Friday practice - selected driver quotes 10 Oct 2008
Timo Glock on how he ensured the car in front was a Toyota; Sebastian Vettel on another top-ten showing for Toro Rosso; and local hero Kazuki Nakajima on beating Williams team mate Nico Rosberg. All 20 drivers report back on day one at Fuji (note - positions and times refer to practice two)
Timo Glock, Toyota (1st, 1m18.383s):
"That was a good day. This was the first time I have driven at the Fuji Speedway so I had to learn the track this morning. It didn't take too long - two or three laps, but it's not an easy circuit. It's especially difficult to find the right compromise for the long high speed straight and the last sector which is very technical. But we sorted out a lot of stuff and we brought everything together for the second practice, which went well. I had a nice lap near the beginning of the session and it's great for the team to end up quickest on Friday here in Japan. So far I'm happy and it would be nice to keep the position like this for the whole weekend. That will obviously be difficult but hopefully the local fans will give us an extra boost."
Fernando Alonso, Renault (2nd, +0.043s):
It was a trouble-free day. We covered lots of laps, which was the priority and that allowed us to advance with our programme. The first signs are therefore encouraging and we will now review our data and work on our settings ahead of the final free practice session tomorrow morning to be ready for qualifying.
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (3rd, +0.080s):
"Fuji is a place I really enjoy: it's not the easiest of tracks because it requires a good set-up to get the best from the car, but I had no complaints today. We were immediately on the pace and found a very good balance straight away. In the afternoon, I did a promising longer run with no major problems and I feel confident about our pace for the rest of the weekend."
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (4th, +0.108s):
"I am pleased with this first day in Japan. The balance of the car is very good, both on the first timed lap and over a distance. The times are very close and maybe I could have been a bit further up the order in the afternoon session if I had not encountered traffic on my last run on the soft tyres. These seem to be very quick, which is no surprise, but also very consistent. I really want to do well this weekend and we will try and win and bring home the best result possible for the two championships."
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari (5th, +0.342s):
"It seems very finely balanced with the lap times all very close. This means it will be very important to have a good qualifying otherwise you run the risk of being a long way back on the grid. I think our car is going well on this track and even if there is still some work to do to improve the handling, I am reasonably satisfied. The harder tyres are very consistent, while the softer ones seem to lose a bit of performance over a distance. They're not bad on the first lap and it's a shame that on my last run, I locked the wheel and was unable to do a good time. My weekend? I will try to do the best I can for myself and for the team."
Mark Webber, Red Bull (6th, +0.351s):
"That was a good Friday for us. We enjoyed some dry weather today, which is an improvement on last year! Its enjoyable to drive the track - its got some technical and frustrating corners, but we just have to get on with that. Weve done our race preparation today, well work hard tonight and do the qualifying tomorrow. All in all, not too bad.
Kazuki Nakajima, Williams (7th, +0.351s):
It was a pretty good day for me. There wasnt much grip at the start of the morning session so I was struggling a bit with the car, but that was possibly due to the amount of fuel we were carrying. The car started to feel better towards the end of the morning and then felt much better in the afternoon on new tyres. Weve tried out various set-ups today, which proved positive. The gap to the other cars is still very close though so we need to be a bit careful and plan well for qualifying. We'll have to see how tomorrow goes, but it looks like were on the right track.
Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso (8th, +0.378s):
Last year we ran mainly in the wet, so it was good to have a dry day today. I think this is one of the most difficult circuits when it comes down to setting up the car. It is tricky because of the mix of a long straight, some high speed corners and then some difficult low speed winding corners. Unfortunately, this afternoon, we had a hydraulic problem which meant I didnt manage to do the long runs I wanted. But the car seems well balanced, which I was able to check at the very end of the session after the boys had worked very hard to get me out on track before the flag. I think we should be fine for qualifying, but for race set up I would have preferred more time to do some long runs. Tyre wise I think we are sorted though.
Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren (9th, +0.420s):
"Today was a pretty straightforward practice day with no major problems. We successfully went through our tyre comparison programme, which went well. We made some good progress with the set-up into the afternoon and that also made me feel a lot more confident about attacking this place. I don't think today's times are totally representative, but we're certainly in good shape for the rest of the weekend."
