Friday practice - selected driver quotes 06 Apr 2007
A total of 24 drivers were in action at Sepang on Friday - all of them report back on their early progress in preparation for the Malaysian Grand Prix. Note - each driver's time is his best from the two sessions.
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (1st, 1m 34.972s):
"All things considered, we can say this has been a good day. We tried both types of tyre available to us and also tried various set-up changes on the F2007, starting off from the basis of what we learnt in the test last week at this track. Obviously, there is still a lot to do with qualifying and the race in mind, but the weekend has got off to a positive start. I hope we can continue in that way!"
Fernando Alonso, McLaren (2nd, 1m 35.220s):
"The team tested here last week when most of the set-up was done so we had a good basis for todays practice. There is now some more data added to the file which we will look at overnight, but everything went as expected. I spent some time just getting used to Sepang again as I wasnt testing last week, but there were no surprises, and I really enjoy this track.
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (3rd, 1m 35.712s):
"This is my first Malaysian Grand Prix, but I got to know the circuit well during last weeks test. The heat and humidity are as I expected and have trained for. The practice today was pretty straight forward, and we made further steps. The circuit conditions are constantly changing which makes it challenging to find the right balance. Im looking forward to qualifying tomorrow.
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari (4th, 1m 35.779s):
"It's been a reasonably good day, even though I am not completely happy with the set-up of my car. We still have to find the right settings, similar to those we had last week at the test. Having said that, I still believe we can fight for first place both in qualifying and the race, although at the moment it is hard to have a clear picture of the whole situation. The difference between the two types of tyre? Not much, especially when it comes to consistency in lap times."
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (5th, 1m 35.910s):
It was a pretty normal Friday for me, and we managed to do a lot more running than in Australia, which is a good start. The balance of the car is not too bad, but we are lacking grip, and that marks the car nervous and inconsistent to drive. Of course, the hot conditions always mean grip levels are lower, but we made some decent progress today - and hopefully that can continue tomorrow. Physically, it was tough out there today, especially as I have been suffering from the flu in the past couple of day. But by Sunday, I am confident everything will be OK.
Heikki Kovalainen, Renault (6th, 1m 36.106s):
It was a really good Friday for me, especially compared to the first day of practice in Australia. After the test last week, it was good to complete another 60 laps today and get in tune with the circuit again. In terms of the car's handling, it was quite like the final day of the test: the balance wasn't too bad, and improved in line with the circuit conditions, just as it will have done for all the drivers. The heat makes life tough here, and it is going to be a long, hard race but I feel well prepared after the test. In terms of competitiveness, we don't really know where we stand at the moment, as we can't know what the other teams were doing. But the picture will become clearer tomorrow.
Nico Rosberg, Williams (7th, 1m 36.308s):
We have found a couple of reasonable set-ups over the two sessions today, but its hard to say where we really are at the moment. We will know a little bit more by tomorrow after the last free practice session.
Mark Webber, Red Bull (8th, 1m 36.522s):
"We did our programme as planned this morning, but had a few running problems in the afternoon, which didn't really help too much, But, we got through most of the programme. It would have been nice to do a bit more running this afternoon, but that's the way it goes. I'm not sure what the problem was that we had at the end of the second session."
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (9th, 1m 36.597s):
Since the beginning of the day Ive been struggling so we will have to look into that tonight. The track was short of grip early on and I found myself sliding with all four wheels. The car has been inconsistent and it has not responded to the set-up changes weve made. And while the track improved I actually got worse with the same set-up. So something strange is happening and now we need to investigate why. Still, I like this track and I have always performed pretty well here. The weather is changeable and our forecasts say we may yet see some thunderstorms during the weekend.
Alexander Wurz, Williams (10th, 1m 36.621s):
I only drove in the afternoon today and the car felt very different from how it was in last weeks test, so we had to do a lot of work in the session to find the performance we had last week. We are still not completely satisfied, but we have practice tomorrow to improve upon where we are.
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (11th, 1m 36.717s):
"We have had many problems today. Some we were able to fix in second free practice, but there is still some more work to do to fix the rest."
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (12th, 1m 36.760s):
That was a reasonable day and good preparation for the rest of the weekend. Its obviously hot here and the conditions push the drivers to the limit. But I like the heat and last weeks testing was a good preparation for the weekend. Despite so many cars running here, the circuit was still very low on grip today. Still, we made it through our programme of work with no problems. We are comfortable with the track and the tyres were also working well. Its difficult to judge true performance after the first race but our goal is to get two cars into the top ten again and hopefully to take more points.
