Friday practice - selected driver quotes 01 Apr 2005
Successful Bahrain debuts for McLarens Alexander Wurz, Red Bulls Vitantonio Liuzzi and for the Ferrari F2005, though Renaults Fernando Alonso was still the fastest race driver of the day. The drivers sum up their Friday progress at the Sakhir circuit. Note: positions and times refer to practice two.
Alexander Wurz, McLaren (1st, 1m 30.695s):
"Today was my first time driving the MP4-20 and although this was not in the usual testing circumstances it was nevertheless a great experience, and the car felt really good. My role today has been primarily to gather the data during my 33 laps over the course of the two sessions, so that we can select which Michelin tyres will be used over the rest of the weekend. Although I do not have the experience in the car and my first session was interrupted early on due to a minor software glitch I still feel I will be able to contribute valuable input from today's running."
Fernando Alonso, Renault (2nd, +1.274s):
I have no worries after the opening day: the car balance was pretty good, and we seemed quite quick. However, we must be cautious with our choices here: we have only raced at this track once, and the conditions on Friday are very different to those we will meet in the Grand Prix. The circuit today was still quite low grip, but it should improve through the rest of the weekend.
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Red Bull (3rd, +1.624s):
We finally finished a complete session as we did a lot of laps, which is good for the team. This morning I had to learn the circuit as it is my first time in Bahrain. The track was quite sandy and dirty which made it a bit difficult. Then later this afternoon we had new tyres but I could not go too quickly as there was a lot of traffic. But after that we improved a lot and the lap times improved.
Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (4th, +1.638s):
"Today was problem free for me and I am happy with the set-up of the car. The times today are not always a true reflection of the situation, however I feel we can be competitive as we clearly have the pace, and I am looking forward to seeing how the rest of the weekend evolves."
Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (5th, +1.736s):
It was really nice to be driving the new car for the first time at a race meeting. It felt very good. We ran through our entire planned programme and everything went very smoothly. Although we obviously did not get as much data as we had hoped for, because of Rubens problem, I did enough laps to have a good idea in which direction to work, in terms of tyre choice and car set-up. It was a trouble-free day and so a pleasing debut for the new car and an encouraging start to the weekend.
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (6th, +1.900s):
"It was quite a typical Friday trying different set-ups on the car and comparing the two Michelin compounds for the weekend. We still have some work to do this afternoon and in tomorrow's sessions because I am not extremely happy with the balance of the car. I had a lot of oversteer in the car today, so we have to keep working to cure that. It is honestly too early to make any concrete predictions for this Bahrain GP."
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (7th, +2.013s):
My day went quite well: there is still work to do on the balance, because the car had some oversteer during the sessions today, but the other aspects of the handling seem to be working well. It was hot out there on track, but now we have come through Malaysia, I dont think the conditions will be a problem for the drivers in the race.
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (8th, +2.293s):
"We completed our programme today as planned, and I am happy with the set up of the car, it is not quite perfect yet but this should be improved by tomorrow. It was very hot out there today with temperatures on track reaching 52 degrees Celsius which makes it rather challenging and the selection of the right Michelin tyres even more important to the whole weekend."
Jenson Button, BAR (9th, +2.342s):
"The track conditions were typically dirty so we didn't get much running this morning. This afternoon we worked through our usual programme and completed all of our test items focusing on tyre work and long run performance. We still have some work to do with the data but generally I'm pleased that we have made a generally good start to the weekend."
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (10th, +2.382s):
"It was a difficult day for everybody with little grip all around the circuit, as was evident from the number of people locking up and spinning throughout the day. We had no technical problems on my car so we could complete the programme, but we still have some work to do to find the right set-up and it will not be particularly easy to select the best tyre."
Nick Heidfeld, Williams (11th, +2.457s):
My morning session was compromised by a minor drive shaft boot problem.
However I wasnt happy with the balance of my car and we made some minor adjustments during the afternoon session, which improved it. The balance is still not ideal but we are going in the right direction. Also, as usual on a Friday its important to collect some good tyre information and I think that we achieved that.
