Friday practice - selected driver quotes 13 Apr 2007
Boasting some of the closest times we have seen so far this season, the opening day in Bahrain was action-packed. Here all 22 drivers report on their early progress in preparation for the Sakhir race. Note - all positions and times refer to Practice 2.
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari (1st, 1m 33.527s):
"It is too early to say where everyone stands, but the performance levels of the top teams seems to be very close. Today, it was difficult to find the right balance of the car, partly because at this track, the wind makes the car difficult to drive. Towards the end of the second session, we found some good settings and now we must keep on that track to find a bit more speed to keep ahead of the rest. But all in all we can be satisfied with the work we have done today."
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (2nd, +0.013s):
"It has been a positive session today. In the first practice the track was very dirty and slippery so there was no point spending too much time looking at the set-up. In the second session we began our fine tuning and completed a couple of long runs. I think I was quicker and more consistent than previously in the long runs which is positive and there is definitely more to come. We now have quite a bit of data to look at but so far so good."
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (3rd, +0.205s):
"The second session was better, but we still have balance problems. We used the spare car for the second practice because this morning I faced the same problems as in Malaysia. This one is more consistent and so now we have to analyse why this happens. We changed the set-up a bit because the car's handling is still not perfect, but things are not looking bad. The track was very dirty, especially in the morning session. When we tested here before Australia we did thirty ones and now we are doing thirty threes, but of course there is some time coming as the rubber goes down as long as there is no rain. If it rains again it will be the same story, and if the wind comes there will be sand on the track and that can change the conditions quite a lot."
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (4th, +0.245s):
"I am pretty happy with the handling of the car, which has allowed me to be very consistent in terms of performance over long runs. We have a good point from which to work over the rest of the weekend. In particular, we have to work on improving our performance on the first lap on new tyres. It all looks very close, but we have everything we need to do well in qualifying and in the race."
Fernando Alonso, McLaren (5th, +0.257s):
"Two trouble-free practice sessions where we made positive progress. The track was very dirty and continued to improve throughout the session. We spent our time perfecting the set-up and evaluating the tyres. I completed some long runs and all in all I think we are closer to the Ferraris than we have been so far this season on a Friday but its a long weekend so we will see what happens."
Alexander Wurz, Williams (6th, +0.446s):
Today we had a little bit of work to do because we didnt test here over the winter. Nevertheless, I think that we are now just about there with the others. I did a tyre comparison at the end of session two and some set-up work over both and I now have quite a good idea where well go for Saturdays qualifying and Sundays race. So far, then, were on target.
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (7th, +0.549s):
"For me everything was trouble-free today, although to begin with the car's balance was not exactly how it was during the test here six weeks ago. We had to look into why we have oversteer, but we worked on that. I am quite happy. Also our long runs have been okay."
Nico Rosberg, Williams (8th, +0.662s):
It wasnt so easy this morning but the track quickly improved so we improved as well. We found some good set-up solutions today. We went in the right direction and we caught up relatively quickly considering we didnt test here. Track conditions seem to be quite different from how they were in the test so, from that point of view, thats good for us. Our long run pace was also ok. We now just need to work on our qualifying performance overnight and during tomorrow mornings practice session.
David Coulthard, Red Bull (9th, +0.832s):
Conditions were tricky out there today, due to all the dust and everything that's gone down onto the track since we had the test here. Of course, the test gives you the benefit of having run through quite a few set up changes, but there were a few people going off the track and running wide. For us, it's quite clear where we are with our tyre choice, so let's see what tomorrow brings, it's very tight in the mid-field.
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (10th, +0.839s):
The fact that we tested here before the season obviously means that all the teams have a lot of recent experience of this circuit. Still, this was a standard Friday for us testing tyres and set-up although the conditions have been difficult. The track is as dusty as usual and when the wind changes direction it can have a major effect on the cars balance. So we have to make adjustments to cope with that and we still need to work a bit on the set-up tonight. Of late this track hasnt been particularly kind to us but now we must push to make the top ten tomorrow and aim for the points again.
