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Friday practice - selected driver quotes 01 Jul 2005

Pedro de la Rosa (ESP) McLaren Mercedes MP4/20.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, French Grand Prix, Practice Day, Magny-Cours, France, 1 July 2005

A day of mixed fortunes for the McLaren team during the Friday practice sessions. Pedro de la Rosa and Juan Pablo Montoya led the timesheets, but Kimi Raikkonen suffered an engine failure that will penalise him 10 grid positions after qualifying.

Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (1st, 1:14.460)
"The car ran reliably today which allowed us to complete our planned programme. We have a good idea about the direction of our Michelin tyre selection and it should be a strong weekend. There was a bit of understeer this morning but we solved that for the afternoon session."

Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (2nd, 1:15.129)
"We have done a lot of work today and played with the car quite a bit. I think we have a good idea of where we want to go and it looks like I'm going to be pretty quick. However our opposition also looks strong, so it should be an interesting weekend, but I'm really pleased with how the car is behaving. I have been quick during the past couple of races and am really getting the hang of the car, so I'm looking forward to the rest of the weekend."

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (3rd, 1:15.204)
“This has been a productive Friday and I am quite happy with what we have achieved. The car seems to behave quite well as do the tyres, which probably explains why I have the impression the car is sliding around less than usual on this track. I think we can be fighting for the win this weekend. The team has worked very hard over the past weeks and even months and it seems that all this work is beginning to pay off now”

Fernando Alonso, Renault (4th, 1:15.242)
“We had a good balance on the car right from the start of the day, and we didn’t change the set-up at all. That’s always a good way to start on Friday, because it means you can use your laps to test the tyres properly and work on other things. The biggest problem today was the wind, which made the handling quite unpredictable in the high-speed chicanes, and the car was not consistent lap to lap because of this. But overall, I think we look quite strong at the moment.”

Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (5th, 1:15.380)
“It was a good day for us – we are very pleased with our positions after second practice. I think we are in good shape for the weekend and even though we don’t know our tyre choice yet, I think we can be optimistic regardless of which tyre we choose. I had some high-speed understeer in the car which we need to work on overnight but we are in a good position.”

Olivier Panis, third driver, Toyota (6th, 1:15.483)
"I'm very happy to return to the track for Friday testing at the French Grand Prix. I enjoyed myself a lot, having a bit of fun with my former colleagues. I did the job that the team asked me to do without any problems, including the long runs, and it was fantastic out there. The team looks pretty good compared with last year, too. I can feel improvements in the way the team works, with everyone extremely calm and productive, and I'd like to thank them for giving me this chance today. Now I'll go back my job as test driver for the programme I have for the coming months."

Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (7th, 1:15.605)
“Magny Cours is always a tough place to get the set-up right. I think we have done a reasonable job with the two sets of tyres I used. We have a pretty good idea already which tyre to choose for the rest of the weekend. We still need to improve the package, although I am a lot happier with this new tyre. Now we need to work on our pace for the race distance.

Jarno Trulli, Toyota (8th, 1:15.774)
"That was a normal Friday, with tyre testing and set-up work, but it's still too early to say how we can perform over the weekend. The car seems reasonable in terms of handling, now we can perhaps look at the data to try and find a bit more speed. It was also fun to have Olivier here for this one-off Friday in front of his home crowd."

Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (9th, 1:15.925)
"I spent the day doing the usual Friday work on set-up. The tyre choice is not yet clear, so we'll have to discuss that tonight, but overall the car felt pretty good so far. The weather can always be a major factor here at Magny-Cours, so we'll have to see what it does over the weekend. But a good solid points finish should be within our grasp again."

David Coulthard, Red Bull (10th, 1:16.371)
“A pretty normal Friday really. We’ve been evaluating the tyres the best we can and the balance of the car isn’t so bad. Obviously, we’ll have to see where we can make changes to get closer to the pace, but the balance doesn’t feel too far away now and, ultimately, that’s a good sign. If that’s right, everything fits into place. We’ll just have to wait and see how our pace is relative to the competition tomorrow.”

Jacques Villeneuve, Sauber (11th, 1:16.430)
“My new tyre lap was pretty good, but for the long runs the set-up was not so good so we have a bit more work to do. But overall I’d say this was a promising start to the weekend.”

