Friday practice - selected driver quotes 17 Oct 2008
McLarens Lewis Hamilton on setting the standard in Shanghai; Red Bulls David Coulthard on struggling with the RB4s rear traction stability; Toro Rossos Sebastian Bourdais on ending the session in the gravel; and Hondas Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello on finishing two seconds adrift of the frontrunners. All 20 drivers report back (note - positions and times refer to practice two)
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (1st, 1m 35.750s):
"From the moment we hit the track this morning, the car felt well balanced and positive - and that really allowed me to get into my days programme without any problems. No matter what we changed on the car, it just kept getting better and better and the grip and balance kept improving. This is the best possible way to kick off any weekend and has given me extra confidence for the next few days: I feel in a very good place right now."
Fernando Alonso, Renault (2nd, + 0.274s):
We were able to complete our programme without any problems and we now have lots of interesting data, which will allow us to approach the rest of the weekend positively. We still have some things to improve, but we have clearly made progress today.
Nelson Piquet, Renault (3rd, +0.344s):
I gained a lot from the three hours of practice available today. I did a lot of laps and collected some interesting data that Im now going to examine with my engineers. The balance of the car can still be improved, but Im sure that this is something we can work on tomorrow during the final free practice session.
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (4th, +0.409s):
"It was a good, productive day for us. In general the car seems to be behaving well. We tested several things, both mechanically and aerodynamically, and we made some good progress on set-up and balance. We also did some long runs which will help us to understand about the behaviour of the different tyre compounds. Everything went smoothly so I am happy. Now we will keep pushing to get the most out of these last two races and bring as many points away as we can."
Mark Webber, Red Bull (5th, +0.625s):
We did quite a few laps today, it was a good day of running. The tracks in reasonable shape already, as I think the GP2 cars did some running here last week, so we could start straight away with checking the cars balance. The car ran faultlessly all day, so Im looking forward to tomorrow.
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (6th, +0.730s):
"We did a good job and I think we will be competitive at the track. The performance level improved bit by bit as the track got more grip. In the first session, the car was a bit twitchy but then, especially in the second part of the afternoon session, its handling improved. I think we are working in the right direction in terms of car set-up. My aim for the weekend? Obviously I'll be trying to win or at least to get as many points as possible."
Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso (7th, +0.779s):
Its my first time here. I like the track, even if it seems quite hard on tyres because of all the long corners. Aside from that, its a nice combination, requiring different techniques for different parts - interesting. We seem to have found a good pace right from the morning session and we kept the momentum going through the day. Hopefully we can do the same tomorrow and have a good qualifying. Right at the end, I lost the rear of the car on my first lap of my final run at the first corner. Maybe I was just a bit too optimistic.
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari (8th, +0.792s):
"It was nice to see so many fans in the grandstands to celebrate my birthday. As usual it's difficult to judge the relative strengths of the teams just by looking at the results sheets. At the start, it could have been that our main rivals were quicker but then the situation seemed to balance out and I think that's how it will be for the rest of the weekend. Overall, the car's not bad even if there are still some areas that need to be improved."
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (9th, +0.803s):
"In the second session especially I was quite happy with the long runs, as well as with the single laps. We have done quite a lot of set-up changes in the course of the day and during both sessions. Not every step was one in the right direction, but we understood and learned a lot."
Nico Rosberg, Williams (10th, +0.806s):
"I am broadly okay with how things went today as I remember how difficult we found it here with our car working the tyres last year, but this time round the tyres are performing well. That said, we are still not quick enough, but we have progressed the car well since this morning, working on the weight distribution which positively affected the balance, which in turn helped the tyres. Well just have to wait and see how qualifying will shape up tomorrow."
Timo Glock, Toyota (11th, +0.865s):
Both sessions were a bit tricky for me because I've found the car quite difficult to drive today. I haven't found the right direction to go yet in terms of set-up and it has been hard to find the right balance. But we will work hard on the information we collected today and try to make an improvement for tomorrow. I know this track from 2004 when I raced here for Jordan, I've been impressed with the reaction of the fans here and now we must look to get a good result."
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (12th, +1.025s):
"As usual on Friday, we did the tyre evaluation and worked on the set-up of the car. We tried all kinds of different things, but I'm not happy yet with the balance of the car, and the overall level of grip is poor. We have to analyse the data carefully to make the right changes for tomorrow. There is still a lot of work to be done."
Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren (13th, +1.047s):
"The circuit felt surprisingly dirty and dusty this morning, but everything went well in both sessions. We were immediately quick - which is always encouraging - and spent both sessions just working on the balance of the car. Im fully focused on the job ahead of us in the next two races and today shows that we have started well. Im looking forward to the rest of the weekend and feel positive we can achieve another good result."
David Coulthard, Red Bull (14th, +1.058s):
Generally, it feels like the balance itself isnt so extreme, but that rear traction stability is the main issue, I think thats got a lot to do with the nature of the track here though. Regarding overall load, we just dont seem to be generating a lot of grip.
Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso (15th, +1.175s):
We are not where we want to be, although the time sheet makes it look worse than it is. The circuit is in quite good shape and there is some graining on the tyres, but in terms of the car set-up we still have work to do to get the balance of the car right. We will have to take a good look at the data to see how to improve tomorrow. Theres a bit of work to do, but thats our job!
Kazuki Nakajima, Williams (16th, +1.225s):
"Today went quite alright in my view. We tried a couple of set-up directions and we improved steadily throughout the sessions, and learnt lots about the new tyre on this track. Although I didnt race here last year, the Friday practice time I had out on the circuit helped me get off to a good start."
Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India (17th, +1.723s):
"This morning the balance wasn't great as we were struggling with grip and the tyres as well. For the afternoon session we made a step forward with the set-up so it was more comfortable and we could improve a fair bit. I still think there is still some room for improvement tomorrow."
Adrian Sutil, Force India (18th, +1.867s):
"Today was a pretty normal Friday and we got through all the work we needed to. We are still struggling for grip a little and to get the tyres to work, but we did improve over the day and there's still one more practice tomorrow. We seem to be more competitive on the low downforce tracks like Spa and Fuji, so with the corners and higher downforce levels we use here this track doesn't suit us as much. We'll still push to be as good as we possibly can."
Jenson Button, Honda (19th, +2.050s):
"We were struggling to find a good balance today and unfortunately nothing that we tried improved the car. The problem seems to be that we find the limit of this car fairly quickly and that can be seen on Friday mornings when we are reasonably competitive. After that, we are unable to make further improvements. It's frustrating but as always we will make the best of what we have."
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (20th, +2.154s):
"This morning we conducted our usual tyre and set-up evaluations and did some good work with downforce levels. This afternoon it has been difficult to find a balance with the car and we were graining the tyres early on, so we weren't getting the first lap performance. We don't believe our performance is quite as bad as the timesheet suggests, as we were doing sensible race preparation as opposed to qualifying runs. Nonetheless, we are still expecting this to be a tough weekend for us."