Friday practice - selected driver quotes 14 Oct 2005
Renault and McLaren go head to head for the constructors title this weekend and, fittingly, Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso were the quickest of the race drivers on Friday, with Ferraris Rubens Barrichello and unexpectedly strong sixth. All the drivers give their verdict. Note - positions and times refer to session two.
Pedro de la Rosa, third driver, McLaren (1st, 1m 32.834s):
A positive day where we completed our planned programme. We have a clear idea of which Michelin tyre to choose. I like this circuit despite only getting to know it today, and I felt at home already during the installation lap. The team have done a good job and as throughout the whole year they have supported me in a very efficient manner. On the occasion of my last Friday practice of the year I want to thank everybody in the team and in particular the guys who have been working on the third car.
Ricardo Zonta, third driver, Toyota (2nd, +0.143s):
"Overall I'm pretty happy with how today went. We were pretty competitive in terms of pace so I hope the rest of the weekend goes well for the race drivers. This morning the track was very similar to how it was last year - very dusty - but it improved as the track started to rubber in. That brings me to the end of my season of work on Fridays. They have been busy sessions but I've enjoyed driving the TF105 so it's been a fun year."
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (3rd, +1.258s):
A good start to the weekend and lets hope it continues this way. Everything has been working well, and the car feels really strong. I cant wait for tomorrow and Sunday where hopefully we will be able to achieve our goal of winning the 2005 Constructors World Championship.
Fernando Alonso, Renault (4th, +1.392s):
The car was quite hard to drive today, but I think that is normal on the first day at this circuit, when track conditions are so dirty. It was also very windy out there, which had an impact on the car balance in the high speed corners. But we managed to test all the tyres, did some good laps and completed our long runs: the two types of tyre are quite close in performance, so we will have to work on the choice tonight. I think the circuit conditions will improve tomorrow, and as the grip levels increase then the car balance will improve to, but we have two more practice sessions to get things right in terms of performance.
Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (5th, +1.707s):
My car had a bit of understeer but apart from that everything worked well, and our package seems to cope well with the special challenges of the Shanghai circuit. We will continue our planned programme in tomorrows two practice sessions and as always with Pedros input and feedback regarding tyres we should be in a strong position.
Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (6th, +1.784s):
This was quite a good day with plenty of good laps completed on both types of tyre. I am reasonably happy with my set-up, so now we must wait and see how competitive we really are compared to the others. But I feel I can approach the rest of the weekend with optimism after a solid days work today.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (7th, +2.098s):
I was struggling a little bit today. The track conditions were not perfect, and I couldn't get a good balance on the car: it was oversteering at some points, then understeering when I put the power on. The tyre decision will not be easy, because they are both close, but we have a lot of data to study tonight before making our decision. Although the balance was not right, I still think the performance looks OK, and I hope we can be competitive for the race.
Mark Webber, Williams (8th, +2.201s):
We got through all of our programme today, We have been communicating well with Michelin to work out what we are going to do with the tyres and we have collected a lot of information to get through tonight in order to make sure that we make the right decision. We did a lot of laps today, because we have a new engine here which has to last only for this weekend, therefore we had a bit more mileage available. So far so good for the weekend, we have to do the same job tomorrow.
Jenson Button, BAR (9th, +2.238s):
"We've completed all our planned running for today and achieved a lot of laps, so we've made a good start in that respect. We suffered from low grip this morning but the grip level improved in the afternoon. Overall the car feels better to drive than in the last two races. We have a lot of data from both cars to look at so, as usual, it's a busy night ahead with the engineers to make sure we keep moving in the right direction."
Felipe Massa, Sauber (10th, +2.362s):
"On the long runs the car was getting better each lap as the fuel weight went down and the grip improved. The handling was consistent, which bodes well for the race. On new tyres the balance was not so good; I got understeer in the slow corners and oversteer in the high-speed ones, so we need to hone the set-up further for qualifying."
David Coulthard, Red Bull (11th, +2.367s):
Its a pretty unique track here; modern tracks always seem to offer something a bit different. Everyone really enjoyed the new track in Turkey, I think they perhaps enjoy this one less, but not because any particular features are lacking here. Turn one into Turn two is pretty awkward, as it tightens and tightens, which means the car gets slower and slower - its not really a case of what the driver can do in that corner, but more down to the grip of each car. I lost rear grip on the bumps in the middle of Turn one during the second session, which led to a spin. Its sometimes hard to find good balance in the car on worn tyres, so when you go through a bumpy corner, the back of the car moves around. Its just one of the challenges of this track.