Jenson Button, BAR (12th, 1:16.597)
"It's been a good day today and we've achieved a lot of good tyre work.
This morning, the track was very dusty and slippery, so we didn't do too much running and therefore couldn't gather much data. This afternoon we were able to make up for that. We've done some long runs, the car has been working well and the tyre work has been very consistent, so I'm happy with the package that we have for Magny-Cours We've still got a bit of work to do to get closer to the top of the timesheets for tomorrow but the baseline is there and I'm hoping we can look forward to a positive weekend here."

Felipe Massa, Sauber (13th, 1:16.753)
“On new tyres I made a mistake and also had some traffic, but on the long runs my car was really, really good, quick and consistent. We have a strong car so I am very much looking forward both to qualifying and the race.”

Takuma Sato, BAR (14th, 1:16.890)
"We have carried over all of the good work that we completed in testing to the practice sessions today, concentrating on race set-up during our longer runs this afternoon and working through our tyre programme. The car seems to have good balance, similar to the way we were running in North America, and the very different high-downforce aero package that we have for this race appears to be working well. Our data is showing very positive signs."

Vitantonio Liuzzi, third driver, Red Bull (15th, 1:16.987)
“In the first session I had a spin and went into the gravel, which caused some stone damage, so we had to stop. I waited while the team changed some parts before completing the practice. In the morning we did quite a few runs, which was important for us to look at the performance of the tyres, but I felt that the car was better in the second session.”

Mark Webber, Williams (16th, 1:17.107)
“We have worked hard in both sessions in terms to get more out of the car because we have to find some more pace, no question about it. We’ve done some work withMichelin too to pick the right tyre - which is working well. We will go through our data tonight and I am sure the engineers will do a good job and we’ll come back with a better pace tomorrow.”

Nick Heidfeld, Williams (17th, 1:17.192)
“The only true problem we had today was that we had to change the radio in the second session therefore we had to do a small compromise on our planned schedule, changing it a bit around. Still, overall it was a good day in terms of what we managed to do.”

Robert Doornbos, third driver, Jordan (18th, 1:17.574)
“I had a lot of fun today driving the new car. Everybody was very keen and focused on the programme. There is a definite improvement over the old car but we still need to do some work on the set-up. We made big step forward in this area in the afternoon.”

Narain Karthikeyan, Jordan (19th, 1:17.790)
“I had a normal opening day today, working especially on the car set-up and Bridgestone tyre comparison. Robert Doornbos was driving the new EJ15B, which was very useful for the team and the car has obviously more potential. Of course, there are some little teething problems but generally it looked better. We are quite pleased with the work we have done today and we will now see how it goes tomorrow.”

Christijan Albers, Minardi (20th, 1:18.508)
“It’s a pity we lost some time during the second session because of a gearbox problem, which required it to be replaced. I have to say, however, that once again, the team has done a really fantastic job, which enabled me to get back on track quickly and register some consistent lap times before the end of the session. Unfortunately, I encountered some traffic on my last run, and therefore wasn’t able to discover the real limit of the car, but we have had a very productive day, testing a number of new components. Tomorrow is another day, and we will aim to make further progress.”

Patrick Friesacher, Minardi (21st, 1:18.814)
“Generally, it has been a positive day. We had a good second session, and I feel we have definitely progressed with the car. I am confident there is still a margin of improvement, however, and we will certainly make the most of tomorrow’s two practice sessions to find the best set-up for the afternoon qualifying run.”

Christian Klien, Red Bull (22nd, 1:18.897)
“In the first session, I completed ten laps to get a feel for the track and see how the balance of the car was. It felt much better than it did ahead of the last two races - a lot more stable at the rear and easier to drive. I think that, definitely, the car is more competitive here than at previous races. In the second session, I was quite quick through the first timed section, the car had good balance and grip. But, I turned in at the chicane a bit too early, hit the kerb, lost the rear and went off.”

Tiago Monteiro, Jordan (23rd, 1:19.186)
“We had a busy day and not the best for me today. I went off on a kerb this morning and damaged the rear suspension and lost a set of tyres, which conditioned my afternoon programme. We tried different set-ups to improve the balance of the car and I hope tomorrow will be more a normal day.”

Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (24th, no time)
"We were going through our planned programme in the morning session, but unfortunately during my first run early in the second practice I had an engine failure. That is obviously going to affect my weekend quite a bit as I will have to move ten places down the starting grid which will make things more challenging. However we will do the best we can and continue working as hard as possible."