Friday practice - selected driver quotes 08 Jun 2007
Fernando Alonso on a dominant first day, Jarno Trulli on his two suspension failures and Scott Speed on his run-in with Red Bull stable mate Mark Webber. All 23 drivers report back from Montreal (note - positions and times refer to Practice 2, except where stated)
Fernando Alonso, McLaren (1st, 1m 16.550s):
A good start to our weekend at a challenging circuit. In the first session we limited our running slightly as the track was very dirty and only used one set of tyres, but still emerged fastest. The second session was spent on tyre evaluation and also looking at the brakes and we have made some good progress. I dont think we will dominate like we did at the last race in Monaco and the track conditions here means that its very hard to estimate where our competition is, but so far so good.
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (2nd, +0.540s):
"We got through a lot of work during these three hours of free practice, trying various different set-ups on the car. At the end, on new tyres, I managed to post a competitive time, which is encouraging for the rest of the weekend. The track surface was very slippery, especially this morning and that made working on the car difficult. We improved it a lot over the three hours but there is still much to do. I think we can fight for pole, but we will only get a good idea of where we stand compared to the others tomorrow, when we will all be in the same situation in terms of fuel load and tyres. Strategy choices will also play a vital role given that, at least from what we have seen today, tyre degradation is quite significant."
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (3rd, +0.757s):
Today was the first time I had the opportunity to drive at the Montreal circuit and I really enjoyed myself. We had done a lot of work back in the UK with our simulation programme and also I have watched a few of the past races here but you cant beat the real thing. We worked on set-up, tyre evaluation and also looking at the brakes as this circuit is notoriously hard on the brakes. There were no problems and it looks like we are in good shape.
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari (4th, +0.965s):
"It is difficult to get a clear picture of the situation because the track was really slippery today, more so than we could have expected. But the grip level improved a bit in the afternoon. We got through our planned programme and now we have to study the data to work out how to improve our performance and find the best balance for the car, taking into account that the condition of the track surface should improve over the course of the weekend."
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (5th, +1.277s):
"In the morning especially the track had extremely little grip, which made the car very difficult to drive. We then did some set-up changes for the second session, but I'm still not a hundred per cent happy. I didn't get either of the two tyre specs to work properly - neither on a single lap nor on a long run. Shortly before the end of the second session I hit the wall with the right hand side of the car at the exit of Turn 4. It felt pretty hard. I am surprised the car wasn't damaged. Also in the afternoon I went straight on in the chicane because of three guys going very slowly in order to create gaps for a clear lap. That's not a very clever thing to do on a part of the track where one approaches at 300 km/h."
Nico Rosberg, Williams (6th, +1.442s):
It was quite difficult out there today, especially concerning tyre choice, but we tried a few things and made some progress. We just have to wait and see, really, but all in all I think it was an okay Friday for us.
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (7th, +1.558s):
"The team did a great job working to improve the car over the day so I am happy with that. The balance of the car is not yet where I want it to be, however looking at the degradation of the tyres and seeing how we performed this afternoon, we can be positive and work towards a better day tomorrow."
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (8th, +1.580s):
I think this was a good first day for us, and the performance seems quite good. Everybody could see that the track was very dirty and low grip today, so it wasn't easy to work on the balance as the conditions were changing all the time. But we made some good improvements, and the car felt good by the end of the second session. My feeling with the car is similar to the low downforce test we did at Paul Ricard, and the handling is much more consistent, which confirms the step forward we made in Monaco. In terms of the tyres, we had a lot of graining on the soft tyre, and even some on the hard compound. That will lessen as the grip improves, but it will still be quite tough to find the right race strategy, I think. Thank you once again to the guys at the factory for all their hard work, because I can feel that the car is improving each weekend. We have made a good start, and I hope we will be able to race with BMW, who are our main rivals this weekend.
Mark Webber, Red Bull (9th, +1.631s):
"It wasn't too bad today. Understanding the tyres that Bridgestone has bought here has been the biggest challenge for everyone today, I think. They're what we'll be doing our homework on tonight, and making sure we've got everything set up to get the best from them. There were a few incidents today on track, with people brushing walls and things, so it'll be an interesting race on Sunday."
Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (10th, +1.759s):
It was an encouraging day. At the beginning we struggled a lot with grip and tyre behaviour as the track was green and dusty, so it was difficult to get a good lead from the car because it was sliding a lot. The track improved quickly so by the end of the first session we had a good idea of which way we should go on car set-up. In the afternoon we built up our programme step by step and by the end of the session I believe we were in a comfortable position. However, we still have quite a lot of work to do overnight and hopefully the weather and track conditions remain the same for tomorrow.
David Coulthard, Red Bull (11th, +1.766s):
"We put in a lot of laps today, which is obviously a big improvement over Friday in Monaco. The tyres are our main focus here, so now it's a case of looking through the data and making our decisions for tomorrow."
