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Friday practice - selected driver quotes 30 Jun 2006

Takuma Sato (JPN) Super Aguri F1 SA05.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, United States Grand Prix, Practice Day, Indianapolis, USA, 30 June 2006 Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, United States Grand Prix, Practice Day, Indianapolis, USA, 30 June 2006 Ralf Schumacher (GER) Toyota.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, United States Grand Prix, Practice Day, Indianapolis, USA, 30 June 2006 Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Renault.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, United States Grand Prix, Preparations, Indianapolis, USA, 29 June 2006

A largely drama-free day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway saw Giancarlo Fisichella take top race driver honours for Renault, while Takuma Sato scored an impressive 22nd place for Super Aguri…

Anthony Davidson, third driver, Honda (1st, +12.013s):
"It's been a very good day today. We had a very conclusive tyre test so my work is done on that side of things and Michelin have some positive results all round. We also had a trouble free day. I feel much more at home in the car this weekend than I did in Canada and I think everybody in the team has done a great job to make such a good start to the weekend. It's early days yet so we'll see how the rest of the weekend goes, but I'm pleased with the work we have done today."

Robert Kubica, third driver, BMW Sauber (2nd, +0.796s):
“This morning we had some problems with the set up but this afternoon it was much better. I have done three long runs with the main goal to see how the tyres would perform and what the degradation would be. We have a good pace, some things to resolve still but it was much better than this morning.”

Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (3rd, +0.920s):
“This was one of the best Friday sessions of the season so far for me. The R26 felt comfortable to drive straight away, and as we made set-up changes it got better and better. The balance is quite good, and we know we are moving in the right direction. We have understood how the tyres are working as well, so it all looks encouraging for tomorrow.”

Felipe Massa, Ferrari (4th, +1.251s):
“It was a good day’s work. The car and Bridgestone tyres all worked very well. We have to study the data carefully, but I feel I can say this is the best first day we have had over a Grand Prix weekend for quite some time. I worked a lot on checking the consistency of the tyres, doing some long runs which produced encouraging results. All in all, I am confident for qualifying tomorrow and Sunday’s race.”

Giorgio Mondini, third driver, Midland (5th, +1.314s):
"It was a good morning, and an excellent afternoon. We were able to do even more than what we planned to do, actually, and ran a full programme without any problems. We improved the car in each session and the balance kept getting better with every run. The last three sets of tyres were aimed at improving our pace, and we found a dramatic difference in performance. I don’t think the progression came from me driving faster; it was purely the progression of the car. We found about a second between the first and last runs of the day, which is great. We worked in the right direction and tyres are working well. Overall it was a very good day. The guys did an excellent job setting up the car, and it was very nice to drive."

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (6th, +1.333s):
“I am happy with what we have seen on track today. The situation looks pretty good, which means we can tackle the rest of the weekend with confidence. Let’s say I had more problems trying to watch the quarter finals on television than I did in the cockpit of my Ferrari…When I went off the track this morning, maybe I was still thinking a bit too much about the grass on the football pitch! I am very happy that Germany beat Argentina. It’s a great result. Now I hope that Italy also wins, then we can all concentrate on our main objective which is to win the race on Sunday.”

Tiago Monteiro, Midland (7th, +1.374s):
"It looks very good on the timesheet, doesn’t it? We ran through our normal Friday programme, working calmly, without too much pressure and not worrying about the times. We worked in the direction we wanted, and when we found the set-up we wanted, we switched to new tyres, which can go either way - sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. This time, the balance was amazing on new tyres. It felt like a different car; there was so much grip. I only had one lap on the new ones, as opposed to 20 laps on the old set, so obviously I haven’t used them as I should, and to be honest, I think there’s still more to come out of them. The whole team did a great job today and it looks encouraging for tomorrow. Once again, we need to keep cool, and work hard tonight to qualify well tomorrow."

