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Friday practice - selected driver quotes 08 Sep 2006

(L to R): Pedro de la Rosa (ESP) McLaren with Martin Whitmarsh (GBR) McLaren Chief Executive Officer.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Italian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monza, Italy, 8 September 2006 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Italian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monza, Italy, 8 September 2006 Christijan Albers (NDL) MF1 Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Italian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monza, Italy, 8 September 2006 (L to R): Frank Dernie (GBR) Williams Special Projects Manager with Alex Wurz (AUT) Williams Third Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Italian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monza, Italy, 8 September 2006

An interesting first day at Monza, with impressive performances from rookie Sebastian Vettel, who was fastest for BMW Sauber, Franck Montagny a fantastic 10th for Super Aguri and Christijan Albers - 11th quickest in his Midland. Here, they and their rivals shed some light on Friday’s practice sessions and look ahead to qualifying on Saturday…

Sebastian Vettel, third driver, BMW Sauber (1st, 1m 22.631s):
“This morning it wasn’t too easy for me as since the test here I have been driving Formula 3, but the step up from Formula 3 to Formula One is easier than the other way round. I really enjoy driving this car as it is just fantastic. Apart from the joy of what I am doing and quick lap times, the most important aspect of my job is to provide the team and the race drivers with valuable information.”

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (2nd, +0.507s):
“It’s a bit too early to make any snap judgments. It is only Friday and usually, we see that things can change quickly during the weekend. I would say we had a normal day. The times are slower compared with last week and that is down to the fact the track is not as rubbered-in. Having the same engine that I used in the last Grand Prix is not a disadvantage compared to my main rival. We have simulated the situation in testing and there were no problems. Of course I want to win, but I don’t think the gap we saw today will stay like this through the weekend. However, as usual I will give it my all!”

Felipe Massa, Ferrari (3rd, +0.551s):
"Generally a positive day. We worked on confirming what we had seen in testing at this track last week and we are competitive. Again today, the car was very stable and performed consistently and equally good was the performance of the Bridgestone tyres. It all means I can be confident for the rest of the weekend which is a very important one in terms of our chances in both championships.”

Alexander Wurz, third driver, Williams (4th, +0.783s):
“Obviously we had quite a lot of knowledge from the test here last week, nevertheless we still went through a more or less normal Friday procedure today, which is mainly tyre comparison. I am pretty confident about which way we will be going with tyre choice and we also managed to find a good balance on the car. Now we just need to analyse today’s work compared to what we found at the test. Otherwise I think I’ve prepared the car quite well for the race drivers in terms of brakes, balance and how to manage the car on a high fuel load.”

Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (5th, +1.399s):
"We completed our planned programme and gained additional data. I was testing here last week for a few days, so we already had a good basis. It's always challenging to find the right set-up here at Monza as you need to find a compromise between low downforce on the straights and enough grip through the fast corners and chicanes."

Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (6th, +1.403s):
"A good start to the weekend. We checked our race set-up and evaluated the Michelin tyres and are very confident about what direction we are going to take. I like this track, and we will get a clearer picture of what is possible tomorrow."

Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (7th, +1.699s):
“So far so good. We didn’t have any problems and the tyres we got for Monza from Michelin worked. Our test here was good. The low downforce aero package works. Between the test and the race weekend we made some modifications and we haven’t had any surprises yet.”

Fernando Alonso, Renault (8th, +1.946s):
“We ran a lot here last week, so today was all about checking off some specific jobs for the race, and testing the tyres. The Michelins seem very consistent, and the performance was right there from the first lap too. The times suggest we are not so quick, especially compared to Ferrari, but this is Friday and we know how much things can change through the weekend. I had a bit too much understeer today that meant I couldn't attack the corners as I wanted to, but we will dial this out overnight and I am confident the car will feel good tomorrow. I think we have made a good start to the weekend, and we now need to build on this.”

Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (9th, +2.182s):
“In the first free practice I did just a couple of laps to check the heat in the tyres and that everything was okay. This afternoon I continued with the same set of tyres, and we are quite positive the tyres are working well, at least for me. We have some data from the third car, but it is good I have done some driving so feel safe with our choice. Everyone is trying to keep a low profile so we will see tomorrow where we end up.”

Franck Montagny, third driver, Super Aguri (10th, +2.312s):
“We had a lot of problems today unfortunately. This morning I could only do a few laps, which is quite frustrating when I come to the circuit and I only run for 2 hours over the whole weekend. In the afternoon we also had a little problem on the car which did not allow us to complete our programme but we could complete our tyre programme. I'm quite happy with the lap time and for the team because this is the first time the car is in this position and I believe the race will be okay. But still I have a little bit of frustration because I would like to do some more laps, more running and more testing, but I'm quite happy because the guys did a good job today.”

Christijan Albers, Midland (11th, +2.354s):
"I don't know how realistic the times were today, because in practice, you can never be sure what the other teams are doing. We just ran through our normal Friday programme and we'll see where we stand tomorrow. But at least everything is working well: the engine feels strong and there were no mechanical issues to speak of. So, in that respect, it was OK, but we still have a lot of work to do. We have some set-up issues to sort out, and the car is still quite difficult to drive. But, as usual, we will find a way to improve from today to tomorrow, so I'm not overly concerned.

Jarno Trulli, Toyota (12th, +2.396s):
"We did not do as much running as usual today because we already had some data collected from our test here last week. The conditions were similar today so that made it a relatively straightforward Friday. The car is well balanced and we have no major problems so far. Toyota has made a huge improvement at recent races with the performance of the car. The team has worked hard with development and they are still pushing. Last week's test was promising so I expect to have a good weekend."

