is looking strong though and we now have to continue working towards our objective of a podium here this weekend."
Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (9th, 1m 21.712s):
I had a bit of an odd day, because I was running very well on worn tyres and the car felt good. However, on new tyres I encountered traffic and I flat spotted a front tyre which meant I was not really able to push for a quick time on new tyres. So it is difficult to know where I stand, even though I am happy with the car and think it is looking good for the rest of the weekend.
Fernando Alonso, Renault (10th, 1m 21.948s):
"Track conditions today were very poor, and it was therefore difficult to learn very much for the rest of the weekend: I certainly think we will have a more interesting programme tomorrow. But having said that, on a Friday, your aim is always to be confident in the tyres you will choose, and after these two sessions, we are. The car was very under-steery today, particularly because the front tyres were graining, but that is normal here in Hungary on a Friday. We will be able to sort this out in the next sessions."
Mark Webber, Jaguar (11th, 1m 21.999s):
Apart from a minor issue this morning with my heat shields, I have had a really good day. The car is feeling very well balanced around here and I am enjoying driving the car. I spent most of today working on tyres, and I am really pleased with the amount of laps that I completed and amount of data that was have gathered. Michelin have done a good job in preparing for this race and we are pleased with how the tyres are working with the R5. I am already looking forward to tomorrow.
Anthony Davidson, BAR (12th, 1m 22.356s):
"I had a very good morning session and was pleased to be up there with the Ferraris. The track started to clean up this afternoon and we could have improved a lot, but I struck the inside kerb at turn five a bit too hard and had to come in, which lost me track time and the chance of a better lap. It was nice to come to a circuit where I have raced before but unfortunately we couldn't do a quick lap on new tyres. I'm happy with the tyre choice for
Jenson and Taku and believe we should have a good chance of a strong result this weekend."
Bjorn Wirdheim, Jaguar (13th, 1m 22.559s):
I like this track and I feel very comfortable here. I had two really productive sessions today which have allowed me to complete 46-laps. I was spending my time focusing on tyre preparation and some engine endurance work. This worked really well and we have some good data to look at. I am pleased with my lap times here and hope that the team can continue with their point-scoring this weekend. The car is certainly performing well and is looking good on track.
Nick Heidfeld, Jordan (14th, 1m 22.651s):
It was a good day for us because we didnt have any technical problems and that allowed us to do a lot of laps. It was also very productive for us in terms of trying various things on the car. Plus, in terms of our positions on the timing charts its a better Friday for us.
Timo Glock, Jordan (15th, 1m 22.697s):
First practice was quite good for me, and I learnt the track fairly quickly. I did some tyre comparisons and it was interesting to see the difference between the two sessions as the feel was completely different in the afternoon, which makes it a little bit difficult to choose the right tyre. We will have to look at the information and discuss with the other drivers feedback. The last run was good for me although I lost time at the first corner braking zone, other than that the lap time was okay and I was satisfied that we all did a good job.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Sauber (16th, 1m 22.743s):
"Generally we lacked grip today. It was windy at times and the conditions were from lap to lap inconsistent, and understeer was our problem. That's why I went off in Turn Four, I ran wide and then got on to the gravel. Luckily the car wasn't damaged. On long runs we weren't so bad, but we have some set-up work to do."
Jarno Trulli, Renault (17th, 1m 22.788s):
"The car balance changed a lot between the two types of tyre that I ran today, and so it was hard to make much progress on the set-up side. The car was quite inconsistent this morning and then the scenario changed completely for the afternoon, which explains my position in the times. Whatever our performance today may suggest, though, I think we can be competitive this weekend. Let's see what happens tomorrow."
Ricardo Zonta, Toyota (18th, 1m 22.808s):
"It was a quite comprehensive day for me with many things to do. On my final run with new tyres, I unfortunately made a mistake in the last corner so that my best lap time of the day was actually done on old tyres. Generally, I felt very comfortable driving one of the race cars in practice for the first time. Essentially, the job of all three drivers is the same on a Friday, carrying out long runs and comparing Michelin tyres. The only difference is that as race driver, I now have two more sessions to improve the set-up, so I am looking forward to tomorrow."
Giorgio Pantano, Jordan (19th, 1m 22.937s):
This afternoon we found our tyre comparison work a little bit strange given the changing grip conditions. We need to understand why this was so we can decide the limits of our car and tyre package at this track and which way to go for the race.
Christian Klien, Jaguar (20th, 1m 23.003s):
I dont know this track so well but I am doing my best to get up to speed as quickly as possible. In my first session I made a minor mistake going into corner nine and ended up in the gravel, not ideal, but there was no damage to the car. My second session was pretty good although I did lock heavily at one stage and this cost me some time. I am generally pleased though with my two sessions as I completed my programme and the car is feeling good, the balance in particular is working well for me. I am now focusing on tomorrow as I need to spend some more time on track ahead of qualifying.
Ryan Briscoe, Toyota (21st, 1m 23.170s):
"Today was my first experience of being a part of the race team and I really enjoyed it. I am happy with the general result and with the work that we have achieved. It was quite difficult to reacquaint myself with the track in the first session, as the grip level was very low, so I just took it easy and was gradually getting more and more confident. Unfortunately we had a water leak at the end of my second long run, which meant that I had to finish early this afternoon. That was a little frustrating because I had not run on new tyres during the session and I was looking forward to putting in a competitive time. Although I was driving the standard TF104 chassis today, I had the B-spec aero package, which is a definite improvement to the whole package."
Felipe Massa, Sauber (22nd, 1m 23.188s):
"It was not an easy day! The car was pretty loose both this morning and this afternoon, and I had a lot of understeer. That caught me out in Turn Four this afternoon, just like Giancarlo, but it's just the first day, and the track is still very green."
Bas Leinders, Minardi (23rd, 1m 25.339s):
"For me, today showed that I can improve every time I am able to go out in a Formula One car, and that is reflected in my lap times. I pushed very hard straightaway on my early runs this morning, despite the track being dirty. Working with my engineer, we were successful in dialling out a heavy oversteer during the first session, and then we concentrated mostly on tyre comparisons during the second session. I'm sure I could have achieved my best time of the day on my last run, but I allowed myself to get a little too close to Mark Webber, and was slowed up as a result. I could have been in the 1 minute 24 second-bracket if not for that. I must thank the team, who worked even harder than usual today, as we covered a lot of laps and made many changes. It has been an excellent day and we have got through a good deal of useful work."
Zsolt Baumgartner, Minardi (24th, 1m 25.450s):
"I'm satisfied even if we still have to find the perfect chassis set-up for tomorrow. Bas did a very good job today. He has tested new parts, which proved to be successful. It is very important that tomorrow we find the correct set-up for both the qualifying session and the race. I hope to be able to get close to the Jordans, as to reduce the gap to them is something I really like! If we are able to get ahead of them here in Hungary, that would be fantastic. I was really excited to be able to drive in front of so many Hungarian fans here today, all supporting me at my home race. I hope to be able to do a really good job for them over the next few days."
Gianmaria Bruni, Minardi (25th, 1m 26.365s):
"It was okay at the beginning, but then we changed the car for the second session compared with how we started the morning. Unfortunately, I made a mistake at turn 11 on my first run of the afternoon and the car became stuck in the gravel, so that was the day finished. It's really a pity, but we will aim to improve tomorrow."