Friday practice - selected driver quotes 23 Jun 2006
A pretty low-key opening day in Montreal, with Midlands Tiago Monteiro the only man to experience drama, as he tangled with the infamous wall of champions. And once again it was BMW Saubers third man Robert Kubica at the top of the times (note - times and positions refer to the days second session).
Robert Kubica, third driver, BMW Sauber (1st, 1m 16.695s):
We have done two long runs, which were pretty good. The pace was fine, with quick lap times, and we were consistent. We are looking strong. I have no problems getting used to a new track, so this morning I was also able to be quick straightaway.
Fernando Alonso, Renault (2nd, +0.130s):
Everything was OK for me today. The circuit grip was poor, as normal on Friday in Montreal, and it was improving all the time which we have to anticipate for tomorrow and Sunday with the car set-up. The only problem we had today was with quite poor braking stability, but that is also a question of getting used to driving the car with this downforce level and its lower grip levels. Overall, though, it was a good first day.
Alexander Wurz, third driver, Williams (3rd, +0.372s):
The morning was tough going and quite difficult because the track was slippery. This afternoon, however, when it was a bit warmer and there was more rubber on the track, our car suddenly came together and behaved more as we had expected. Now I think we are going in the right direction in terms of set-up, so in the end I am actually quite pleased in contrast to this morning when I was very grumpy! I can now feel everything coming together and weve got some quite good ideas for this circuit. Furthermore, our new aero package which worked at the Monza test is also performing well here too.
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (4th, +0.525s):
"A good start to the weekend and everything went well. It's too early to say where we are compared to the competition, but the car was working well immediately which is always positive and we can still make improvements. I have a new engine in the car this weekend. We spent the session evaluating our Michelin tyres and did some general set-up work. As brakes are crucial at this track they were also included in our programme. I like this circuit and look forward to the rest of the weekend."
Anthony Davidson, third driver, Honda (5th, +0.662s):
"I think this was probably the most difficult Friday that I've ever experienced, as we just couldn't find a good balance with the car all day. I really struggled to warm up the tyres - even this afternoon when the weather had improved. The track conditions were difficult for everyone as the general grip levels were so low, but this did start to get better towards the end. We've got a lot to work on overnight but I'm sure we can have a good weekend."
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (6th, +0.840s):
I had a good first feeling from today's practice sessions. The overall grip levels are very low, and that made it difficult to evaluate the changes we made to the set-up because the handling is quite inconsistent. However, the basic balance of the car seems good, and the tyre performance is encouraging. So I think we can be competitive this weekend.
Mark Webber, Williams (7th, +0.883s):
So far this weekend looks like its going to be interesting on the tyre front. The grip level is very low on the circuit and of course both tyre companies made their choices a couple of weeks ago. It went a lot better for us in the second session and its good to get a bit of temperature in the track, this will certainly benefit us. Weve got a lot of information to go through tonight from Alexs car and my two runs. All in all its been an interesting day which threw up a lot of things we didnt expect, but we will cope with that tomorrow.
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (8th, +1.044s):
I spent the morning learning the circuit, as I have never been here before. The track was very dirty so I just did a few laps to get a feel for the car. We made some changes for the second session and I think we moved forward in the right direction all the time. I am learning the track quite quickly but I think that tomorrow I can still improve and get more out of the car. We seem quite competitive and the car was very good even though we will struggle for top speed here with the V10.
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (9th, +1.050s):
Generally I am happy with our positions as Robert was fastest in both sessions and Jacques and myself also made it into the top ten. The balance of the car is not perfect yet, and it proved quite difficult to drive. In the second session I had to stop my second run early due to a mechanical problem with the gearchange paddle. Without this I would have done a few more laps.
Jacques Villeneuve, BMW Sauber (10th, +1.070s):
The car is running strong. It is a little bit difficult to drive with the relatively low downforce, and the track is very slippery, but the lap times are competitive. I am confident for the rest of the weekend.
Robert Doornbos, third driver, Red Bull (11th, +1.236s):
I like being in Canada. Its the first time that Id driven on this circuit today, and its great I must say - a very nice track, thats really good to drive. We did a good job and had consistent long runs, but it was a shame that we werent as quick as we wanted to be. We were struggling a little to get the maximum out of the tyres - but the guys are looking into that now. I wish the session could be longer as, just as you start to enjoy the conditions when theres a bit of rubber down and a little more grip, its already over. But, its good to drive here and I wish the guys luck for the weekend.
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (12th, +1.314s):
"We made an improvement right at the end of the second session today which I like, so that has given us a good direction for the set-up tomorrow. This circuit is always one that I enjoy so it's a case of so far, so good and I'm really looking forward to the rest of the weekend."
Jenson Button, Honda (13th, +1.464s):
"A pretty standard Friday for us really. We were able to get through quite a few laps without any problems so we should have a lot of data to look at this evening. The balance of the car was not too bad but we have some areas to work on overnight and need to see some improvements for tomorrow."
Christijan Albers, Midland (14th, +1.538s):
"The lap time doesn't look too bad, but we're really going to have to work hard tonight to improve the balance of the car. The car is still too nervous and quite difficult to drive but in spite of this, I was still able to post some consistent lap times. The motivation level of the team is really high and everyone is working hard to find a solution, so I'm optimistic that we will be able to deliver a better result."
Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (15th, +1.584s):
As usual on the first day here in Montreal, the track is very slippery and we in particular suffered with quite a significant loss of grip. We were not quick enough and we have to study the data to see how to improve. Obviously the gap separating us from our rivals today is a big one, but we know the situation can change rapidly. Its down to us to work hard as all the changes will be working in our favour.
