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Friday practice - selected driver quotes 27 May 2005

Nick Heidfeld (GER) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, European Grand Prix, Practice, Nurburgring, Germany, 27 May 2005 Ricardo Zonta (BRA) Toyota Test Driver (Left) talks with a Michelin engineer.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, European Grand Prix, Practice, Nurburgring, Germany, 27 May 2005 Narain Karthikeyan (IND) Jordan EJ15 in the pits.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, European Grand Prix, Practice, Nurburgring, Germany, 27 May 2005 Patrick Friesacher (AUT) Minardi in the pits.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, European Grand Prix, Practice, Nurburgring, Germany, 27 May 2005

A good day in Germany for German engines, German-based teams and German drivers, with the top three in practice including Mercedes, BMW, Toyota and Nick Heidfeld. He and the other drivers explain their early progress at the Nurburgring...

Alexander Wurz, McLaren (1st, 1m 30.623s):
"I am glad to show how competitive we are. I think the car and I are in best form. I could have even been a little faster however I experienced some traffic in the first sector of my fastest lap. I now have to sit together with our engineers and my team mates for a detailed analysis of our data to work out the ideal strategy for the race."

Ricardo Zonta, Toyota (2nd, +0.007s):
"I had a really good feeling in the car today and I hit traffic on my last lap so I could have gone even quicker. The track was very slippery in the first session so we put in work to improve the grip level and to balance the car. That worked pretty well, and the grip improved in the afternoon as the track rubbered in. I think we are looking quite competitive."

Nick Heidfeld, Williams (3rd, +1.190s):
“The start of the day was all right. I made some set-up changes and we were heading in the right direction. I was topping the time sheets for quite some time, which is nice, but it doesn’t really matter much today. More importantly, both Mark and myself unfortunately weren’t able to complete our scheduled programme, especially as far as the tyres are concerned, which will make it harder to make our tyre choice this time.”

Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (4th, +1.218s):
"I am happy with the set up of the car after today's two sessions. I have suffered from understeer in the past races, this has been improved over the last few weeks and now the car suits my driving style much better, especially on a circuit which is notorious for understeer. We still have some work to do but overall I am generally pleased."

Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (5th, +1.247s):
"A satisfying outcome of today's free practice. Obviously we are working in the right direction, although I am not perfectly happy with the set up of the car. We now have to evaluate our Michelin tyre choice with all the data we gathered. I didn't experience any problems during the two practice sessions. I like the circuit which is really fun to drive on and I am looking forward to tomorrow's qualifying and the race on Sunday.”

Mark Webber, Williams (6th, +1.465s):
“Today was not ideal. We went through our programme in the morning session but we just concentrated on short runs. We had started work for the second session but, after only seven laps, I lost the car at the entrance of a corner and could not get back on track because I’d ended up in the gravel. That was the end of my day. I am sorry for the team but I am sure we’ll get back tomorrow.”

Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (7th, +1.520s):
“Today, the situation looks much better than in recent races and there is no doubt that the Nurburgring suits us better than Monaco. We seem to be pretty quick here, whatever the fuel load. I think we can be very strong this weekend, but it is still too early to see where we stand compared to the others. Bridgestone has done a good job and the tyres are performing consistently.”

Fernando Alonso, Renault (8th, +1.712s):
“Everything was OK today - it was really a very normal Friday practice for us. The car balance is not yet perfect, but I think a lot of that is down to the track conditions, which were quite low grip today. I expect the grip levels will pick up tomorrow, which will help us gain in performance and also improve the balance of the car. A lot of different teams seemed to be competitive today, which means I don’t think this will be such an easy weekend. But having said that, we are in our normal positions for a Friday, in the top ten, so things are going to plan.”

Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (9th, +2.219s):
“My biggest problem today was yellow flags on my quick laps which stopped me from improving my time - I think I should have been at least half a second quicker without those problems. We still have some work to do on the set-up, as I have too much understeer on the way into the corners, but I think we can make the changes we need overnight. In terms of the tyres, we have a clear idea of the direction we want to go in, so that makes it easier to focus our programme tonight. We seem to be in our usual positions for Friday, so I think we can be quick tomorrow in qualifying.”

Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (10th, +2.475s):
"The two sessions went fine for me and we had no technical problems. We still have a lot to do on the set-up because I am not happy with that yet. The tyre choice looks relatively straightforward here and we will confirm that tonight. Now we just have to put in a bit of work overnight on the set-up. It's great that we have some of the people who work in the factory here this weekend. So let's hope we can bring home a decent result on Sunday."

Jarno Trulli, Toyota (11th, +2.545s):
"We had a positive day because we did a lot of laps and learned a lot of things. On the other hand we didn't really show the full potential of the car because I spent much of the afternoon either stuck in traffic or finding yellow flags. So our lap time is not very representative and we remain confident for tomorrow when we will understand better where we are. This is one of our home races so we'll hope for another good result."

