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Friday practice - selected driver quotes 07 Oct 2005

Pedro de la Rosa (ESP) McLaren Mercedes third driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Japanese Grand Prix, Preparations, Suzuka, Japan, 6 October 2005 David Coulthard (GBR) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Japanese Grand Prix, Practice, Suzuka, Japan, 7 October 2005 Sakon Yamamoto (JPN) Jordan Third Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Japanese Grand Prix, Practice, Suzuka, Japan, 7 October 2005 Mark Webber (AUS) Williams BMW FW27.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Japanese Grand Prix, Practice, Suzuka, Japan, 7 October 2005 David Coulthard (GBR) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Japanese Grand Prix, Practice, Suzuka, Japan, 7 October 2005

Pedro de la Rosa assumed his familiar Friday role at Suzuka, setting the pace for McLaren. However, Ricardo Zonta put Toyota just a tenth of a second behind. And Sakon Yamamoto had an encouraging first outing in front of his home crowd for Jordan.

Note - drivers ranked by their best time from the two sessions.

Pedro de la Rosa, third driver, McLaren (1st, 1m 30.532s):
"Despite the change in conditions especially in the second session we had a productive day. We still can improve the balance particularly for dry conditions. In general I'm happy with what we achieved. I really love this circuit and know it very well from my three years here in Japan. It's a challenging track for the drivers and is all about having the right rhythm to achieve a good lap time."

Ricardo Zonta, third driver, Toyota (2nd, 1m 30.682s):
"The last time I drove here at Suzuka was back in 2000 so I'm glad to have gone so well on such a difficult, technical circuit. I took a risk with my set-up this morning and that gave me too much oversteer on the dirty track. Then we felt a good improvement before we had an electronic problem. In the afternoon there was the threat of rain so we had to work fast. I was driving the TF105 but the tyre comparison can still transfer to the B car so that is no problem."

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (3rd, 1m 31.716s):
“Driving at Suzuka is always good fun, however, I find it difficult to judge how we went today. We will have to study the data in depth. We definitely did better in the second session but the time difference is down to the fact that we were probably the only ones to run on new tyres before the rain came in the afternoon. But the times do not reflect our true position and there is no reason to think we can be stronger than in Brazil. The unpredictable weather could help our cause.”

Jenson Button, BAR (4th, 1m 32.043s):
"We completed our usual Friday run plan but we structured the two sessions slightly differently because we knew that the rain would hit in the afternoon and compromise our second session progress. So we did a lot of laps in the morning to get ahead of ourselves, which worked out well. A quick downpour at the end of the session gave us an early opportunity to try the wet tyres, which is just as well because I think we'll be needing those tomorrow! It's been a good first day and the support from our fans here is fantastic as ever. I hope we can continue to get stronger during the rest of the weekend and deliver a great result in front of our home crowd. We certainly have a lot of data to work through as a result of some good running time today."

David Coulthard, Red Bull (5th, 1m 32.229s):
“Considering we ran a normal Friday programme today, our performance this morning seemed to be pretty good. Fourth fastest is not too bad at all. Of course, we still have to do Saturday and Sunday to complete the cycle, but we certainly seem to be more competitive here than we have been at other circuits this year.”

Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (6th, 1m 32.267s):
“At first, with new tyres, the balance was not so good on the first lap. Then, I found quite a good balance towards the end of the day when my car was running on tyres that had already done a few laps. So, I am reasonably confident as regards the rest of the weekend, as what counts is how the car was at the end.”

Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (7th, 1m 32.321s):
"The track is OK and I always really like it. We had some minor balance issues in the first session but despite this the car was good. In the second session I seemed to run into traffic or somebody broke down in front of me so quite limited value really. We will see what the weather is like for the rest of the weekend where obviously we want to get a good result as the Constructors' Championship is important for everybody in the team."