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (16th, +1.649s):
"This is not a permanent race track so it takes a lot of running before the circuit rubbers in and grip was very hard to find today. A lot of people struggled to stay on the track, particularly in the morning session when the track was at its greenest. The afternoon was better and we had a good day overall, making it through everything that I had planned. Brakes are critical here but we found no major problems today so I'm looking forward to a good weekend."
Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (17th, +1.796s):
"We obtained some useful data which will help us make a decision regarding tyres. Kimi and I were evaluating different compounds and we now need to look at all the options - bearing in mind that it might be a bit hotter tomorrow. The track is not too dusty, but the grip level seems really low so I was struggling a bit. However we will now work with the engineers on making our Michelin tyre choice and see what happens tomorrow."
Christian Klien, Red Bull (18th, +1.900s):
I like being in Canada. I only did an installation lap this morning, as the tracks not used very often so its very green with no grip. In the second session, I went out twice for around five timed laps each run, although the track was still pretty dirty. It was quite tricky to drive and I struggled with rear wheel locking in the braking areas, and the car was difficult to handle on corner entry. We improved that a little bit and will work to improve the cars balance during the weekend. Overall, it was okay.
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (19th, +1.903s):
"We didn't learn as much as we would have liked today because I had a gearbox problem at the end of the second session and could not complete my last run. There was very little grip out there but it did improve in the afternoon. This is a hard circuit for the mechanical side of the car and reliability always plays a very important role. We don't yet know how competitive we will be but we made good preparations during our test at Monza last week so we're looking forward to a change of fortunes this weekend."
Scott Speed, Toro Rosso (20th, +1.942s):
I was on a long run at the end of the second session, so the lap time doesnt mean much. As expected, the track here gets better as the day goes on. We had a good test session in Monza and we thought we might be able to do something good here and I think we could be surprisingly competitive. We are not worried about brakes: with the reduction in power I think its less of an issue than it used to be. The balance of the car is pretty good. This track is about the trade-off between top speed and stability. The car is lively here and sliding, and you have to ride the kerbs and our car seems to be doing all that quite well right now.
Nico Rosberg, Williams (21st, +2.083s):
It was a difficult day for me because I came out of the pits very late in the second session due to a gearbox problem. I did just ten laps which is not quite enough for me as it was my first experience of this track. Luckily however this circuit doesnt seem too difficult and the car felt alright. It will be better tomorrow, after some more running.
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (22nd, +2.134s):
It was quite a difficult day. Today I concentrated mainly on studying the behaviour of one of the two types of tyre Bridgestone has brought here for us. Track conditions and temperatures made life difficult, a bit similar to what happened in Monaco a month ago. Now we have to work out how to improve the situation, taking into account that the grip which was lacking today should come good tomorrow bit by bit, as the cars run on the track. But I am still confident for the rest of the weekend.
Giorgio Mondini, third driver, Midland (23rd, +2.173s):
"The morning was very short, with the car stopping on my second lap, so there isn't much to take away from that. Luckily, the team found the problem and was able to prepare the car for the second session. In the afternoon, we tried to condense the programme. I did one long run, but I wasn't happy with the balance, so we made a few shorter runs to try and determine our tyre choice. We were able to improve the car gradually as the day went on but clearly, we've had better days. We need to some work to get it where it needs to be, but considering the slippery track conditions today, I was quite happy to bring the car back in one piece."
David Coulthard, Red Bull (24th, +2.348s):
I like being in Canada. We were suffering with telemetry problems during the second session so we didnt do much running today. This track is similar to Silverstone where you need overall efficiency of the car. There are a lot of high speed sections here, so it remains to be seen where we end up.
Neel Jani, third driver, Toro Rosso (25th, +2.576s):
The morning was really good, staying on one set of tyres all the time. I think we made some useful improvements, then this afternoon I did the usual long run. I was a bit unlucky in that on two of my quickest laps I encountered traffic. But the important thing is that we got good tyre comparison results. At one point I had a brake problem, but it did not cost much time.
Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (26th, +2.659s):
It was a good first day although we were struggling to find good car balance and suffered quite a lot with oversteer. The cars aero specification is very different from what we used when we were in Europe so this mornings session was spent testing the balance and starting our tyre programme. The cold temperature this morning was not favourable for our tyre runs and although the weather improved in the afternoon we continued to struggle a lot with the balance. We will work on that and hope to have a better day tomorrow.
Sakon Yamamoto, third driver, Super Aguri (27th, +3.232s):
"This is the first time that I have driven on this circuit and I enjoyed it very much. This morning the track was quite slippery and the car was hard to drive. Today I was concentrating on our tyre programme and fortunately the track improved throughout the afternoon session so I was able to complete a good number of longer runs for our tyre comparison and collect a lot of data which I hope will be useful for tomorrow and for the race.
Tiago Monteiro, Midland (28th, +3.297s):
"This morning, we only did one run and I ended up touching the wall on the last corner - the infamous 'Wall of Champions', which has taken out quite a few drivers in the past. I wasn't hurt at all, the car wasn't too badly damaged and my crew did a great job to repair it in two hours. That's the positive side of it, anyway! In the afternoon, we stayed on the same tyres because we figured there wouldn't be much to gain from switching to a new set, so that's why it didn't look too good on the time sheet. We focused mostly on balance, in order to see if we could run with the softer tyres, which seem quicker but don't last very long, so we need to work on that. Tomorrow, we'll be running in better conditions with new tyres, so I'm expecting to see a big improvement."
Franck Montagny, Super Aguri (29th, +4.469s):
This morning wasnt too bad and we did some good work on the car. This afternoon though we had many problems again on the car and unfortunately we lost quite a lot of running as we worked on the car in the garage. Looking forward to tomorrow, I am not very happy about the set-up of the car as it is just now, so we will work on this tomorrow morning in the last practice session and hope that we find something good for Qualifying.