Friday practice - selected driver quotes 16 Mar 2007
Plenty of surprises on day one in Australia. Perhaps not the Ferrari one-two, but how about two Williams in the top eight, or Super Aguri out-pacing both Honda and Toyota? The drivers report back
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (1st, 1m 27.353s):
It was a good day. We did a good job of comparing the two types of dry weather tyre and this morning we also got the opportunity to run in the wet, which led us to see that the balance of the F2007 is pretty good. This was a positive start to the weekend, but of course what counts is tomorrows qualifying and most of all, Sundays race.
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari (2nd, + 0.397s):
We worked mainly on comparing the two types of tyre that we have, but I was a bit unlucky with the traffic and the red flag, which affected our programme. In any case, the car seems to be well balanced at this track and we managed to pick up a good base line of data to analyse today for qualifying and for the race.
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (3rd, + 0.476s):
"I was so excited when I drove out of the garage for the first time this morning - it was an incredible feeling as I have wanted to be a Formula 1 driver since I started karting and now I am and enjoying every single moment. The track is good particularly as I love street circuits and the whole atmosphere is amazing. Back at the McLaren Technology Centre we have done a lot of simulation work to prepare me for this weekend but it was good to actually drive it for real. The car feels good and the two sessions today were really useful."
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (4th, + 0.588s):
It was a bit of a mixed day for us - the performance of the car looked quite encouraging, especially on the longer runs, but our problems meant we didnt complete the programme. The set-up was not fantastic this morning, especially on the first lap, but we made good progress, and it was much more consistent during the afternoon session. The hard tyre is working well on our car, but we are suffering from some graining with the soft tyre at the moment, which is costing us performance. We still need to fine-tune the set-up, but the handling is OK, and now we need to try and match our long-run performance, on the first lap with new tyres.
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (5th, + 0.617s):
Im happy so far with the first day of the 2007 season. It looks like we have been able to confirm the positive impressions we had from our testing. In the morning the car was good in the rain, while in the afternoon session we almost completed our programme and the lap times were also okay. I lost some time in the garage due to an exhaust problem, but this wasnt too bad.
Alexander Wurz, Williams (6th, + 0.628s):
In the morning everyone had to deal with the wet and changing conditions, but the afternoon was a bit better. At the beginning of the session I was driving a little carefully, as I hadnt found a balance on the car, but towards the end with my long run it was improving a lot. We still have to optimise our package, so from a driving point of view, I will be able to attack more.
Fernando Alonso, McLaren (7th, + 0.687s):
"I'm really pleased to have started my first Grand Prix weekend with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes today. The weather conditions with the rain and the wind made things a bit tricky but we now have a good basis for the work ahead of us tomorrow. We almost completed the planned programme but the track conditions in the first session obviously had an impact. We are heading in the right direction which is positive and I'm looking forward to the next two days."
Nico Rosberg, Williams (8th, + 0.702s):
It was a pretty interesting session this afternoon. We really progressed very well after a slow start, but took our time and made good improvements, which is great. We eventually found some good set-up direction despite making some quite big changes. Like everybody else, we were trying tyres and with all the weather changes, the situation was not entirely clear and making our tyre choices will not be the easiest decision.
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (9th, + 0.928s):
I didnt run this morning, which was not a problem as it was wet, but the car was quite good at the beginning of the afternoon session. It is looking quite okay even though we have a few issues to resolve. We now have to analyse everything, improve the set up and I am sure we will be okay. I think we have a good chance for points here and so it will be a good start to the season.
David Coulthard, Red Bull (10th, + 1.142s):
Difficult track conditions today, but nonetheless we worked through our programme to evaluate the tyres and chassis balance. Changing between cars is not such a good thing to be honest (Coulthard used the T car for session one and his race car for session two), as no two cars are ever the same - but it helps to spread out the mileage.
Anthony Davidson, Super Aguri (11th, + 1.374s):
It was a good day and the car was reliable again. We experienced difficult weather conditions, especially in the morning, and it was decided that I would not run the grooved tyres like most other people did. The second session was a bit more difficult for me because of this, but it was a good day nonetheless and I am looking forward to tomorrow.
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (12th, + 1.568s):
Its good to be back racing again with a new year and a new challenge. There was not much grip out there in the morning but the afternoon session was trouble-free. So that was a positive day and Im looking forward to tomorrow. We have had a hard winter of testing but as the weekend progresses we will build up a clearer picture of where we stand. The new rules for Friday practice are much better for the drivers and for the teams but especially for the spectators who can finally see the cars running, which is what matters most.
Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (13th, + 1.656s):
I think it was a good start for us. We didn't have any issues with the car and everything went well straight away. We had to compromise a bit in the first session due to the mixed weather conditions, but it was good to experience both tyre options. I had a good first running in the SA07 and although I think that we have a lot to do before tomorrow, I am positive and hopefully we'll see more progress tomorrow.
Jenson Button, Honda (14th, + 1.713s):
"We had a straightforward day working through our planned programme and of course the changeable conditions gave me the chance to run the Bridgestone
Potenza wet tyres. It is good to be back racing again, however we are struggling to find a balance and our position today is a clear indication that there is a lot of work to be done to close the gap to where we want to be."
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (15th, + 2.189s):
"I had quite a good day and was getting into the groove and improving the car, apart from the small 'off' this afternoon, which put me out of the rest of the session. I just touched the grass, which was still wet from this morning, and that was it. I was generally happy with my times at that point as we were in the top ten, but overall we are aiming to do much better. We have a lot of work to do tonight to get to where we want to be in qualifying."
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (16th, + 2.221s):
Its always difficult to say where you stand on Friday but that was a decent afternoon of work. Other than the break for the red flag we didnt have any problems and we worked through our programme. The conditions were variable but that was not such a problem as a little drizzle doesnt affect the performance. The weather should now get better through the weekend but it will stay on our mind because we all know it can completely change within an hour in Melbourne. Weve had a mixed winter of testing so this weekend will be useful to find out exactly where we have to target our work.
Mark Webber, Red Bull (17th, + 2.448s):
The first session was dominated by the weather and everyone was getting used to the track as it dried out. We ran on intermediates and then changed to dry tyres towards the end of the practice. The first session enabled us to begin to get an idea of the cars balance before the race on Sunday, but I had a transmission problem in the second session and had to stop early.
Heikki Kovalainen, Renault (18th, + 2.744s):
It wasnt a perfect first day for me, but we got something done even so. It was only a minor problem that stopped the car, and that meant I lost the whole of the dry, second session - and I didnt manage to run the soft tyre at any point. When I was out on track, though, the car balance felt good and I feel I have learned the track without too many problems. It is a good, challenging layout - and it makes a nice change from driving round Jerez and Barcelona like I did most of last year! Of course, it will be important for me to make good use of tomorrow mornings session to catch up the lost time from today, but I think our pace looks pretty strong - and I am confident we will be in good shape.
Scott Speed, Toro Rosso (19th, + 3.030s):
As expected we are quite far behind at the moment as we learn about a lot of things that we should have done in testing. Lots of stuff on the car is brand new for today and so inevitably some of it didnt work. The one positive element is that it is clear that we will be able to develop this package through the season and can do something with it. Its going to be a tough time until we get some more testing under our belt, as we seem to be quite a way off the pace, unless some of those ahead of us were on low fuel loads.
Sebastian Vettel, test driver, BMW Sauber (20th, + 3.504s):
At the beginning of the session the conditions were extremely difficult. The entire track was very wet when I left the garage in the morning and, as Albert Park is not a permanent race track, it has a lot of white lines which are extremely slippery in the wet. The track dried out surprisingly quickly, but due to the changing conditions we could not collect as much information as we would have liked. But at least we showed we were pretty quick under wet conditions.
Adrian Sutil, Spyker (21st, + 3.755s):
Today was challenging as weve never run the car on a street track before and we struggled a little for grip and to get the tyres up to speed in the cool temperatures, but we know what we have to do. The circuit is not that difficult to get to know, but there are some tricky parts and there isnt much grip in places. As we saw when some of the top drivers went off, its easy to lock up and run wide, but I like the track a lot. I hope I will be even better in Qualifying than today.
Christijan Albers, Spyker (22nd, + 3.822s):
Even though today was a reasonably difficult day with the wet track and cold temperatures, I think it was quite productive. Everybody is ready for the fight; we know its not going to be easy but well be there tomorrow, trying our best to get the most out of the car and trying to understand the tyres as much as we can.
Kazuki Nakajima, test driver, Williams (23rd, + 4.048s):
At the start the track was really wet, so it was a little bit difficult out there for me. We started with the extreme wet tyre for the first 15 laps or so, but I didnt really get the opportunity to set a good lap time. Generally the car was pretty good whether it was wet or dry. Finally in the dry conditions late in the session everything was right to set a good lap time and in fact, I had some traffic in the last lap, so I might have been able to go even quicker. I didnt start out today expecting too much in my first official practice, but I was pleased with how it went.
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (24th, + 4.340s):
Quite a negative beginning. We had a few problems with the car, as it was very unstable at the rear. We did not really reach an understanding of what was causing it. Then I had a spin and damaged the rear wing and underside of the car, so I had to stop before the end of the session. That was a shame, because at the moment we really need to do as many kilometres as possible. Hopefully we can do more laps tomorrow.