Fernando Alonso, Renault (8th, 1m 32.370s):
“It is all OK from my point of view. We expected rain in the afternoon so ran a lot in the first session, which was quite difficult for the drivers. When you come to Suzuka, it is such a technical circuit that it takes some time to get the best out of yourself, and also out of the car. So doing tyre comparisons without any practice laps, or judging set-up changes, is not very easy. But I think we looked reasonably quick, and there is more potential in the car and myself to improve. The car balance felt pretty good, so I am quite happy.”

Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (9th, 1m 32.470s):
“It was a reasonable day for me. We did our normal job comparing the tyres, and a little bit of set-up work this morning, then things were harder this afternoon as the circuit grip seemed lower, and it started raining. The balance still has too much oversteer for me, but we can fix that, and I think our speed is not too bad. We should be aiming for the front rows in qualifying.”

Takuma Sato, BAR (10th, 1m 32.791s):
"We've had mixed weather today but we forecast that well and did a lot of work on the morning session in preparation for the rain. Today we focused more on long runs and tyre comparisons, and of course the rain gave us the opportunity to try out the wet tyre. It looks like it will be a wet practice tomorrow so the work we did today was very important for that. We have obtained lots of good data so we have plenty of work ahead of us but it's looking promising. It was fantastic to see so many fans on the first day of running and to feel such a great atmosphere."

Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (11th, 1m 32.849s):
"Obviously I'm a bit disappointed with the engine failure which stopped my first practice session prematurely. However we managed to get some running in the second practice, and there is still plenty of time left tomorrow morning. The balance is basically OK but a lot depends on what the weather will do for the rest of the weekend."

Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (12th, 1m 32.917s):
"This is a technically demanding circuit and I always enjoy running here, especially as a Toyota driver. The B car is a slight improvement on the TF105 that we have been running this year and the balance felt okay today so it should be good for Sunday. Another reason for bringing the TF105B to the last two races was to put in some work on the car as a preparation for next season. We have a long period ahead with no testing so this is very useful work."

Mark Webber, Williams (13th, 1m 33.098s):
“We had a good day. I think everyone was expecting the rain to come so did all our homework for Michelin before it started to rain. This was very important in preparation for the race, which we are expecting to be dry, since we don.t know what the weather is going to be like tomorrow. All in all we managed to find a pretty good balance. Towards the end of the first session I had a gearbox problem, but our mechanics did a good job fixing it in between the sessions, so that I lost only a little track time.”

Jarno Trulli, Toyota (14th, 1m 33.122s):
"This is a special race for the whole team and after such a great season we'd like to finish with another good result. I'm not yet happy with the balance of the B car but we have brought it here because it looks more consistent over long runs. The front end is likely to be used at the start of next season so this is a good chance to do some early trouble-shooting. It's still a young car so we need to find out how to get the best out of it."

Christian Klien, Red Bull (15th, 1m 33.139s):
“We thought it might rain this afternoon, so we did most of our running this morning, just to ensure we knew what the situation was regarding tyre choice and car set-up. Fortunately, it stayed dry for most of this afternoon, so we were able to have another look at the tyres. The car felt good to drive and we were quite competitive. However, as always on a Friday, it’s difficult to judge exactly where we are overall from the times. I’m looking forward to racing here; Suzuka is quite a tricky circuit, with lots of direction and elevation changes. That, together with the fact that it might rain this weekend, should make things pretty interesting.”

Felipe Massa, Sauber (16th, 1m 33.257s):
"This morning was okay and we were able to do some of our tyre comparison, but I had a lot of oversteer. We changed quite a few things in the set-up for this afternoon and in the limited dry running I did I could tell that the handling was better. After that the rain made things pretty academic."

