Friday practice - selected driver quotes 25 Aug 2006
Istanbuls weather may be calmer than that at the last round in Hungary, but Friday practice still saw upsets - in terms of timings at least. Rookie Sebastian Vettel took top spot on his first outing for BMW Sauber, while the Renaults languished in 12th and 18th, both cars struggling with tyre graining. And it was another good day for Super Aguri, whose race drivers outpaced their Midland counterparts...
Sebastian Vettel, third driver, BMW Sauber (1st, 1m 28.091s):
I am surprised at this result. It has been difficult for me as I didnt know the circuit and have had only one proper Formula One test. However, I felt very comfortable, I was able to deliver some information and on top of it all it was great! What happens in the fast corners is just indescribable. My second session was a lot quicker, and on top of that I learnt two Formula One lessons on my first day. In the first session I forgot to press the pit lane speed limiter, which is going to be expensive, and after the second session the system chose me for a drug test.
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (2nd, +0.073s):
All in all a positive day. We have worked a lot on tyre choice for the race and we have ended up with a pretty clear picture of the situation. First impressions are that the car is well balanced. I am happy about that and I am confident that we can be competitive. Yes, its only Friday but at least everything is in place for me to feel this way.
Jenson Button, Honda (3rd, +0.415s):
"I'm pleased with the way today has gone. So we'll sit down with Michelin this evening and discuss which is the better tyre option for the weekend. I had a small mechanical problem at the start of this afternoon's session, which cost me some time when we had to take the floor off, but everything is okay. The changes that we've made over the day have been positive so I'm happy with where we are at the moment."
Anthony Davidson, third driver, Honda (4th, +0.507s):
"It is my first time here at Istanbul Park so it was really nice to finally drive the circuit. It's quite tough physically as well as technically challenging. It was important to get a good balance for the first lap and also the long runs today, which we were focusing on. The failure in the first session was a shame because I was going really well up until then and setting some really quick laps. Overall the car felt good all day and we have some good data to work on for tomorrow and Sunday."
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (5th, +0.523s):
"Turkey is a very nice country and we have again been well received in Istanbul. There is lots of interest in F1 around the city so it is a good place to come to race. Today we made it through our programme of tyre and set-up work as we hoped so that was a painless day. The car felt good today too so we should be reasonably happy with that. With this year's cars Turn 8 is a little easier than last year but it is still a very fast corner. We were competitive at the last few races before the August break and we have an improved aerodynamic package here so we hope to show a strong performance over the weekend."
Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (6th, +0.728s):
Today, I have at last been able to find out how demanding this track is. Last year we were here with a package that was absolutely not competitive, while today the situation is completely different and driving the 248 F1 on this track is really good fun. I am quite satisfied with the way things went: the fact that I set my fastest time at the end of the session and therefore on used tyres is certainly a good sign. I am confident and hope to continue on this path tomorrow and Sunday. Clearly the heat seems to suit us and our tyres.
Robert Doornbos, third driver, Red Bull (7th, +0.757s):
Its a great circuit here and Turkeys a great place to be. We were unfortunate today as the car had some problems, meaning we lost track time and werent that competitive. But, most importantly, we have an answer on the tyres, which is what were here for so thats good. I had a bit of an incident towards the end of the session. Everyones trying to put in good laps, I was on a good time and ended up in a bit of a chicken game with Alonso. It was a case of whos going to brake latest, but thats all there was to it.
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (8th, +0.951s):
"A strong start to the weekend. We were evaluating our Michelin tyres and got some good data. I really like this track and am looking forward to the rest of the weekend. The car feels good, and we could have gone a lot quicker, which is always a good feeling to have after a Friday's work."
Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (9th, +1.021s):
"Both sessions were good for us for us and Kimi and I ran a parallel Michelin tyre evaluation programme. We are now absolutely sure which compound we will choose. I really enjoyed today's practice on this track with its flowing and fast layout. It is really fun to drive, except turn eight which is rather bumpy."
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (10th, +1.123s):
"A pretty straightforward day for us today although this morning I had a few set-up issues. This afternoon the car felt a little better and I'm quite pleased with the balance of the car now. There is some work to do to improve but generally I think we are moving in the right direction."
Giorgio Mondini, third driver, Midland (11th, +1.628s):
"It was a very good session from my point of view. We ran through the program without any problems. I trained very hard during my absence from the team, so my fitness was good, even with the counter-clockwise track and the high loads in Turn 8. It`s difficult to say how much the car has improved since the last time I drove it, because each track is different, but it certainly got better between this morning and the afternoon. The team did a great job, and we're moving in a good direction with regard to tyre choice."
Fernando Alonso, Renault (12th, +1.650s):
It was a pretty normal Friday for me: we tried the tyres, did some laps to get comfortable with the circuit again and started to think about the set-up changes for the rest of the weekend. Obviously, we struggled with bad tyre graining after the first few laps, but the car initially felt competitive so I think we can be fighting for pole tomorrow, when the track rubbers in. Overall, we have learned some useful information today, and I am confident the car will be quick for the rest of the weekend.
Neel Jani, third driver, Toro Rosso (13th, +1.767s):
I think it could be a tough weekend for us as we need to find more pace. My lap times dont mean much as my quick ones always seemed to involve a lot of traffic. We got through the programme but I think we might struggle a bit on this track.
Scott Speed, Toro Rosso (14th, +1.799s):
Well, that was not looking so bad was it!? In fact it is looking good for us. Why? Because this track seems to suit our car very well. I feel very good in myself too. Like a lot of circuits this season, this is the first time I have driven this track in an F1 car and this is a difficult one to learn. I expect Suzuka to be toughest, but this is number 2 on the list. It is hard, especially the long left hander at Turn 8. Its pretty much going to be flat and its a bit insane, although I dont feel its dangerous, because there is so much space, but you really need to believe in what youre doing there.