Jenson Button, Honda (8th, +1.384s):
"Today has been a positive day and we've made a few changes which have worked out well for us, so overall a good start to the weekend. It's looking better than Montreal did at this stage, thankfully, and it's nice to have a car that feels normal underneath me. We have something we can really work with and keep improving through the rest of the weekend so fingers crossed for tomorrow and the race."

Fernando Alonso, Renault (9th, +1.461s):
“This was a normal Friday for me. The grip levels are quite low at the moment, but that was the only major problem and the balance of the car feels OK. Friday is all about understanding the tyre behaviour and what direction you need to go in with set-up, which we have done. The circuit grip will improve as we run more, so the track should come to us a little bit, and I am confident for the rest of the weekend.”

Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (10th, +1.541s):
"A good start to the weekend and we completed our planned programme. As always on a Friday we didn't do a lot of running to conserve our engine and tyres. There is still some way to go before our car is perfect, but that is what practice is all about. We will look at the data overnight and then continue our work tomorrow morning. The fans seem to be out in force today which is great for all of us here in Indianapolis."

Scott Speed, Toro Rosso (11th, +1.675s):
“There aren’t so many corners here, but it’s proving to be a complicated circuit as the car handles quite badly, as we have to take off all the aerodynamics to get speed down the straight. So it’s very important to get the mechanical balance right as that’s what you are relying on in the infield. The track is a bit dirty today so finding the right balance is difficult. We have entry instability and we have mid-corner understeer.”

Mark Webber, Williams (12th, +1.678s):
“The session seemed okay, but obviously we will have to go through everything tonight. I haven’t really had a look at what other people are doing relative to ourselves. The balance isn’t too bad, but we still have to find some grip and we will look at this later. The programme ran faultlessly, Alex did his bit, as did the race drivers, so not a bad day for us.”

Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (13th, +1.712s):
“In the first session I didn’t do a timed lap, and for the afternoon we made a change to the car. Unfortunately the positive result was not shown in the lap times because I was stuck in traffic on my second outing. I tried to find a clear lap by dropping back, but even this didn’t work.”

Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (14th, +1.722s):
“This is my first time at this circuit so I’m sure there is still a lot to come. The car seems to behave pretty well and we tried a lot of things for the race. I am quite happy with the way it’s handling. Basically we had two good sessions and covered a lot of work. Sorry, got to go - Italy’s playing!”

Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (15th, +1.812s):
"It's nice to be back in the USA, and we all want to put on a good show, especially for the American fans. We completed our planned limited programme with no problems. I only did six timed laps, so it's hard to judge where we are compared to the rest of the field, but we will see tomorrow. The balance is not too bad, but the car seems to bounce a bit, and as a result we are losing traction. However we will look at the data and make the appropriate changes."

Jacques Villeneuve, BMW Sauber (16th, +1.844s):
“The car is competitive but the track is a little bit slippery. We need to work on the set up a little bit, but I think we should be all right for the rest of the weekend.”

Neel Jani, third driver, Toro Rosso (17th, +1.933s):
“I am very happy with the way today went as we seem to have really good pace, even when staying on just one set of tyres this morning. In the afternoon, we did a race simulation and even in this situation I had really good lap times and the car felt good too. We did not need to make major changes, just adapting it to the changing grip levels.”

Rubens Barrichello, Honda (18th, +1.998s):
"It's been a good Friday, although I don't yet have a good balance on the car. We seem to be a little more competitive than in Canada and I want this to be a much better weekend for us so we'll just keep working hard towards the race on Sunday and see how things go from here."

Alexander Wurz, third driver, Williams (19th, +2.037s):
“I went through all of our programme and I think I delivered everything I was required to find out. If you study our programme it is pretty clear what we did, so I am actually reasonably happy with the progress we have made in terms of preparing us for the race. Looking at the way the track is going with our tyres, I think we could end up in a good position for the race.”