Nico Rosberg, Wiliams (13th, +2.409s):
“I had a good session today, we tried a few things out, some of which worked, some didn’t, but all of this will help with our preparation for the rest of the weekend alongside what we found here at the test last week. We spent some time looking at the best balance between wing level and top speed. I was also very happy with the tyres today and the Bridgestones are performing well here at Monza. With what I learnt today and all the data gathered from Alex, we will spent tonight putting all the pieces together for tomorrow.”

Christian Klien, Red Bull (14th, +2.477s):
“I was very happy with the sessions today. It’s a high-speed circuit here in Monza, which is a lot fun to drive and I like it. I did two runs today and, as we were testing here for two days last week, the set up was already quite good. We knew what we had before starting and it worked out well. The car was balanced nicely and I could improve my lap times in the second run. The tyres were working well too, so a good day so far.”

Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (15th, +2.529s):
“Last week's test meant we could do a lot of preparation for the race, and today was just about checking the car really. We were conservative in the way we ran the car, especially for me as my engine has already done a hard race in Turkey. The car balance isn't perfect yet and we have some understeer, but we did our programme, did the tests we wanted to and now need to study the data overnight. The performance wasn't fantastic today, but I am not worried for the rest of the weekend.”

Tiago Monteiro, Midland (16th, +2.646s):
"I'd have to say it was a pretty productive day from my point of view, and I think we're going in the right direction. We didn't look out of place all day, and I think we'll be even better as the weekend progresses. I was blocked on my last lap of the afternoon on new tyres, so we couldn't get a proper reference time. But considering the split times, it would have been a pretty nice lap, so that gives us a good measure of confidence heading into tomorrow."

Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (17th, +2.685s):
"It was good for me to do quite a few laps today because I had to cut short my test here last week due to a stomach problem. I have now recovered from that and today was a normal day of practice. We still have some work to do on the car but we collected most of the data that we needed for the weekend. The test also went quite well for us so we will hope to produce a strong performance here over the next two days. We continue to improve our pace and we are all determined to convert that into a good result."

David Coulthard, Red Bull (18th, +2.687s):
“A normal Friday I think. Nothing particularly extraordinary happened so there’s nothing really to report. It’s a circuit with very high-speed straights and we don’t have very good straight line speed so, on the face of it, it’s not that well suited to our car.”

Anthony Davidson, third driver, Honda (19th, +2.725s):
"Whilst today's problems are obviously disappointing, the positives are that we know the car is competitive here and we have plenty of data from three days' testing here last week. Had this been any other race track we would be really struggling data-wise going into tomorrow but at least we have a good baseline and the car was feeling good. We will have to wait for the outcome of the investigations to talk about how we might fare for the rest of the weekend."

Mark Webber, Williams (20th, +2.869s):
“It all went well today and we had a good standard Friday and managed to run through our programme without any problems. We will plug all of what we have learnt together tonight in preparation for tomorrow.”

Giorgio Mondini, third driver, Midland (21st, +2.955s):
"Today was not a good day for me, to say the least. I encountered technical problems in the morning that reduced my running time, and that pushed back our whole programme. I was able to run later on, but not at 100 percent, so I really feel that my times were not indicative of what we're capable of. Hopefully, I was able to provide the engineers with enough data to give Tiago and Christian a good chance in qualifying tomorrow."

Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (22nd, +3.076s):
“Everything is fine with the car, which is what we could expect as we tested here for three days last week. But to be honest, there is still some more work to do in tomorrow’s free practice to be in the best possible shape for qualifying and the race. But I think we are on the right track.”

Scott Speed, Toro Rosso (23rd, +3.124s):
“I think the car feels better today than it did last week when I was here testing for a day and a half. It feels generally more stable. That improvement comes mainly from the tyres. The balance of the car seems fine to me, it feels better than last week, but until I’ve had a good chance to look at all the data, I’m not sure where we stand.”

Neel Jani, third driver, Toro Rosso (24th, +3.247s):
“I struggled a little bit more with grip than at last week’s test, but generally things went well. In the afternoon, I did the usual simulation runs in race trim: I think I had enough fuel on board to drive home to Switzerland and back! I did not have grip on my first two timed laps, but the other two drivers did not have this, so maybe it was something in the settings on my car. But the long run went well.”

Robert Doornbos, third driver, Red Bull (25th, +3.427s):
“I wasn’t testing here last week so that was the first time that I’d driven the circuit this year. It’s good fun, but it was a disappointing day today. I just couldn’t get it together. I struggled with the set-up and the tyres, and I think it could be a tough weekend to be honest.”

Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (26th, +3.487s):
“The team has done a lot of work since the last Monza test and it was good to see how the car had improved today. As a team we encountered a few problems, but I had a quite trouble free day and completed our required programme. It was very good to see the running of the third car, which has collected important data from the tyres and has shown very good performance and what the car can do. Obviously we will continue to work on improving the set-up for even better performance tomorrow.”

Sakon Yamamoto, Super Aguri (27th, +4.074s):
“Today we completed a good amount of running in preparation for tomorrow. We did not encounter any major issues until the end of the second session when I had a small transmission problem and I missed the last 20 minutes of running, which was a bit of a shame. But until then we could try a lot of things and we were improving all the time. Franck did a good job I think, so we're going to look at all of the data now and prepare for tomorrow.”