Vitantonio Liuzzi, third driver, Red Bull (17th, 1m 33.441s):
“We were not so far from the overall pace this morning, which was pretty good, as this is one of the hardest circuits to learn on. There are lots of technical corners and how you leave one corner affects how you start the next. When you have four corners one after the other, it’s important that you know exactly where to put the tyres, while also finding a good rhythm and speed. The more you know about the circuit, the better you go here I think, but I was pretty happy with my performance today. The car had good balance and everything was positive. It’s a shame I hit traffic on the first lap as I could have been four or five tenths quicker there I think. In the second session, we had an electronic and hydraulic problem and had to stop. It was a shame, as I was set to complete a long run to evaluate the tyres. I think we should have enough information from the first session, but it definitely would have been good to get more kilometres on this circuit.”

Antonio Pizzonia, Williams (18th, 1m 33.528s):
“This was a new track for me and the first impression is pretty good. I like this track, as it is quite challenging and quite difficult too. I have heard from some drivers that they only felt they knew this track perfectly after three years, so I have plenty to learn. Anyway, today we went through the programme that we had planned and there.s a lot more to come from me and a little bit from the car, so we are looking forward to the rest of the weekend.”

Jacques Villeneuve, Sauber (19th, 1m 33.645s):
"The car was difficult to drive this morning, and I had a spin in the 130R corner. It's an easy corner and you don't even have to use the whole width of the road, but it all depends on the bumps. Sometimes they put the front wheels in the air, sometimes the rears. It depends what line you take and I was experimenting to try and avoid the bumps. It was a bit strange, what happened. I think in future I'll just go over the bumps and forget about trying to miss them.

"This afternoon we kept the same tyres because of the restrictions and they were vibrating a bit by then, but we had made the car better before the rain came."

Sakon Yamamoto, third driver, Jordan (20th, 1m 34.829s):
“I have really enjoyed driving a Formula One car round Suzuka, my home circuit. I am satisfied with my job today as I managed to go through the programme my engineers gave me. I have tried different types of Bridgestone tyres and I am sure the team will make the right choice. Unfortunately, the rain came in the afternoon session and it limited a bit my running. Nevertheless, I had a fantastic day and I would like to thank Jordan Grand Prix for this great experience.”

Robert Doornbos, Minardi (21st, 1m 35.150s):
"We didn't start the morning session as well as we might have, because the car was not quite how I wanted it - I had a clear idea in my mind of how I wanted it to be - but we did some homework over lunch. As a result, we started the second session on used tyres and the car felt good. We decided to fit new tyres to get a feel for how it would be tomorrow, and then I had a lot of fun driving a Formula One car with an effective set-up. There's still room for improvement, but we're definitely heading in the right direction."

Tiago Monteiro, Jordan (22nd, 1m 35.388s):
“It was a good first day. I did not know the track therefore I had to spend time learning the layout. Besides, it is one of the hardest as there are so many different corners and you need a lot of rhythm. We were struggling a bit with our tyre choice in the morning but then it got better in the afternoon and I did a good lap before it started raining. I wish it rained a bit more so that I could have driven in wet conditions. I will have two more sessions tomorrow to learn more about the track and improve the set-up of the car. As Narain knows the circuit quite well, I hope he will be able to help me on the set-up so that I can focus on getting used to the track.”

Christijan Albers, Minardi (23rd, 1m 37.153s):
"I'm really happy today. The first practice was good because I've never driven on this track before, and yet I surprised myself with my lap times and was pleased to get up to speed quickly. The second practice also went well, with the same sort of times, but then when we went out for a new tyre run, the rain started to fall It was a bit of a shame because we could have learned a little more about the tyre compounds in order to decide which one we should use for qualifying and the race. Now it's a little more difficult, but I think we still had a reasonable day."

Narain Karthikeyan, Jordan (24th, 1m 37.154s):
“I had a first good session this morning but then in the afternoon I lost of bit of time as we wanted to change some parts of the car and also because the rain started. It is a pity the track got wet as I could not try a new set of tyres, contrary to my team mates. I really like the circuit at Suzuka, it is one of my favourites in the calendar so hopefully I will be able to do well here.”