Vitantonio Liuzzi, third driver, Red Bull (12th, +2.472s):
Today is the first time Ive driven on this circuit and I was pretty happy about both sessions. Its not so easy to learn the track here, as there are some tricky corners and long, long bends. Its quite difficult to find the racing line, as there are so many! But, in both sessions we were quick and I feel quite confident. The car seems pretty good and well balanced and I think the team should have a good weekend.
Takuma Sato, BAR (13th, +2.563s):
"It was a good start to the practice session and this has given us a good initial direction. The balance at the beginning of the day was good and we acquired all the important information that we need to make our tyre decision for tomorrow. I'm looking forward to continuing this good progress throughout the rest of the weekend."
Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (14th, +2.733s):
Obviously with these last few races all coming in quick succession, there was no reason to expect a big change in our performance level. But I have to say that, after today, I think we look in slightly better shape than we did at the last race. Maybe we are at a similar level to the one we had in Brazil. We got through our work in a methodical fashion today and the time differences between the two sessions is mainly down to the difference in using new or used tyres.
Christian Klien, Red Bull (15th, +2.779s):
At the end of the second practice, we had a puncture on the long straight. Well have to look at the data to see exactly what caused it. Apart from that, the car felt much better in the afternoon; it had been tricky to drive in the morning and I wasnt so quick, but I think we were around P10 in the afternoon. We still have to work on the balance, but things got better as the day went on.
Antonio Pizzonia, Williams (16th, +2.875s):
We had a problem with the rear suspension in the second session, which is obviously disappointing because I lost a lot of important track time, especially because I am learning the circuit. We have to look into it and see what caused it. Apart from that, its been a good day, learning the layout of the track. I am sure theres a lot more to come from me.
Jacques Villeneuve, Sauber (17th, +3.060s):
"I had to back off on one lap near the end because of yellow flags, but that happened while we were on a long run so it wasn't really a problem and I did my best lap on the next one, which was my last. The grip was getting better all day, having been very low to begin with this morning. We still have some set-up work to do, but it was okay."
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (18th, +3.217s):
"It's nice to be back here in China. I like the circuit but just like last year it was very dirty to start with until the rubber started to go down. I had some understeer so we still have quite a lot of work to do on our set-up for tomorrow. But our target is to push for a good slot in qualifying, then hopefully to have another decent race and to score points."
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (19th, +3.245s):
"This is my first time here at Shanghai and I've been impressed both by the city and by the facilities here. Of course that means I had to learn the circuit today but I was able to put in a lot of laps before my late stop with a suspected clutch problem this afternoon. I'm not entirely happy with the balance so we will have to look closely at that overnight."
Nicolas Kiesa, third driver, Jordan (20th, +3.810s):
This morning the circuit was very green and dusty and we were lacking grip. It is quite hard to determine with which tyre to go for because no matter what we were doing, the car was not behaving as normal. But at the end of the first session, the circuit started to get grip back and we were able to do the last run and set better lap times. We went into the second session without being really sure how to start but we made some set-up changes for the first lap which turned out to be very good and we did not change the car for the rest of the session.
Robert Doornbos, Minardi (21st, +4.159s):
"It's great to be back in Shanghai, having made my F1 debut here last year as a test driver. It's a great circuit and a wonderful facility, so well done to the Chinese for what they've accomplished. We struggled a little with set-up this morning and were therefore off the pace compared with the others. This afternoon, however, we made progress, and working with my engineer, Riccardo Adami, we were able to go in the right direction. There's definitely more time to come, and we're pushing hard."
Christijan Albers, Minardi (22nd, +4.339s):
"We had a reasonable opening day. The problem to start with was that I didn't really know the track, but now, with 30 laps completed, I feel much more confident with it. We still need to find a good set-up and improve the car further, but it's only Friday. We'll see what we can do tomorrow."
Tiago Monteiro, Jordan (23rd, +4.601s):
It was a difficult first day for me as I experienced a few technical issues in both sessions. I had to learn the track as I have never been here and spent some time on that. We also tried to get a good car balance but unfortunately I did not do as many laps as we wanted to as I had problems. We have to find out what happened and keep on working on the set-up of the car tomorrow.
Narain Karthikeyan, Jordan (24th, +4.633s):
I had a good day here at Shanghai. The tyre choice for the rest of the weekend will be critical because the long corners are hard on the front tyres and we have to look after them as much as possible in order not to grain them. We will have to choose carefully between the soft tyres and the hard ones. We will go through the data this afternoon and tonight but I am sure it will take us some time as the two compounds that Bridgestone have brought are very close. This is not an easy circuit to learn as it is pretty hard to get the line straight and it is very important to have good brakes because of the long straights.