Friday practice - selected driver quotes 18 Mar 2005
Some big differences between team mates as they work on different programmes to extract maximum benefit from minimal running. All 24 drivers explain their day-one progress at Sepang. Note: positions and times refer to practice two.
Felipe Massa, Sauber (1st, 1m 35.608s):
"At the moment we are not 100% sure where we are, and this was just a Friday, but it's encouraging. We still have a lot more work to do to improve the car and consistency on long runs, but right from the first time I drove the C24 I knew we had a car that can fight for points. I lost probably four-tenths of a second on my quick lap because I had David Coulthard ahead for two corners, then when I overtook him I locked my brakes and lost some time in the next corner. So, overall, I'm happy with the way things are going and the start we've made to the weekend."
Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (2nd, 1m 35.620s):
"We have been working on the balance of the car trying different things to see what works for me, and we are going in the right direction. It was quite slippery out there due to the heat, but I didn't experience any problems. We definitely have the pace and now we need to make it work when it matters, which is on Sunday. As always in Malaysia it's very hot in the car, but we are prepared for this."
Ricardo Zonta, Toyota (3rd, 1m 35.677s):
"I enjoy driving at this track, but it is very demanding, both for the driver and for the car. We did a good job on the long runs today and were able to carry out a useful comparison between the two tyre compounds to assess their performance and consistency. I put a new set of tyres at the end of the second session, but a yellow flag in the final sector meant I had to back off. It was a bit of a shame because I could have easily repeated my time from the morning session."
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (4th, 1m 35.719s):
"My car felt good and our Michelin tyres seem to be working and wearing well. I didn't do as many laps as planned in the second session as I was a little too optimistic going into turn eight, spun into the gravel trap and was unable to continue. However we managed to get the car back to the garage and the guys did a great job to make sure that at least I got a run at the end."
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (5th, 1m 35.838s):
"I think we had a reasonable first day here in Malaysia. We went through all that we needed to and we were able to make our tyre choice. I am quite happy with the car balance, although there are still some areas on which we still need to work and improve. Generally, I think we are looking quite competitive this weekend."
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (6th, 1m 35.841s):
"The car was quick on the first lap, but then began over-steering too much, which made it hard to set consistent times on the runs. Both tyre types seemed quite similar in performance, and we will have to analyse our data carefully this evening in order to make the right selection. There is still work to do tomorrow morning to find the best set-up for the race, but I think that our basic level of performance is good."
Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (7th, 1m 35.949s):
I made a mistake on my first run out of the pits this afternoon and spun the car. I was lucky that they were able to get the car back to the garage, so I was able to go out again and do three more laps. Michael did a lot of running, so we will have plenty of data to work with. Even with just those three laps, I could tell that the car feels very competitive.
Jenson Button, BAR (8th, 1m 35.992s):
"The first day of running here is always a bit of a body shock with the temperature inside the cockpit reaching well over 50°C. All in all I think we've made a good start to the weekend. We've had quite a productive day, completing all of the testing that we planned to and focusing on tyre comparisons and aerodynamic adjustments. We've gathered a lot of data which we'll look over this evening and I think we should expect another positive day tomorrow."
Fernando Alonso, Renault (9th, 1m 36.103s):
"Running on Friday is only ever about one thing, and that's choosing the correct race tyre. Both tyre types had good performance and consistency, so the choice will not be easy. The car handling was quite nervous, but the level of grip on the circuit was also pretty low today."
David Coulthard, Red Bull (10th, 1m 36.575s):
It was a tricky session trying to find clear laps. Obviously it is the nature of this track that it is very demanding on the balance of the car, which means finding stability and consistency is the key here. We have more practice time tomorrow so we will see what that brings us.
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (11th, 1m 36.841s):
"In this morning's session, I only completed a few laps in order to conserve my engine based on the fact that I did a lot of mileage in Melbourne. In the second session, I had some electronic problems, which limited running. When I was out on track, I encountered traffic, so it is difficult for me to get a clear indication on performance. Looking at the times set by Ralf and Ricardo, I am in a positive frame of mind for the rest of the weekend."
