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Friday practice - selected driver quotes 22 Apr 2005

Pedro de la Rosa (ESP) McLaren Mercedes MP4/20 in the pits.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, San Marino Grand Prix, Practice, Imola, Italy, 22 April 2005 (L to R): Jean Todt (FRA) Ferrari Sporting Director with Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, San Marino Grand Prix, Practice, Imola, Italy, 22 April 2005 Narain Karthikeyan (IND) Jordan.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, San Marino Grand Prix, Practice, Imola, Italy, 22 April 2005 David Coulthard (GBR) Red Bull Racing RB1 in the pits.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, San Marino Grand Prix, Practice, Imola, Italy, 22 April 2005

An interesting afternoon at San Marino, with McLaren leading the way, but with BAR looking quietly confident. The drivers' verdicts:

Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (1st, 1m 20.484s):
"It has been a good day, we completed our entire programme and I think that we can still extract more from the car. We completed a large number of laps to collect as much data as possible; this should be a good baseline for our race preparation."

Jenson Button, BAR (2nd, +0.568s):
"Today has shown that we have reason to be confident for the weekend ahead. Obviously it's early in our preparation to be making any firm predictions for Sunday but this is where I would have expected to be in the timesheets after the progress we made in testing last week. We experienced the usual Friday conditions in the morning session with low grip causing a problem whilst the circuit was cleaning up. This afternoon we've been able to do more work with the tyres and set-up. We completed some reasonably good long runs but we still have some work to do to ensure we are able to get the most out of the new package in Qualifying tomorrow."

Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (3rd, +1.220s):
"Today has gone well, we completed our programme and I am happy with the set up of the car. Unfortunately I suffered from traffic today and was not able to get the best possible lap time, but everything looks good for the rest of the weekend. I am looking forward to see how we compare in qualifying tomorrow."

Ricardo Zonta, Toyota (4th, +1.405s):
"We managed to put in a lot of laps over the two sessions here. There was not much grip on the track early on in the morning session, but the conditions improved with every outing we had. I also felt an improvement over the kerbs compared to what I remember from here last year. We took the slightly wrong direction over set-up for the long runs in the afternoon, but it was good to learn from that mistake."

Fernando Alonso, Renault (5th, +1.415s):
“Today was primarily a tyre test: we got good results on clean runs, and now have the data we need to make our choice. On the set-up side, we are still lacking in grip but I think it will come from the circuit as it rubbers in more on the racing line. The R25 seems quite competitive at this track, and that gives me good confidence for the rest of the weekend.”

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (6th, +1.541s):
“We are looking competitive compared to the others, which is a good sign for the rest of the weekend. The car seems to be very strong in most areas and today went well. I am happy with the handling and I had a well balanced car right from the start of the first session, which meant we could get a lot of work done. It is important at this track to have a car with good brakes and one that rides well over the kerbs and the F2005 seems to do that. BAR’s performance was interesting, but we need to know if they were running at race pace or if they were on a light fuel load. I think we can be confident for qualifying and the race.”

Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (7th, +1.564s):
“I had a reasonable day, apart from a small problem with the car this morning. The set up is getting better, although I was not completely happy with it, but there is room for improvement tomorrow. I think qualifying times will be very close and it is shaping up to be a fun weekend!”

Alexander Wurz, McLaren (8th, +1.690s):
"I am basically satisfied with my practice today. We carried out good tyre evaluation, which is not so easy on this circuit. The set up should be OK. On my fast lap with new Michelin tyres I made minor mistakes otherwise I would have been quicker. However that doesn't worry me as I think that we are set for tomorrow and Sunday when I expect close times during the qualifying sessions."

Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (9th, +1.727s):
“I had a good session this afternoon, without any problems. The new engine was working well and we did the running we needed to in order to find out about the tyres. The car balance is not yet perfect, but we have time tomorrow morning to fix that. It has been a good feeling to run in front of the Italian people here today, and I think I will be in a position to give them something to cheer about this weekend.”

Takuma Sato, BAR (10th, +1.851s):
"It was a very good day for the team. We were competitive straight away and the car performed well, showing that our form has continued from our last two tests. It seems to me that we are back on the pace, which is a really good sign and we did not have any problems. I was caught in traffic a few times as it was a busy on the circuit today, but other than that the car was working well and we will work on the set up for the longer runs for the race on Sunday."

Felipe Massa, Sauber (11th, +2.307s):
"I'm very, very happy with the car. All the work the people back at the factory have done on the new aero package has worked out the way we hoped it would, and I think it is as big an improvement as the package we had at Silverstone on the C23 last year.