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (10th, +0.480s):
"Today was a nice, smooth day. We tested several things in order to improve the car's performance. Timo and I carried out different programmes in order to collect data from all areas of the car and it went well. This is Toyota's home race so it is an important event for us. There is no extra pressure but we just really want to do well in front of our home fans. As a team we get a lot of support in Japan but the local people have also been big fans of me personally down the years. They always give me a great welcome and the support gives extra motivation for me to get a good result for them. We've been unlucky to miss out on points in recent races so I hope that turns around this weekend."
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (11th, +0.482s):
"It was a normal Friday. We did some set-up work in the morning, and concentrated on the tyre evaluation in the afternoon. I really enjoyed driving on this track, as it's demanding and fun at the same time. The balance of the car is quite okay, but we are lacking overall grip."
Nelson Piquet, Renault (12th, +0.505s):
The circuit is interesting, not particularly difficult, and I was able to get comfortable with it quite quickly. We have made good progress with our technical programme today and although we still have a lot to do from now until tomorrow, its definitely a good start and a sound basis to work from for the rest of the weekend.
Nico Rosberg, Williams (13th, +0.598s):
Its definitely going to be more difficult here than it was in Singapore for us. It was quite hard out there this morning in particular. We struggled with a slight lack of grip on the rear of the car and some oversteer, but we made good progress over the course of the two sessions and we ended this afternoon in a better position.
Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso (14th, +0.657s):
Its my first time at this track and also my first visit to Japan. The track is not the most exciting but its nicely done with a good bump-free surface and its a great facility. Its not a difficult to track to learn as there only eight real corners. But after that, it can become quite tricky, because at the final complex, if you are too aggressive on the entry you pay the price on the exit, losing time for the straight, so you have to be careful not to be your own worst enemy. So, its not easy setting up the car as you want minimum downforce for the long straight and you want quite a bit of downforce for the complex and the two quick corners, which requires a compromise. I think we have got it about right so far and in terms of tyres, there seems to be quite high degradation, which is normal for a first day as the track began to pick up grip this afternoon.
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (15th, +0.875s):
"Just like last year, we have had a dry first day of practice and by the end of the afternoon we were able to achieve a reasonable balance with the car on new tyres. The weather forecast for the weekend looks interesting so we need to take a close look at that. However if it stays dry, then I believe we have a chance to progress to the second qualifying session."
Adrian Sutil, Force India (16th, +0.904s):
"It's been a good day as the car worked well with no problems. The last run in the afternoon was not great as I had some traffic on my quick lap and couldn't improve my time, but at least there is more potential for tomorrow. It's always an advantage if you know the circuit well and I just feel good here. I was quick here last year so I think it's one of my good tracks. I'm looking forward to tomorrow now."
David Coulthard, Red Bull (17th, +0.944s):
I had low grip through the last sector, which meant the car had a lot of oversteer and was sliding. There is a contrast in coming here from somewhere like Singapore, which is a challenge and fun to drive. This track includes blind apexes and off camber corners. It doesnt matter if youre a racing driver or a punter, a nice corner is a nice corner, and they tend to be ones where you see into them, or its banked and you ride the corner. In contrast, you dont normally see them here before youre on them, or its off camber so the car slides at the rear. It looks good on TV, but these cars dont generate high levels of slip angle and go fast, so it means you lose some lap time but thats the challenge of this circuit.
Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India (18th, +1.099s):
"It was quite a difficult day for me, especially this morning. In the afternoon when we were working on the longer runs we made a step forward with the balance, but we still struggled with oversteer and getting the tyres to work well. We still have a lot to do here, but I'm hopeful we can improve here tomorrow."
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (19th, +1.511s):
"My first day of practice didn't go too smoothly this time. I'm not happy with the balance of the car yet, it is sliding too much. Because of this in the first session I spun once, which seldom happens to me. Also, which is exceptional for us, in the second session I had minor technical problems. First the brake balance adjuster in the cockpit came loose, and shortly before the end of the session we had a hydraulic alarm and I came into the pit. There were only three minutes left, so it wasn't worth going out again. However, I didn't really loose track time and it's only Friday. I'm totally confident we shall improve for tomorrow."
Jenson Button, Honda (20th, +1.616s):
"We were able to make progress on the balance of the car on older tyres by the end of the afternoon session, however achieving a good balance was our main problem throughout the day. On new tyres at the end of the second session, I just had very little grip and it felt like the tyres were graining immediately. We will have to look at the reasons for this ahead of qualifying tomorrow."