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (13th, 1m 36.862s):
"I am not happy with my car yet. Especially at the beginning of the session the balance was not good at all, and the car was difficult to drive. Although later we made a step in the right direction, there is still a lot of work to do."
Kazuki Nakajima, test driver, Williams (14th, 1m 36.885s):
I was happy with my performance this morning except for the mistake I made when I had a spin. Thanks to the team for recovering the car so we could get some extra laps in before the end. Initially we struggled with car balance, but we improved during practice and I think we will take some more steps going into P2 & P3. I have been here once before in a GT car, but I really enjoyed this circuit today - it is a challenge, some really attacking sections and then some more tricky stuff, but very enjoyable.
David Coulthard, Red Bull (15th, 1m 37.203s):
"There was an issue with brake pedal clearance in the steering column of my car this afternoon, which meant we had to make some modifications during the session. For some reason it was catching, so we lost a little bit of time and confidence adjusting that. Also, there were some sensor issues which affected performance a little. The track conditions seemed to be pretty much the same as when we were testing here last week."
Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (16th, 1m 37.282s):
I think it was a difficult day. Having completed a good test last week, we came back here with a positive attitude, but this morning we really struggled. Looking at the others, I thought that the track conditions weren't too bad, but we just could not get a good grip. In the afternoon we tried a slightly different approach and the car seemed to work better than in the morning, which I was happy with, but still I think we have to work a lot for tomorrow's session.
Jenson Button, Honda (17th, 1m 37.578s):
"Well, a tough day really trying to find a balance. Initially the circuit was very dusty but as the track improved through the day we were able to work on the car more. The fact remains however that we are still a long way from where we want to be."
Sebastian Vettel, test driver, BMW Sauber (18th, 1m 37.837s):
"I had a trouble-free morning. My main task was the comparison of the two different tyre specifications and we got a lot of data. This is a new track for me and I found it wide and relatively difficult to learn. Particularly in corners ten and 11 and 13 and 14 it was not easy to find the right line, but I got used to it pretty quickly."
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (19th, 1m 37.855s):
"We have found some improvements on the car in the slower sections, where the car is beginning to react quite nicely. We tried various mechanical changes that seemed to work. As we have said a few times already this year, we are still paying the price for not having tested much in the winter, but I am sure that the arrival of Giorgio Ascanelli brings us a plus and a lot of information and so I think we should be able to make a step forward quite soon."
Anthony Davidson, Super Aguri (20th, 1m 38.334s):
It was a difficult day for me. I couldn't find the balance in the car all day and so hopefully we can improve on this for tomorrow. The car didn't feel anything like it did in the test here last week, so it's a bit confusing. But Taku had a good day and proved that the car still has the pace that we had in Melbourne, so it's just up to me and the engineers to work on it overnight and get a nice balance for tomorrow.
Adrian Sutil, Spyker (21st, 1m 38.419s):
At first it was difficult as I had to learn the circuit and, with no testing data from last week, it was quite hard to find a good balance overall. But in the end we managed quite reasonable times and went better in the second practice. We fine-tuned the set-up and the performance of the car with the harder tyres and gained around a second. On the last outing I switched to the softer tyres, but unfortunately I had a yellow flag on my fastest lap and lost about three tenths. It was still a reasonable time, just 2.6secs off the pace, but I think we can improve tomorrow and leave some cars behind us.
Scott Speed, Toro Rosso (22nd, 1m 38.650s):
"Track conditions seem similar to those at last week's test, so no big surprises from that point of view. I'm glad we got that opportunity to test because today I never got much proper running. First off in the morning, I had to run the T-car, because it had never been used before today and that meant the usual stuff with a new car, like sorting out the pedals and the driving position. Then I had to sort out my own race car so I only really ran properly at the end of the second session. At first sight, my prognosis for here is the same as in Melbourne, meaning we are still quite a bit off the pace."
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (23rd, 1m 38.713s):
"It's simply the case that we have had a very bad day. To end the day where I am is obviously extremely frustrating. We were not able to improve the braking stability issues that we have, so all I can say is that we need to look at what we have learned today and try to find a solution that can get us back to where we were during the test last week."
Christijan Albers, Spyker (24th, 1m 39.807s):
We found it difficult to find a good set up and get a reasonable time, so we have to study the data tonight, both from the car and about my driving style too. Most important is to find the right balance, which we couldnt do today. Its such a shame about the puncture as I didnt get a chance to run on the softer tyre, which might have made a difference.