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (15th, +1.915s):
"It feels good to be back on track after our short August break. Istanbul is a nice city and the facilities at the circuit are outstanding so I enjoy coming here. After the cold and wet conditions we saw in Budapest I'm glad to see it's hot and sunny here. That should be good for us because our car has always performed well in these conditions. Today showed that we still have work to do on set-up, but we have quite a few aerodynamic improvements this weekend so we expect to edge closer to the pace of the top teams. We have been steadily improving our performance so if we can stay reliable we can hope for a good finish."
Franck Montagny, third driver, Super Aguri (16th, +2.400s):
First of all thanks to the mechanics because I know that the car arrived late and that they worked overnight to prepare it. Unfortunately this morning we had problems so we could not set up the car correctly and this afternoon we had a lot of work to do on the tyres. To start with I was not too happy about the set-up of the car as it was very nervous, but we didn't really have time to work on it, so we did a good job considering that. Two hours running is always a little bit too short, but I'm happy to be back driving with the team and to give some information and feedback that I hope will be useful for the weekend.
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (17th, +2.411s):
I didnt do a lot of driving, as I only did five timed laps. This has given us some idea about the best set-up, which we have to improve on, and me some idea about this track. We will have to see how we go tomorrow, as we still have the third free practice to work on the car before qualifying. The track is new to me and I like it, but would have liked to do a few more laps.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (18th, +2.413s):
I had the same bad tyre graining as Fernando after the first timed laps - except I also hit traffic when I was on the quickest laps at the start of the run. So I think the times make it look like we are a bit off the pace today, but Friday is never a reliable indicator of how things will shape up for the rest of the weekend. We need to work hard overnight to improve, but I am confident we can be back in our normal positions tomorrow afternoon.
Alexander Wurz, third driver, Williams (19th, +2.418s):
We had a problem-free day today and managed our full programmes in both the first and second sessions. We will now have to analyse the data carefully because its not obvious which tyre to select. Our engineering meeting will be a very interesting process because the circuit changed with all the variables from wind conditions, the surface cleaning up and the rubber being laid down, so I have no doubt that making the right tyre choice will be the key factor this weekend.
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (20th, +2.460s):
This was a reasonably good Friday. Tyre performance is critical here and this morning I destroyed my front right tyre and that affected our running especially towards the end of the session. But the car is responding well to the set-up changes we have made and I think we can make some progress tomorrow morning.
Mark Webber, Williams (21st, +2.684s):
It was an interesting Friday and we got through everything we needed to, so we have all the information we require to make our tyre comparisons. It would be good to find some extra pace, but we have seen this before where we are not topping the times on Fridays, but its a different situation on Saturdays. Alex did a lot of good race work for us, so we have plenty of homework tonight. I am looking forward to seeing how tomorrow will turn out.
Christian Klien, Red Bull (22nd, +2.798s):
The second session was a lot more exciting as I did three runs, rather than just one installation lap! The track is nice to drive here and I like it a lot. We were a little off with the car balance for our first run, which meant there was a lot of oversteer, but we changed the set up and it was better by the end. We suffered quite a lot of graining today, but that should improve tomorrow and well keep on working hard for a good result.
Nico Rosberg, Wiliams (23rd, +2.924s):
I think it was a pretty good practice session which I spent getting the car and myself prepared for the track and by the end of the hour, it felt really good, I was really happy with the car. The next decision is to look through everything and make our tyre choice.
Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (24th, +3.000s):
It was a very important day for us; to shakedown the SA06. We did not encounter any major problems, which is great. Franck completed a respectable amount of running with a few set-up changes and collected valuable tyre data. I was relying on that as I did not run in the first session, as we had planned. During the second session we ran the normal installation lap to check that everything was okay and then ran through our planned programme. The car seems to be working well and if everything is okay when we look at the SA06s data tonight, we will continue to update the car tomorrow.
Sakon Yamamoto, Super Aguri (25th, +3.225s):
Today was a good start for this race weekend for me. It was the first time for me to drive the circuit but I was able to learn the layout quickly this morning. During this afternoons session we worked on improving our set-up and I am happy with the result so I think that we are ready for tomorrow.
Tiago Monteiro, Midland (26th, +3.428s):
"Today was alright, considering we stayed on the same set of tyres all day. We didn't want to waste a new set, preferring instead to keep them for tomorrow. By the time we wrapped up, this afternoon, my tyres were very well worn. Fortunately, we managed to find a pretty good balance toward the end, and that's the main thing, really. Every time we went in some direction that didn't work, I came back in, and the team made the appropriate corrections to get us back on the right track. My engineers and mechanics did a terrific job today, so hopefully that will pay off tomorrow with continued improvements."
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (27th, +3.435s):
I really like driving here. Corner eight is a great corner and has remained so even with this years V8 engines. I imagine it can be flat in qualifying. Sometimes new track surfaces change a lot after their first winter and develop a lot of bumps, but this one hasnt changed since 2005.
David Coulthard, Red Bull (28th, +3.449s):
I had a spin exiting Turn six and my tyres needed rebalancing as a result, so my second session finished early. The tracks pretty bumpy, which is similar to last year and Turn eight is as challenging as we thought it would be. But, that said, its one corner, it doesnt make or break the lap as youve all the other corners to negotiate too, but its certainly challenging.
Christijan Albers, Midland (29th, +4.011s):
"It's very difficult to explain how frustrated I feel right now. This is the third time in a row that we've had a really bad Friday. Midland and Toyota have to push hard together as a team, to look at the data and analyse what's going on, because in Formula 1, we can't afford to have these kinds of failures."