Christian Klien, Red Bull (12th, +2.551s):
“That was quite good. We first went out for a long run on one type of tyre and completed more than 15 laps. The car felt good and I was very comfortable on this track. I then went out again on the other type of tyre and posted a couple of quick lap times. I had some instability on the entry into Turn 5 on one of the early laps. The track was dirty, I went off the racing line and onto the grass, but there was no drama.”

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (13th, +2.619s):
“In performance terms, it looks quite good so far, as we are not so far off the times of the quickest guys, not counting the Friday-only drivers, so generally I would say it is going well this weekend. It’s a shame I had an electrical problem. It was nothing major, but there was not enough time to fix it before the end of the session. But we have enough data from Rubens’ car on which to base our decisions regarding set-up and especially which way to go on tyre choice.”

David Coulthard, Red Bull (14th, +2.807s):
“After what was a comparatively competitive performance in Monte Carlo, there’s a certain amount of reality for us back here. BAR are back and, on a long circuit like this, inefficiencies will show up more. Therefore, I think it’s going to be pretty difficult for us to get into the points this weekend, but I’ll be pushing hard as usual.”

Takuma Sato, BAR (15th, +2.891s):
"It was good to be back in the cockpit today. The team has done a great job and we were all very excited to be coming back to racing. This morning we only completed installation laps to check that everything was OK as the circuit was quite dusty and we needed to wait for it to improve. We were also taking it easy with the engine. The car feels good, with reasonable balance, but we still need to work on quite a lot for tomorrow's qualifying to improve our pace. But other than that, I just enjoyed the sessions and it is great to be back. We will be working hard for our race set-up."

Jenson Button, BAR (16th, +3.310s):
"It's great to be back racing again, although the conditions today weren't ideal for gauging where we are versus the competition. Also, we have had to be careful with the engine today as it's five weeks since we last raced it in Imola and today wasn't the day where we needed to push. We'll think about unleashing it a little bit more tomorrow. The hot weather here has taken everyone by surprise a little and all of the teams will have had to change their approach to this race to some extent. I think we know where we are with the tyres though and we'll just take each day as it comes. We still have some work to do to get to improve for qualifying tomorrow and then we'll have to work with whatever situation running first leaves us in."

Franck Montagny, Jordan (17th, +3.467s):
“It was a good day even if I expected it to be a little bit easier. After the first session, I have realised we had a lot of work to do on the car. The second session went much better. I have had a very good impression of the team. People are listening to me and therefore we were able to make some changes to the car. I had a few problems adapting myself to the car as I have never driven it before and this was quite different from what I know and what I am used to. However, I am very happy with this experience today.”

Felipe Massa, Sauber (18th, +3.651s):
"My car felt okay on used tyres, but I spoiled my run on new ones. The balance wasn't so good, and as a result I made some mistakes. I got Turn 10 wrong, and then braked too late for the chicane, locked the front tyres, and went straight on. We just need to do some more work on the set-up, then I can push again tomorrow."

Jacques Villeneuve, Sauber (19th, +4.022s):
"Felipe and I were working on different programmes today. I was pretty happy with the balance of my car but I didn't get a good lap on my new tyres. There was a yellow flag partway round, so I had to lift. Overall, it's hard to say just where we are."

Tiago Monteiro, Jordan (20th, +4.079s):
“It was two good sessions today. This afternoon, we have tried different things from this morning and I am satisfied with what we have done and the direction we are going in, as we are very close to a good set-up. Compared to other teams, we are better here so it looks quite good. We will make our tyre choice tonight and prepare for tomorrow’s final practice session and qualifying.”

Vitantonio Liuzzi, Red Bull (21st, +4.219s):
“That was quite a difficult session today; the track is really dirty and there was not much grip. We had a lot to do, trying to analyse everything before the race and understanding exactly how we want the car to be set-up. We tried both types of tyre, which went well. For sure, we still have more work to do with the set-up tomorrow, but things are definitely moving in the right direction. Towards the end of the session, I had a hydraulic problem.”

Christijan Albers, Minardi (22nd, +4.688s):
"Primarily, we worked on the set-up today, but there's still quite a bit to do, as I'm not completely happy with the way the car is responding at the moment. We'll look at the data, make some changes overnight, and aim to improve some more tomorrow."

Patrick Friesacher, Minardi (23rd, +5.168s):
"I'm quite disappointed, because we lost nearly the whole of the second session today. I only managed to do five laps in the end with new tyres, so that was quite difficult. We'll just have to work on it for tomorrow and aim to get as much track time as possible in the morning."

Narain Karthikeyan, Jordan (24th, +6.079s):
“I did not have a very good afternoon session, as I hit a cone and slightly damaged my car and then I had a small spin. I have spent most of the two sessions learning the layout, as again this is a circuit I have never been on. We have made some changes to the car that we had not tried before and I am quite happy with the progress we are making.”