"The car was really good on my long runs, very fast and consistent. And on new tyres I had traffic so I know I can go quicker. The only problem is that we need to change my engine tonight. It is going to be very tough starting far back here of all places, and even more so because I know we are competitive. But I remain very positive because of the progress we have made."

Jacques Villeneuve, Sauber (12th, +2.471s):
"This weekend has started better for me than others this year, which is good. The car seemed okay on new tyres, and now we need to make sure we can race it like this. It seems to be an improvement, which is encouraging."

Jarno Trulli, Toyota (13th, +2.859s):
"This was a typical Friday putting in runs to test out the two Michelin tyre compounds and set-ups for the weekend. In the morning I put in only one installation lap to save mileage, but we did some more running in the afternoon. Imola has been a difficult circuit for Toyota in the past and, while the car felt okay running over kerbs, we are not entirely happy what we have achieved so far here. Still, we will be doing everything to keep up our run of scoring points."

Nick Heidfeld, Williams (14th, +2.974s):
“The most important matter for me today is confirming that my back is 100 percent okay after hurting it during last week’s test. On the track, we had two reasonable Free Practice sessions today, and, as usual for Fridays, we worked mainly on tyre comparisons. We didn’t experience any technical problems, which allowed us to run to our intended distance without hindrance.”

Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (15th, +2.982s):
"This was a difficult day for everybody and we still have a lot of work to do and the car for the weekend. We had no technical problems, but it is hard to find grip around the circuit so that is the first thing we have to work on. The famous Imola kerbs are not so much of an issue for us here as the car felt reasonably good over them. But tyre choice is difficult, even if I'm sure we'll make a good one in the end. Then we will push for another good result."

David Coulthard, Red Bull (16th, +3.331s):
“We did a normal race programme working on tyre choice and on what should be done on race fuels. This obviously gives us an indication on where we are in comparison to the quickest cars and what the true picture is. But the car does not feel too bad here - it just isn’t that quick!”

Narain Karthikeyan, Jordan (17th, +3.358s):
“The car seems to be working pretty well and I am quite happy with the performance in the first two free practice sessions. Today was also the first time I have driven on this track so I spent a bit of time learning the layout. After I sleep over it tonight, I am sure I will learn a few more tricks on the circuit tomorrow.”

Mark Webber, Williams (18th, +3.480s):
“We completed our proposed programme today and we have collected a useful amount of data, which in turn means we have plenty of information to sift later on today in preparation for tomorrow’s running. All in all we had a pretty reasonable day, with our main focus on tyres.”

Christian Klien, Red Bull (19th, +3.836s):
“In the second session I did two long runs, the first one was 15 laps the second one 18 laps. I tested both tyre types and it seems that we are a bit further away from the top than usual and we seem to have lost out a bit to the other teams but the car feels okay.”

Tiago Monteiro, Jordan (20th, +4.089s):
“It was a very interesting session. We have tried different tyres and now we know which ones we are going to use for the rest of the weekend. In the second session, we decided to conserve engine mileage; but from what we have tried, we have found some right things, so this was a good start for us.”

Vitantonio Liuzzi, Red Bull (21st, +4.142s):
“Today went quite well. It was important to make as many laps of the track and we did plenty, working on the tyre choice for tomorrow. We finished our full programme which was pretty good, but it is hard to compare our performance as, on Fridays, you never know what fuel loads the others are running, so we have to wait for tomorrow.”

Robert Doornbos, Jordan (22nd, +4.688s):
“We have done a lot of work today, together with Bridgestone to find the right tyre for the weekend. The first session went very well; we tried some parts that we tested last week in Paul Ricard. Everything was looking really good until halfway through the afternoon session when I spun in the famous corner, Acqua Minerale. However, I managed to bring the car back to the garage, as I did not want to give up. The team has made a good job to try to get me out on the track again but for safety reasons, we have decided not to use the engine anymore as it overheated a bit. I am really sorry for that and I hope we will have a good weekend.”

Patrick Friesacher, Minardi (23rd, +6.136s):
"In general, I'm happy with the work we've done today. We need to find more grip, improve the braking and increase the gearbox shift speed, but overall, we've had a positive day. Now we just need to work on the areas we've identified. There's clearly a lot of potential in the PS05, and I particularly want to thank the guys, who worked all night to get my car ready for today. You can see they are a little bit tired, and I would like to be able to give something back to them this weekend for all their work."

Christijan Albers, Minardi (24th, no time):
"It was a shame we couldn't get out in the second session, because we made quite a lot of changes to the car between the morning and afternoon sessions but weren't able to assess the effect they had. I'm particularly disappointed for the guys, who have just been working so hard. I think the source of this afternoon's problem will turn out to be relatively minor, though, and I have great confidence about the potential for the PS05. Now we just have to work on developing it, and fining a good set-up for this weekend."