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (11th, +0.864s):
"Obviously we saw a good improvement towards the end of the afternoon and right at the close of the session the car was better than it has been at any other time today. We worked a lot on the car during the two sessions and made some major changes but there is a long way to go yet because we are nowhere near where we need to be with the balance."
Heikki Kovalainen, Renault (12th, +1.058s):
The final positions look worse than they did last week, but I think that the feeling about our competitiveness is much better. The car is better to drive than last week, and the changes we made definitely took us in the right direction during the two practice sessions. I am feeling more comfortable as well, so all in all I am quite happy. Tomorrow will be tough, but that is the situation we are in at the moment, and we will be fighting hard to get into the final round of qualifying.
Anthony Davidson, Super Aguri (13th, +1.068s):
We had a bit of a frustrating morning with a gearbox issue after the first stint. But after that was rectified we had a very good second session and found a good balance, especially on the soft Bridgestone Potenza tyre and got a good first lap balance at the end of the day. I am confident about the grip levels on the longer runs as well. The hard tyre is a different story, but I think that the gap should close between the two types of tyre, like we saw in Malaysia, over the weekend.
Mark Webber, Red Bull (14th, +1.150s):
The first session was difficult for us and we worked hard over the break to improve the car for the second session. We definitely made good progress, the guys worked well and in the second practice the car had better balance. We understand the tyres pretty well here, and overall I'd say we're in about the same shape as we were for the last two races, so we're going along okay."
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (15th, +1.269s):
My long run in the second session was very consistent and the feeling with the car was good. And then, on my quick lap at the end, I ran wide, so I know there is more performance to come over a single lap. The car felt more consistent to drive, but it felt good on Friday last week as well - then we struggled in qualifying. So our challenge will be to produce a good level of performance tomorrow. It will still be a very close fight to get into the top ten, but I think we had a good day today, and hopefully that can help us to a better result tomorrow.
Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (16th, +1.474s):
It was a good first day. We have maintained our momentum from last week in terms of long run pace, and also from the test here before the opening race when we tried a lot of SA07 aero configurations. I am happy with the consistency of the car, but we will work on increasing our speed for tomorrow.
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (17th, +1.741s):
"A good day overall, with no big problems on the car. We worked mainly on evaluating the different tyres to see which to choose for qualifying and the race. I am quite happy that the car seemed to respond very well to all the set-up modifications we made. Also, our pace was quite good today, which means we have made a little bit of progress since last weekend. But the big step won't come until later so the important thing this weekend is to get as many kilometers as possible under our belt."
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (18th, +1.900s):
Overall it was a reasonable day for us. We made it through a lot of work without any major problems so I am fairly happy with that. Grip was a struggle, though. The track was slippery in the beginning so that made it a bit difficult. It became better during the day as more rubber was put down and the dust was cleaned off. This wasnt a good race for us last year but we come into this years grand prix with points from the last two races. Now we must look to build on that here over the weekend.
Adrian Sutil, Spyker (19th, +2.055s):
"It was a good first day in Bahrain. I like the track with its long straights and hard braking down into tight corners. I think our car suits it very well; it's important to have a quick car with good traction. I'm quite happy with my balance, it's much better than in Malaysia and the gap to the front is not that big."
Scott Speed, Toro Rosso (20th, +2.160s):
"The car definitely feels more competitive than it did when I drove it here in the pre-season test, but that's only to be expected. More importantly, the car feels more competitive than it did last week in Malaysia. That's great news, as we did not really expect that. Now we will have to see if that stays true for the rest of the weekend. We have made a lot of changes to the car set-up since last weekend. We are chipping away and learning more and more about the car, so this has been a useful day."
Christijan Albers, Spyker (21st, +2.308s):
"'I felt happier in the second session with the balance of the car; it felt better when there is more rubber on the track. We're getting closer to finding a reasonable set-up, we've still got a lot of work to do, but I know we will be ready for tomorrow."
Jenson Button, Honda (22nd, +2.552s):
"The car is the same as it was in Malaysia so it would have been unrealistic for us to expect any improvement on where we were last week. However we aren't as slow as we appeared today because I only had the chance to run on old tyres in the second session before I had the engine failure. There is still work we can do on the balance to make the car a little bit better for tomorrow, but we have a lot to do and it's going to be another long hard race."