Friday practice - selected driver quotes 11 May 2007
Glad to be back in the saddle after a four-week hiatus, all 22 drivers were keen to make an impression on Fridays timesheets in Spain. While some succeeded and some struggled, all found time to report back on their early progress at Barcelonas Circuit de Catalunya
(Note - all positions and times refer to Practice 2.)
Fernando Alonso, McLaren (1st, 1m 21.397s):
A great start to my home Grand Prix with a trouble free Friday practice. We went through the usual programme of tyre evaluation and set-up work, but had a pretty good balance early on. We have definitely improved the car further since Bahrain. I look forward to the rest of the weekend and really want to do my best for all the supporters.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (2nd, +0.287s):
It was a normal day for us: we planned a busy programme, and completed everything without any problems at all. As we made changes to the car, we managed to improve the set-up a little bit, but the handling is still slightly inconsistent. But to be honest, that is what we expect at the moment. My feeling is that we are possibly a little bit closer to the cars in front of us, even if we are clearly not fast enough to be second in the times on speed alone. As always, we have to remember this is only Friday, so we need to wait and see what happens tomorrow. The fight between the midfield teams is extremely close, and we will need to push to the limit tomorrow to get a good grid position.
Heikki Kovalainen, Renault (3rd, 1m +0.569s):
I think it was a positive start to our weekend to be honest. We did our programme, everything ran smoothly, and we improved the car balance a bit from where we started. So we have a good starting point for tomorrow in the final practice session. I had a spin at the end of the session, but it was nothing serious - I was pushing hard on a timed lap and ran wide behind a Red Bull, and lost control. But that's the way I drive, attacking all the time, and we will keep on pushing tomorrow. The target has to be to qualify in the top ten but, just like at the last three races, it is going to be tough.
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (4th, +0.651s):
"It is difficult to assess the situation after these three hours of practice. The track conditions are definitely very different to these we had in testing last week, but all in all, I am reasonably happy with the work we have done today. Just how happy I will be, we will only know on Sunday after the race!"
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (5th, +0.791s):
We completed our pre-planned programme focusing on tyres and set-up work. Everything went well. I set my fastest time early in the session and was able to be consistent throughout, so Im fairly confident for the rest of the weekend.
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari (6th, +0.854s):
"Track conditions were very different to those we found when testing here last week and it is definitely more slippery. So, we are struggling a bit to find the right balance of the car. All our work has centred on finding the best race set-up on the car. We will have to study the data carefully to improve, both for qualifying and for Sunday's race."
Nico Rosberg, Williams (7th, +1.018s):
We made a good start today and everything went well. We tried various directions on the set-up to adapt to the track conditions here and, as always, some things proved to be not particularly valuable while others looked quite promising. All in all, I think we achieved some interesting results. We also tested the tyres and found some pretty clear results there too, although we are not too sure which tyre we will go with for the long runs.
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (8th, +1.146s):
"For me it was important to drive in both sessions today. We have been testing here, but I wasn't able to compare the two tyre specs because the second of my two test days was very wet. Our preparation work looks good and also the new front wing seems to work alright. I think our position today doesn't reflect how competitive we are. The new section of the track changes every lap because the tarmac is so new. That makes it a little bit more difficult for driving on now, but I'm happy with the circuit's modification as it makes it safer."
Mark Webber, Red Bull (9th, +1.192s):
"We got through most of the programme as planned today, which was good, we made the car more stable this afternoon, compared to the morning, and the track was better too. We have a lot of good data for tonight and it was a faultless programme from the guys. The mechanics worked bloody hard last night and all of today, and the entire team's working really well."
Scott Speed, Toro Rosso (10th, +1.220s):
We definitely seem to be more competitive this weekend, although my tenth place today doesnt mean much. The developments we tried at last weeks test, especially those on the aero front are a step in the right direction, but we still have a long way to go to make up for lost time this winter. But we are doing better, the team is doing a good job and this is an improvement. But there have been growing pains today with problems on my front wing endplate and my seat. But these are little things that are easy to fix."
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (11th, +1.313s):
"We found different conditions to when we were testing here last week. The car's balance is quite different, and we were struggling a bit with rear axle oversteer and it is snappy. We have to analyse everything and find the right balance for tomorrow. We just put the new front wing on this morning for the first time, and also checked it again in the last run of the second free practice. It is a bit better but we need to run it more."