Christian Klien, Red Bull (20th, +2.071s):
“There’s a very long straight in Indy, which is good fun, but the infield is a little slow to drive. I did two runs in the second session and the circuit had very low grip. It was quite difficult to get the balance right and the car had some understeer, so we’ll have to look at what we can do to improve it for tomorrow. I hope we can do a good race for the fans here; last year was a bit of a disaster. But, Michelin is looking after the fans really well and I think they’ve bought a good tyre here, so we should see a very good race on Sunday.”

Christijan Albers, Midland (21st, +2.156s):
"I think we had a reasonable day. We just had some bad luck at the end of the session with traffic and I couldn’t put in a good lap, so it’s difficult to say how the car is. But I think everything is moving in the right direction and tomorrow we should be able to improve by a lot.”

Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (22nd, +2.378s):
“It was certainly one of our better days so far this season. I am very pleased that we seem to be competitive here. We still found it hard to find the right set-up today and I was struggling through the infield section as we had an oversteer balance issue. But we had good straight-line speed which is vital for this circuit and we made good progress throughout both sessions, so it was a good day.”

Jarno Trulli, Toyota (23rd, +2.436s):
"It was a difficult day due to some problems with the sensors on my car. We also had a lot of graining on our tyres and I had some understeer. We tried to put in a long run in order to understand that better but it has been a disrupted day's work for us. It's hard to predict how we will get on here because it's another track where we do no testing. But while we still have some work to do on reliability, our car is improving with every race. If we get the right conditions and we can get the most out of our tyres then we can expect to be competitive."

Nico Rosberg, Williams (24th, +2.549s):
“The main target for me today was learning this track and I got on pretty well with it. We made some changes throughout the session which moved us in the right direction and the car improved. Driving through the bank of the Speedway is interesting, but I am not sure I would enjoy driving an entire race round an oval!”

David Coulthard, Red Bull (25th, +2.663s):
“I’m not sure how much of the programme Robert was able to get through before he stopped. Without the tyre comparison info, we’ve basically got a fifty-fifty chance of getting it right, but at the moment it’s looking quite clear which one we should opt for. We might have lost a little bit of info regarding the car’s set-up, which is one of the things you use the third car for. Other than that, there’s not a great deal to say about the session. We had some oversteer and in trying to balance it out we took out more and more front flap to try and cam it down, but I think we went a little over the top.”

Robert Doornbos, third driver, Red Bull (26th, +s):
“It didn’t work out too well this morning, as we struggled with the set up of the car. We did our homework in between sessions and I worked with the engineers to try and improve the car, which was important for the long runs in the afternoon. In the second session we started the first long run, but after a couple of laps we had a gear box failure so it was a very short Friday for me. I hope it’s the first and the last!”

Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (27th, +2.826s):
"The circuit was very slippery today and unfortunately we couldn't complete our programme of work because we had a lot of vibrations on our car. We tried to rectify the problem but it returned towards the end of the second session. So that meant we were unable to put in a lot of laps today and tonight we will need to double-check what is causing the issue. At one point Sato lost a piece of bodywork from his Super Aguri in front of me and I was hit but it doesn't seem to have caused any damage. Now we have to look to tackle these problems for the rest of the weekend."

Sakon Yamamoto, third driver, Super Aguri (28th, +3.050s):
“I would like to thank everyone in the team for their hard work during the sessions today. As the Canadian Grand Prix was only one week ago I came to Indianapolis with my confidence high. I had a very good day today. We completed our very important tyre comparison and I think that we have collected very good data for the team."

Franck Montagny, Super Aguri (29th, +3.107s):
“It was not a good testing day for me. This morning was quite good and everything worked okay, but we went out a bit early which affected the tyres. So after this it was very hard to find something good for the set-up of the car and we also had a small electrical problem towards the end of the session. I then made a mistake into turn 4 at the beginning of the second session. The car was very pointy and I spun and finished the session there, so overall it was not a good day.”