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (12th, +1.849s):
"This morning we missed some running because of a fuel leak. After that the car has been quite difficult to drive. At the beginning of this afternoon's running I had brake problems, and I made a mistake because of this. I went wide on one corner, spun and fortunately didn't hit the wall that hard so was able to continue. We have done some running, which is good, so we now have to wait to see which way to go with the set-up, because certainly what we have at the moment is not the best. "
Jenson Button, Honda (13th, +1.924s):
"We completed all of the work that we planned for today, with both Rubens and I covering a lot of laps which gives us valuable data to work with overnight. It has been a reasonable start to the weekend and although we have some work to do to improve our long-run pace, overall it was a good day."
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (14th, +1.943s):
"In one way I am happy because the car went well and feels well balanced so I had high hopes. But on the other hand things didn't go well as I had to stop in both sessions with a broken gearbox. This is without a doubt the main problem we have to sort out this weekend. At the end of the day, we suffered because we were unable to do many laps, especially in the form of a long run, but in any case I am optimistic because I was still able to see the potential of the car."
Anthony Davidson, Super Aguri (15th, +1.995s):
So it was an interesting day with the track changing dramatically from the first session to where we ended up this afternoon. The track was very dusty to begin with and everyone was struggling for grip. We found a good balance in the car from early on and just waited for the track to come to us, which it did towards the end of the first session and in session two. Overall, I'm very happy with today's work.
Scott Speed, Toro Rosso (16th, +2.052s):
"The track was very slippery today, but that's always the case here and on top of that, we are running very low downforce so I think that when the track develops some grip it will benefit us. At the end of the session, for some reason I don't understand, Mark (Webber) did the most strange thing I have seen since I've been in Formula One. I haven't been brake tested like that since my karting days. I'll be interested to see what Mark has to say about that!
Alexander Wurz, Williams (17th, +2.321s):
We didnt have two perfect sessions today, but nevertheless I think we generated enough data to optimise our package for tomorrow. I did my tyre comparison very early in the second session under yellow flags when the circuit wasnt so great, but I just need to stay calm and use what we learnt today to get the best out of tomorrow.
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (18th, +2.345s):
My day was cut short because we suffered a problem with my front right suspension early in the second session. We missed most of the afternoon and it happened again when we went out at the end. That is unfortunate and we will have to investigate the issue tonight. It also means I have had only a very short time to work on set-up changes. Ive had problems with the rear of the car and Ive struggled with high rear tyre wear so I have a lot of work ahead to catch up tomorrow. Still, after two races with nothing to show we will push as hard as we can to bounce back. I have a new helmet dedicated to my friend Danilo De Luca who has just won cyclings Giro DItalia so I will hope that helps bring me better fortunes.
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (19th, +2.781s):
That was a difficult afternoon for us due to the problems we have had. When Jarno had the first problem with his suspension we both stopped running for 45 minutes as a precaution. At the end of the session we went out but when it happened again we had to stop running. The car didnt feel too bad for the first half of the session but we could not show our full potential. Weve had a frustrating run lately but we will keep hoping for an improvement this weekend. Im looking forward to a better day tomorrow.
Christijan Albers, Spyker (20th, +2.903s):
It was a hard day today, but it was good all the same. We are getting closer with the set-up and I am getting more comfortable in the car as we found something in the set-up. We will see tomorrow for qualifying, it's maybe too early to make predictions, but hopefully we will continue along this line to get stronger and stronger from now on.
Adrian Sutil, Spyker (21st, +3.112s):
It was a difficult day as the track was very dirty at the beginning of the day and I had a lot of oversteer. It was just in the last 20 minutes that we started to get a good set-up and improve the balance and I could start to drive with some more confidence and push. It was very difficult to find the right set-up as conditions changed and the brake set-up was different to all the other circuits I have driven on. The softer tyre also started to grain very quickly but in the end we found something that will help. We still have some work to do tomorrow, when hopefully we will have a better day.
Heikki Kovalainen, Renault (22nd, +3.969s):
It was disappointing to hit the wall this afternoon and lose running time in the second session, but this is a demanding circuit where one small mistake can cost you a lot. Apart from that small error, though, I think it was quite a good start to the weekend. The car balance felt pretty good this morning: the handling was neutral, and I could attack the braking zones well. My timed lap wasn't perfect, but the package felt quite competitive. In terms of the second session, there isn't much to say: I had one run on old tyres, then went out on the softer tyre but I made a mistake in Turn 7, ran wide on the exit and hit the wall quite hard. It damaged the suspension, but also punctured the rear tyre, which meant I couldn't make it back to the pits. I did enough laps today to learn the circuit, and the challenge now will be to find the right set-up in the final session, and get comfortable using both types of tyre.
Kazuki Nakajima, test driver, Williams (17th in Practice 1, 1m 19.273s):
Obviously it was my first time on the track this morning and it was really green and slippery to begin with, so it was not easy to set a good time, but I think I learnt my way round quickly and then tried some downforce variations in order to generate some data. I was happy with what we did today even though I did make one little mistake. We didnt look very quick in the morning, but as often seems to be the case, we will improve relatively as the track cleans up over the weekend.