Friday practice - selected driver quotes 15 Jun 2007
A total of 23 drivers took to the track at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday and all of them give their verdict on their early progress
(note positions and times refer to Practice 2 except where stated)
Fernando Alonso, McLaren (1st, 1m 12.156s):
Its nice to be back in Indianapolis and so far things are looking promising. As I have said before this track has never been kind to me, but I really want to do well this weekend. The car has been performing strongly at the last couple of races and today in practice, but I am sure that both Ferrari and BMW will be at the front as well. We completed our normal Friday practice programme looking at tyre evaluation and general set-up work. There is a lot of data to consider overnight, but so far things are looking good for the team.
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (2nd, +0.153s):
As this was the first time I have ever driven at the Indianapolis track I spent some time just getting to know the circuit. The really tricky bit is the mid-section as its very tight and twisty. We spent our time fine tuning the set-up and evaluating the two different tyre options provided by Bridgestone this weekend. In the first part of the second session I ran a little wide and did some minor damage to the aerodynamic fences which took a little time for the guys to repair. We have a pretty good idea of where we are going, and it looks like we should be competitive, but as always Friday is only the start of the weekend - there is a long way to go.
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (3rd, +0.279s):
"Overall, I am reasonably satisfied with today. We worked throughout on race preparation and I think that on this track, we are a bit more competitive than was the case in the last two races. We definitely have more grip and we are getting the tyres to work better. The two types of Bridgestone available here offer different performance: the softer one is quicker over the first lap but then it seems to have a more significant drop off while the harder one is the opposite. We will now analyse the data also trying to predict how the track conditions will develop. All in all, I think we can fight for the top places."
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari (4th, +0.432s):
"I am reasonably happy with how today went. This afternoon, we definitely improved the situation over the way it was in the first session. There is still work to do on improving the car's set up but I think we can be competitive up against our main rivals. One thing that is certain, is that we will put all our effort into achieving that."
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (5th, +0.870s):
"After the first session we looked pretty good on the results sheet, but that was only on the sheet I'm afraid. I don't know who ran on which fuel load and used new tyres. But in any case this morning I was already unhappy with the balance of the car and there was very little improvement this afternoon. We haven't managed yet to get the tyres to work properly. The car is just sliding too much, but we are working on that."
David Coulthard, Red Bull (6th, +0.886s):
"They were pretty hectic sessions today. We have very high track temperatures and with the low down force that we run here, the car's quite tricky to drive. I didn't actually go off the circuit, but there were a lot of moments. The times are encouraging."
Nico Rosberg, Williams (7th, +0.901s):
"Practice was pretty good. I was encouraged by the car as soon as I went out on the track and just really enjoyed myself. It looks like some of the problems that we've been experiencing at other tracks this season just weren't there today. That is a very good feeling. We now have a strong platform to work from to go into qualifying tomorrow. We've obviously made progress and didn't look bad at all."
Heikki Kovalainen, Renault (8th, +0.954s):
After the problems last week in Canada, this was just the kind of day I wanted: no technical problems, and lots of laps on the board. We got a lot done, and improved the car with every run. There is still a little way to go in order to dial out some of the understeer we are suffering from, but we will work hard overnight to find some more performance. It was important to have a trouble-free day because this is another new track for me. I found a good rhythm pretty quickly and I have to say that I think it's a fun circuit to drive. I have heard some people complaining that it is not challenging enough, but I don't agree. There are some nice sequences of corners, and you can really attack the curves and the exit kerbs too. We know from the past that the lap-times here are always extremely close in qualifying, because it is such a short lap. That means it will be vital to get 100 percent out of the car tomorrow afternoon - and I am confident we can do it.
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (9th, +0.988s):
"We have completed a lot of hard work today but we were able to achieve a lot, particularly in the afternoon session. I struggled with the balance of the car during this morning's practice, but this afternoon we made some improvements during the course of the session which leaves us with a lot of good data to be working with this evening. Generally a good foundation from which to move forward this weekend. "
Jenson Button, Honda (10th, +1.046s):
"It has been a fairly routine Friday for us really. We achieved a good number of laps between Rubens and myself so we have plenty of information to work with tonight. I had some issues in the morning and early afternoon with understeer at certain corners but we were able to work through this and pick up some good front and rear grip by the end of the session. A good start."
Sebastian Vettel, BMW Sauber (11th, +1.061s):
"Obviously today it was going quite well. We did a lot of mileage and we were able to find out quite a bit about the tyres and the set-up of the car. We have just been trying to progress. I think it is a normal Friday. Of course it is a completely new task for me but so far I am quite happy with what I did. I think now is about working together with the team to find the maximum for tomorrow and Sunday. I don't have expectations as today it was important to get used to the car again as the last time I drove it was Friday in Malaysia. The car is not so bad as you could see we were quite quick in Montreal, and here also it doesn't look so bad. I thought the track was quite good with a nice rhythm, and it is quite interesting to drive with the banking. After a couple of times you get quite used to it but it is fun."