Christian Klien, Red Bull (12th, 1m 36.968s):
To start with today there was no grip on the circuit and it was really slippery, but that did improve throughout the day. We tried a few different set-ups because the track was changing all the time. We did some long runs which gave us some useful information and it was a shame that we had to stop because of the electronic problem. I am quite happy with the lap times today and we will get some more time tomorrow to try things out.
Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (13th, 1m 37.033s):
"The majority of my work today has been to evaluate the Michelin tyres and we completed our programme as planned. We gained a lot of useful data for working out the right choice for tomorrow. I think we have a competitive package as a result of a good co-operation with Michelin at a track which is especially demanding for the tyres."
Takuma Sato, BAR (14th, 1m 37.044s):
"It was good to get as many laps in as we planned today without any car issues. I had to back off a bit on my quick laps because of the yellow flags but generally the car balance was good and we have some valuable data for the tyres. It was really hot inside the cockpit so it is going to be a tough race on Sunday, but we are looking good so far."
Nick Heidfeld, Williams (15th, 1m 37/067s):
It was a problem free Friday session for me and I managed to do everything we had planned. Several yellow flags and some traffic hampered the second session, but it was the same for everyone, after all. Looking at the final times of today, I am sure we are a lot quicker than it shows.
Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (16th, 1m 37.270s):
I am pleased with the amount of work we got through today, which has provided us with plenty of data to analyse overnight. I think we look competitive compared with our main rivals and my times in the second session do not mean much, as I was running on old tyres. My times in first practice and Rubens performance this afternoon are a better indication of our true level. The car and engine worked well all day. A lot of us spun this afternoon and I think it is due to two factors: the very high temperatures are affecting tyre grip and, at some points on the track, the wind is quite strong, which adds to the difficulty of keeping the car on track.
Robert Doornbos, Jordan (17th, 1m 37.878s):
"I love this great circuit, which I have practised a lot on the Playstation. The morning session went very well; I had to do a lot of work for the team, especially in these conditions where it is very important to make the right choice of tyres."
Jacques Villeneuve, Sauber (18th, 1m 38.121s):
"I spent a lot of time checking out the set-up, and we made some progress. On the long runs we need to do more work for the race and we need to find some more speed."
Narain Karthikeyan, Jordan (19th, 1m 38.855s):
"Sepang International Circuit is quite difficult to learn because it is very flowing and dusty and for a rookie it is quite tricky to find the correct line, but I have to go with what I have and try to improve my times tomorrow."
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Red Bull (20th, 1m 39.349s):
Overall it was a good day for us. During the first session we showed that we can be pretty quick but unfortunately in the second I had a suspension failure, which caused me to spin in the corner before the last, and I had to stop. But overall the car seems quite good and I think we are in good shape again for the race. David and Christian have some more time in the car in the morning and I think we have enough information to choose the tyres and get a good set-up for tomorrow.
Tiago Monteiro, Jordan (21st, 1m 39.755s):
"It was an interesting day. I had to learn the track as quickly as possible and get a feel for it with such high temperatures. We know now which Bridgestone tyres we will use for the rest of the weekend and we will adapt our strategy according to our choice."
Patrick Friesacher, Minardi (22nd, 1m 40.940s):
"I'm happy with the job we did today because we improved the car quite a lot and discovered some interesting information about the diffuser. I'm also feeling more comfortable in the car than I did in Australia, but we still have some work to do on overall car balance. I'm looking forward to tomorrow and making a further step forward. As usual, the mechanics did a really good job and the car ran reliably throughout both sessions."
Christijan Albers, Minardi (23rd, 1m 41.156s):
"It was a good day overall, and I think we made some progress. Patrick and I were both trying different aerodynamic parts and chassis set-ups. It's a shame that the level of traffic meant I wasn't able to get as much as I would have liked out of the new tyres, but the most important thing to focus on now is qualifying tomorrow, and we'll see what we can do then."
Mark Webber, Williams (24th, no time):
Not an ideal day for me, but these things can happen. We had a gear shifting problem, which cost us the running in the second, most important session. Anyway, at least it looks like Nick collected some good information, which was the main objective, so now we can do our homework and be ready for tomorrow.