David Coulthard, Red Bull (12th, +1.322s):
"Although you can't really tell too much from a Friday, I was perhaps hoping to show more solidly, relative to Renault and some of the other teams, today. Looking at fuel levels, of course we've all got some fuel on board, but you don't know if any of the teams have gone for a low fuel run, so tomorrow will be the real test. Lots of people target Barcelona for upgrades, so if everyone ends up gaining the same amount, the status quo remains - we'll know more after qualifying."
Jenson Button, Honda (13th, +1.411s):
"We spent four days testing here last week so we had a good idea going into this weekend of how the car would perform. Today we did the usual Friday work, setting-up the car for qualifying and race conditions. We have made some small steps with the stability of the car since the last race but the outright pace has not yet improved a lot. However, both Rubens (Barrichello) and I covered a lot of laps today so we will look at all the data this evening and see what progress can be made."
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (14th, +1.529s):
"A very conventional Friday. We test so often at this circuit, most recently last week that we know how the car performs and pretty much where we stand versus the competition. I think the car has improved since Bahrain and we have a decent race pace but not such a good pace for qualifying, so we need to look at that this evening and try to improve during tomorrow's final free practice session."
Alexander Wurz, Williams (15th, +1.553s):
Everything went to plan today while we worked through different set-up options and tyre comparisons. The only thing that perhaps didnt go to plan was that, every time I went out on new tyres, I ended up caught up in traffic so Im further down the timesheets than I should be. Its Friday, though, so it doesnt matter too much.
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (16th, +1.746s):
Honestly, I was expecting something a bit better after some useful testing at this track last week. Unfortunately, we had some niggling problems with things like the electrics and the car set-up. That means weve got a lot to do to get the car sorted out for tomorrow. Well have to wait and see. Towards, the end of the session I was forced to stop early with a hydraulic problem, that had started around the halfway point in the session.
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (17th, +1.822s):
We had a good morning but we had some mechanical problems during the second session that we needed to sort out before we could continue our programme. That cost us a bit of time but generally we went through most of our plan and looked at the things we wanted to. So in the end it was not much of a problem and hopefully we will have a good day tomorrow. We had a positive test here last week and I made some progress with setting up the car to my liking. It seems to be working well again so I remain hopeful of an improvement.
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (18th, +1.910s):
That was a solid days work but as usual at Barcelona the wind made things difficult out there. All the teams have made a big effort for the first European race so this weekend well get a clearer idea of what direction the championship is taking. Barcelona is a good reference circuit and our car behaved well at last weeks test here. But everyone was running different programmes today so we will have to wait for tomorrow to find out where we all stand. I hope we can continue our run of good results and make the points again.
Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (19th, +2.096s):
We came to Barcelona with good car balance from the test, but it took a little time to work on the set-up today. We are happy with the evaluation the tyres we completed during the practice sessions, but I think that we need to look over the data tonight to work on a competitive package for tomorrow.
Anthony Davidson, Super Aguri (20th, +2.100s):
It was an interesting day. We had different weather conditions to what we experienced at the test; it's a lot warmer here now and the car reacted slightly differently. We changed the way we worked with the tyres as well, so it was not as predictable a day as we thought, but a good day nonetheless. I am happy with the work that we achieved during the sessions and we came away finding a good balance.
Adrian Sutil, Spyker (21st, +2.212s):
This was the first track I have been to this year with prior experience, so I know every corner and feel very comfortable as I dont need to spend time learning the circuit or getting a basic set-up. The first session was okay, I was quite happy with the balance, but the second session was a bit more difficult than we expected. We tried out the softer tyre and normally it makes a big difference, but this time we couldnt seem to find that improvement in time as we hoped. Well just work on it for tomorrow but we are moving forward all the time.
Christijan Albers, Spyker (22nd, +2.339s):
Even with the testing, it was not an easy day, but step by step you see that we are going quicker compared to the others. Ive been working hard with Jody, my engineer, and we saw some improvement today, but we know we have to work to get a better result in qualifying. The car is more stable, we still have a couple of issues, but I think tomorrow well be up there fighting with the others.