Mark Webber, Red Bull (12th, +1.107s):
Today didn't quite go to plan, especially in terms of completing our programme. We were working quite hard on the balance, trying to adjust it and get it to a place where I was happy with it. We needed a bit more track time, but then we had a transmission failure, which cut short the day. It's pretty tight between all the cars, it always is round here, so now we'll just look to tomorrow."
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (13th, +1.176s):
"It was a hard day and we struggled a bit with a few problems on the car, and in terms of balance it did not seem so easy to keep the car on the right line. We still need to find grip and the front of the car is washing out and I was also getting some snap oversteer. It will be a tough weekend, but tonight me and the engineers will work hard to find a compromise to improve for tomorrow. We have a lot of work to do. At least tyre choice seems very clear so that is something we can already cross off tomorrow's job list."
Anthony Davidson, Super Aguri (14th, +1.208s):
It was a really interesting day with the track changing a lot from start to finish. The track really came to our car as the rubber kept coming. We found a good balance and I'm happy with our day's work and looking forward to tomorrow's qualifying.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (15th, +1.238s):
I must admit that I came out of the session a little bit confused. You always expect to find more grip when you run the softer tyre, but I didn't feel a big step in performance today, and we will have to work this evening to understand why. The car had quite a lot of understeer this morning, and we have worked to get rid of it step by step. There are still some improvements to be made, but we are getting there. I had a very positive feeling last week in Montreal, and it is not the same here today. The times make the situation look worse than it is, because I was held up on my quickest lap, but I think it is going to be a tougher race in terms of competitiveness than last weekend.
Alexander Wurz, Williams (16th, +1.383s):
"I just drove in second practice today on the used set of tyres from Kazuki's (Nakajima's) run in the morning. Just as I was starting to get into a rhythm and tune the car in, I had a gearbox oil leak. That lost us about half an hour so it was a real rush at the end to get some timed laps in. Despite the setback, we have a good idea as to the set-up we'll go for, we will just have to wait and see now how qualifying goes."
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (17th, +1.536s):
That was a difficult session for me today. I found the car quite difficult because there was very low grip in general, as usual here at Indianapolis. We did quite a lot of laps and we tried out different options, as well as both kinds of tyres, but we have to work hard now to find a bit more speed in the car before qualifying and the race. It was positive we did not have any mechanical problems on the car today and we were able to do all the work we planned. Ive always had very good races here at Indianapolis so we will now try to get the best out of the car for qualifying and get another good result.
Scott Speed, Toro Rosso (18th, +1.556s):
"Unfortunately we had several problems on the car today, with the steering wheel, with the TV monitor falling on my finger in the garage and at the end the wind speed indicator began to come loose. I also think the fact we are still waiting for our new gearbox will hurt us more at this circuit than at others. We are sliding around a lot on the infield, but I think that is the same for everyone and I don't think our balance is so far off what we want. Because of the various problems I had, I will be relying on Tonio's data to help with tyre choice."
Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (19th, +1.597s):
It was a good day. There was a problem with Anthony's car in the morning so we had to change to a combined programme which was not what was originally planned. In the end I think we got what we wanted to achieve and were able to evaluate the different wing levels and the tyres. It was normal, smooth-working Friday.
Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (20th, +1.609s):
It was a pretty difficult session for us. It was very slippery out there and there was not a lot of grip. That was partly down to the track conditions and they did improve as the day went on. Its difficult to tell where we really are because its only Friday. Still we have some work to do overnight. We tried several different options with our set-up and now we have to look at the results from today so we can get the maximum from the car in qualifying and the race. It was positive to get through both sessions without any problems with the car because we were able to make good use of the three hours of track time. We are working hard for tomorrow and I am looking forward to it.
Christijan Albers, Spyker (21st, +2.069s):
'Today was a solid day trying out different set-ups and tyre options available this weekend. Everybody is really close, but we still have a small gap to make up to the other guys, so we need a push to get closer for tomorrow. As it stands, today was a good day, but it will be even better if we can get closer tomorrow.'
Adrian Sutil, Spyker (22nd, +2.357s):
'It was an OK day. In the morning session we tried to set up all the electronic systems and I was very happy with the set-up of the car. This afternoon we found we could not get an improvement from an old set of tyres to a new set and I did my fastest lap on the harder tyre option, so the goal for now is to understand how to get the most out of the tyres with the set-up we have.'
Kazuki Nakajima, test driver, Williams (12th in Practice 1, +1.630s):
"Throughout the morning session we worked on the car's balance and various different set-up options. It all went well and I'm particularly happy because I completed the programme as planned.
"This was my first time at Indy, so going round the banking was pretty exciting, but then you get used to it and it becomes normal. It's a fairly challenging track, due to the twisty and slow speed sectors, but it's just a legendary circuit to drive."