Takuma Sato, BAR (12th, +2.510s):
"It is good to be back in the car again after I was forced to miss the Malaysian Grand Prix. However, it has not been the best start to the Bahrain weekend for us. We had a gearbox problem this morning so I missed most of the session. Once we could get started on our programme, I experienced a rear stability problem because of the low grip and spun, then the engine cut out during the anti-stall. Despite our problems we did complete two tyre comparisons so we can carry that progress through to tomorrow."
Christian Klien, Red Bull (13th, +2.741s):
The session was pretty o.k. The car seems well suited to the track. We did a tyre comparison between soft and hard compounds today and it is quite clear what to take. I think the session was successful but it was very difficult to drive off line. We finished our full programme, so I think it was a good day overall. But for tomorrow we are a little bit further behind than in the first two races so we have to start from there and see what we can do to get better.
Ricardo Zonta, Toyota (14th, +2.748s):
"I think we had a good opening practice session this morning, in which we were able to complete everything on our task list, including set-up and balance changes to the car. The all-important second practice proved to be somewhat troublesome after a gearbox problem kept me in the garage for most of the session. We therefore could not compare the Michelin tyres as planned, so we effectively lost our third car advantage today."
Mark Webber, Williams (15th, +2.868s):
Unlike last year on Friday, the track was quite quick today and we completed our working programme. Still, we have to find more pace since we are not as strong as we think we can be. We also need to pick the right tyre, which well do later on together with our Michelin engineers.
David Coulthard, Red Bull (16th, +3.013s):
I had a trouble free day with no problems on the car while working to finding the set up and making the tyre choice, which seams pretty clear cut. As usual lap times on Friday do not mean very much but I think we still have some work to up our pace.
Felipe Massa, Sauber (17th, +3.031s):
"We worked purely on setting the car up today, and considering our strategy in relation to others', I am encouraged. We are closer than it looks from the lap times, and much stronger than we were in Sepang."
Narain Karthikeyan, Jordan (18th, +3.286s):
I really like the circuit here in Bahrain as it suits my style of driving. We have tried some different new parts in the car; they were small changes but they have already made a significant difference. I have been pretty quick so I am happy with my performance today.
Robert Doornbos, Jordan (19th, +3.527s):
Today was a good day. I have really enjoyed driving on this challenging circuit. The whole team seems to be working very well here and we are definitely more competitive than in Malaysia. Bridgestone has found a good tyre for the weekend, so everything looks positive at the moment. It is a pity I cannot drive tomorrow.
Jacques Villeneuve, Sauber (20th, +3.605s):
"The car feels much better than it did in Malaysia and I did a lot more laps with it working properly than I was able to there. I know that we can work further on it to keep improving throughout the weekend."
Tiago Monteiro, Jordan (21st, +4.032s):
It is very interesting to go to new tracks as you always have so much to learn and try in a limited amount of time. I am happy with the changes we have made today and the information we have been able to gather for the rest of the weekend. Bridgestone is doing a very good job here and I am pretty confident for tomorrow.
Patrick Friesacher, Minardi (22nd, +4.630s):
"We made some worthwhile improvements to the car during the day, and I'm now feeling comfortable with the chassis set-up. I'm sure there is still a margin for improvement, though, and if all were to go well tomorrow, I think it could be possible to get into the 1 minute 34-second bracket."
Christijan Albers, Minardi (23rd, +5.399s):
"I think we have the car working quite well at the moment, although we need to make some small adjustments for Saturday's single, flying-lap runs. We'll do that overnight, and then continue with our programme tomorrow. Overall, it has been a positive first day."
Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (24th, no time):
At the end of the first session, I had a gearbox problem, which meant I could not run in the afternoon. Its a shame, because the two timed laps I did showed that the car was well balanced. Now, we will have to study Michaels data from the second hour. From what I could see, bringing along the F2005 means we have made a step forward.