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Friday practice - selected driver quotes 17 Jun 2005

Juan Pablo Montoya (COL) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, United States Grand Prix, Practice Day, Indianapolis, USA, 17 June 2005 Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari (Left).
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, United States Grand Prix, Practice Day, Indianapolis, USA, 17 June 2005 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, United States Grand Prix, Practice Day, Indianapolis, USA, 17 June 2005 (L to R): Robert Doornbos (NDL) Jordan Third Driver talks with  Bridgestone engineer.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, United States Grand Prix, Practice Day, Indianapolis, USA, 17 June 2005

An eventful first day at Indianapolis, with McLaren leading Ferrari after a second session dominated by Ralf Schumacher’s heavy brush with the barriers. The drivers explain.

Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (1st, 1m 11.118s):
"Obviously our tyre choice has become more challenging as Pedro wasn't able to run in the first session, but we should be OK. It's quite slippery and dusty out there so we changed my programme slightly in the first session to only do one run towards the end. However, we seem to be fast which is always the best way to start a race weekend."

Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (2nd, +0.110s):
"We only intended to do one run this morning, but unfortunately I had a bit of an off at Turn 11. I came back into the pits as the guys wanted to check the car thoroughly before the second session. The track conditions were rather slippery, so you really had to focus and concentrate to avoid being caught out. I think we should be in a strong position this weekend and hopefully make the Championship battle even more exciting."

Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (3rd, +0.628s):
“It has been a long time since we have had such a good Friday. I am happy with the set-up, with the balance of the car and the Bridgestone tyres. We look much more competitive than we have done at some of the other races. We still have quite a bit of work to do to ensure we maintain this level in qualifying. I like this track and the atmosphere is very relaxed here. We had no problems today and that meant we were able to get through all our programme. Michael and I are doing similar lap times, even though we are running slightly different set-up on our cars. We have done well here in the past and let’s hope that continues this weekend.”

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (4th, +0.640s):
“Everything went quite well today and we were able to cure a balance problem I had early in the morning session. We are looking good for a Friday, especially if you compare our performance with that in Canada a week ago. The track seems much smoother with the new surface, particularly in the area of the start-finish line. Now we must wait and see what we can do in qualifying, when it will be good that I will be making my run towards the end of the session. As for Ralf’s accident, I was just coming back to the pits when it happened, so the first thing I knew about it was seeing him get out of the car unaided and walk away. I am glad he is okay and also glad that the modifications we asked for to be made to the wall were carried out, after his accident there last year.”

Nick Heidfeld, Williams (5th, +0.707s):
“I am reasonably happy with today’s practice. Despite not being satisfied with the car balance, my lap times this morning didn’t seem too bad. As usual I did some long runs in the afternoon, mainly to sort out the tyres and at the same time we tried to improve the balance with some changes. So far so good.”

David Coulthard, Red Bull (6th, +0.958s):
“We had a problem selecting sixth gear during the second session. There was a vibration through the banking section, which is never good when you’re not sure what it is, but the guys identified it and are working on the problem now. The spin was due to an electronic glitch. Basically, the software had a fault that meant I didn’t have electronic assistance in the car when exiting corners. What you saw out there was basically a purely mechanical car relying on old-skool technology, like they used to use in the 1970s. Nowadays, we have all sorts of electronic toys and gadgets, which give us assistance, but when you switch them off, that’s the result! We had an opportunity to stretch the upgraded engine a little during this practice and we’ll compare the data to the old specification to see how it compares. At the moment, we look like we could be more competitive here than in Canada, although the proof will be tomorrow and on Sunday. Even though we stopped the session early, I’m encouraged by today.”

Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (7th, +1.001s):
"Unfortunately my running in the first session was cut short by a problem with the throttle pedal sensor which stopped me at Turn One. However we still managed to get some useful data about the Michelin tyres in the second session which should allow us to make the right choice. The track was slippery which didn't make it easy to run consistently, but we are happy with what we achieved. There is now some analysis to be done with the engineers to decide which direction Kimi and Juan Pablo will take tomorrow with set-up and Michelin tyre choice."

Scott Speed, Red Bull (8th, +1.025s):
“There’s a really special atmosphere for me here and it’s so great to be back driving in America and in an F1 car. The track had more grip on the second session and with every lap I completed, I felt more comfortable. There were no mechanical problems at all and the difference I felt sitting behind the wheel here, compared to in Montreal, was quite significant – it’s all about gaining more experience.”

Fernando Alonso, Renault (9th, +1.147s):
“It was very slippery out on track today, and the car had a lot of oversteer all the way through both sessions - some of it was coming from the track conditions, but we still have some work to do on the set-up to get things right. I did a lot of laps though, which meant that I could collect some good information about the circuit and get used to running at this track again, which was useful because we obviously don't have the chance to test here during the season. We concentrated on making the right tyre choice, and we have some ideas about how to improve the car balance. I am sure that we will be in much better shape tomorrow morning.”

Jarno Trulli, Toyota (10th, +1.226s):
"First let me say that I'm glad that Ralf is okay after such a heavy impact. It's really bad luck for him to go off twice in two years at the worst point of the circuit. That was a difficult day for the whole team. Because of the two accidents we did very little running. Of course it was also a difficult decision to go out again later in the session, but luckily nothing happened to my car. The strange thing is that so far the car doesn't feel too bad and we're reasonably competitive. But we don't yet have a clear idea about what the problems are with the tyres, so we're not fully confident yet about running the cars. We'll have to analyse everything tonight."

Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (11th, +1.266s):
“The car felt very loose in both sessions today - we couldn't find the grip we needed to get a good balance, but still managed to do a lot of laps and to look carefully at the two different types of tyre. Our level of performance did not seem fantastic, but of course we don't know what fuel loads the other teams were running and how they approached the day. We need to find some answers in terms of the set-up, but this was a solid beginning to the weekend.”

Felipe Massa, Sauber (12th, +1.346s):
"On new tyres the balance of my car was good, but on the long run it was difficult to drive. It was very twitchy, with lots of oversteer and poor traction. That's why I had those two spins, which I don't think is normal for me. I know the track had low grip today, but we have more work to do setting up the car for the race."

Mark Webber, Williams (13th, +1.460s):
“We’ve done some set-up work today, trying a few different things across the cars. We completed the tyre comparison, and the car ran reliably throughout. We know we have some work to do tonight, when we will go through all the data and we have some more improvements to do on the balance.”

Christian Klien, Red Bull (14th, +1.546s):
“There’s still work to do with the set up of the car. I’m not really happy with the overall feeling at the moment, there’s quite a lot of oversteer and we’ll need to find a solution before tomorrow’s qualifying session. The engine seems to be a real step forward and we’re definitely closer to the front-runners here than we were in Canada.”

Jenson Button, BAR (15th, +1.685s):
"The good thing is that we did all our comparisons for the tyres and all our normal tests that we do on a Friday but the pace isn't very good and we're struggling with grip a little bit. We've got a busy night ahead of us. We know where some of the problems are coming from and expect to solve those by tomorrow and get back on the pace a bit more."

Takuma Sato, BAR (16th, +1.919s):
"It's great to be back at Indianapolis where we had such a good result last year. Free practice has been pretty smooth for us. We didn't have any problems and we were able to complete the tyre programme and set-up work that we had planned. We still need to do a lot of work to become more competitive but I hope we can make good progress from here."

Jacques Villeneuve, Sauber (17th, +1.961s):
"Felipe and I were on different programmes today because of doing the tyre assessment, but the long runs were comparable. I would say the choice is pretty easy now, looking at the one-lap performance. The track is always a bit funny here the first day, but my car was drivable so I can't complain too much."

Robert Doornbos, Jordan (18th, +2.243s):
“It was fun to be back in the car after a long time. The oval is a great place to drive. My main job was to help the team make the right choice of Bridgestone tyres for the race. This morning, the track was quite dirty but it improved in the afternoon and I was able to improve my lap times. I think we have a clear view about which tyres to use and I have really enjoyed driving here today.”

Ricardo Zonta, Toyota (19th, +2.449s):
"I was approaching turn 5 when I just felt a problem at the back of the car, and I spun off. We will now have to investigate whether the tyre failure was caused by picking up something from the circuit. The car was not badly damaged so we were able to go out for another run before the end of the session but we stopped early because of concern over one of my tyres. It's a shame because this morning everything had been going okay. The Indianapolis circuit is always very slippery, particularly in the first session before any rubber is laid down, but it was improving by the time I went out later in the session."

Patrick Friesacher, Minardi (20th, +2.665s):
"It has not been a bad day, and although we had a problem with the gearbox this afternoon, which lost us some time, generally, we improved the car. We still have some more work to do, particularly on the front end, but I think we can make another step forward tomorrow. I would particularly like to compliment the guys and thank them for their efforts, as they performed something close to a miracle this afternoon to change the gearbox so quickly, which allowed me to get out on track again."

Christijan Albers, Minardi (21st, +2.845s):
"We had a bit of a slow start this morning, and didn't put in so many laps, as we knew the track would improve a lot during the day. This afternoon, I think we had a good programme, and I'm feeling confident for tomorrow. It was a bit of a shame that I had some traffic on my new-tyre run, as it lost us a little time. This evening, we will choose which tyre compound we will go with for the remainder of the weekend, so we'll aim for another good day on Saturday."

Narain Karthikeyan, Jordan (22nd, +2.890s):
“The track is quite straightforward and not too hard to learn. What is really crucial here is to position the car well for the fast corners. The emphasis is on traction so we will try to improve the car for tomorrow. Otherwise, I am relatively satisfied with these two practice sessions today and I am looking forward to tomorrow.”

Tiago Monteiro, Jordan (23rd, +3.218s):
“In these two sessions today, we have been working on the balance of the car which is important here and been purely concentrating on a race set-up as it is only time we can hopefully score points. The track was very slippery and not very challenging and I have to admit I was not very impressed with it. We have another hour and half tomorrow to improve the car and see where we are.”

Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (24th, no time):
"Thankfully I am feeling okay, but that was quite a big accident. Lightning is supposed not to strike twice in the same place but on this occasion I guess that does not apply to me. I was approaching the last corner when I felt something go wrong on the left-hand side. We will now have to investigate exactly what happened and why. The morning session had been fine, although the track was very slippery. I've never had much luck here as a driver, but I'm still hopeful that record will improve."