Friday practice - selected driver quotes 31 Oct 2008
Renaults Fernando Alonso on his late run to the top; Toyotas Jarno Trulli on fighting off the flu; and championship favourite Lewis Hamilton on a low-key second session for McLaren. All 20 drivers report back on Fridays Interlagos action (note - positions and times refer to practice two)
Fernando Alonso, Renault (1st, 1m 12.296s):
The day has gone well. We have been able to complete our programme without any problems and we have recorded lots of interesting data. We still need to work hard to improve the car in time for tomorrow, but I'm pleased with my day.
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (2nd, +0.057s):
"It might only be Friday, but it's important to get off to a good start on such an important weekend. We found a good set-up for the car, which seemed to be well balanced in both sessions. The track here offers a lot of grip and so, even with today's low temperatures, that was not a problem, especially given the tyres we have available to us here. My aim? To be in front of everyone, both tomorrow and on Sunday. Then we can do the maths when it's over. Racing at home, with the crowd on your side is a great motivation for me: it's a fantastic feeling, but difficult to put it into words."
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (3rd, +0.139s):
"I was ill with the flu yesterday so I took the time to rest in order to help me recover. Today I have been feeling better and I was able to drive with no problems. We had a good Friday session in general, going through the set-up work and looking at tyre choice for the race. We worked on balancing the car and we had some success. We still have some areas to improve but in general I'm happy and we have shown a good level of competitiveness so far. It's only Friday and ideally we would like higher track temperatures but all in all this has been a good day."
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari (4th, +0.304s):
"It was a generally positive day for us, although it is still only Friday, which means it's too early to drawn any definite conclusions. We worked through our usual programme and tried various settings on the car. The only difficulty was linked to the weather, with the rain coming down occasionally. My aim? To do my own race and help the team reach its objectives and I know what I have to do for that to happen. It will be a tough race on Sunday and you never know what could happen: we have to be prepared for every eventuality."
Mark Webber, Red Bull (5th, +0.354s):
We had a pretty productive day. I was happy with the car quite early on in the session as we got the balance right, which is always a good start. Getting on top of the tyres is not easy and we had quite changeable conditions, but overall that was a good start to the weekend.
Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso (6th, +0.391s):
Free practice was mainly dry, but conditions were tricky in the drizzle: you would see the drops on your visor and wouldnt know how far you could go. We made a big step, improving the car from the morning to the afternoon. I think here it will be quite tricky to get the tyres working well over a long run and you could see several people struggling with that. Towards the end, you could see the grooved tyres become slick tyres, so maybe were already getting ready for 2009!
Nelson Piquet, Renault (7th, +0.407s):
I did lots of laps today, which was what I wanted as I needed to find the limits of the circuit. The initial information we have is interesting, but the track was very slippery today and so I think I can still find some more speed and I can still improve the set-up of the car with my engineers. But on the whole the result from this first day of practice is encouraging.
Nico Rosberg, Williams (8th, +0.465s):
"I think weve shown ourselves to be a little bit more competitive here than we have at other tracks. That doesnt necessarily mean well be further up the grid tomorrow, but we might be a little bit closer. We carried out some productive set-up work today which has given us some interesting results. In terms of tyres, its pretty clear which way well go, which is positive as well. The direction well go with other variables like rear wing level will depend on the weather forecast and the likelihood of rain."
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (9th, +0.531s):
"Our car was blindingly quick this morning despite the cold weather, which made the track feel quite slippery. This afternoon we focused on our race pace - but we were interrupted by the threat of rain and the changeable wind direction. I flat-spotted my tyres on a couple of runs, but Im positive that the changes weve made will put us in a good position for tomorrow."
Kazuki Nakajima, Williams (10th, +0.590s):
"Today went quite well. We made some good progress on the set-up of the car, which is positive, but we still need to find some more performance as we have to improve before qualifying tomorrow."
David Coulthard, Red Bull (11th, +0.600s):
There were changeable conditions out there. It was spitting with rain in the second session, so we took the decision to run a fresh set of tyres early on, just in case it rained towards the end. We havent achieved the ultimate lap time, but I think we made progress during the day to stabilise the car..
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (12th, +0.675s):
"This was a usual Friday and we finished our scheduled programme. We did some basic set-up work and evaluated the different tyre compounds. At the end of both the sessions there was drizzle in some of the corners. However, the few drops did not really influence the grip. We shall now analyse the data we collected today."
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (13th, +0.742s):
"After being really unhappy with the balance of the car in the first session, we improved it for the afternoon, but I still find the car difficult to drive. Because of the weather the programme was a little bit different to normal, but we have enough information to work on further improvements. The track isn't as good as it was after it was freshly resurfaced last year, but it is still far better than it used to be! I would say it is on the same level as other Grand Prix circuits."
Timo Glock, Toyota (14th, +0.745s):
"It was a pretty difficult day for me. This is one of the races I did for Jordan in 2004 so I have experience of this track. That was a tricky race for me but the track surface is not as bumpy this year. Still, the car felt a bit strange so it's hard to understand where we are at the moment. We will have to analyse the data and see what we can do to make it right for tomorrow. Hopefully we can find a good direction, otherwise I will hope for rain! Whatever the weather, we should aim to make the points again as we did in China."
Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren (15th, +0.917s):
"A decent Friday practice session and we now have a good understanding of tyre performance following our comparison work and evaluation. We were fine-tuning the balance of the car all the time and the outcome makes me happy, although this isnt reflected in the fastest lap times. So weve found a good baseline to work on for the rest of the weekend."
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (16th, +0.925s):
"It's a real pleasure for me to be racing at Interlagos this weekend, especially in front of the Brazilian fans and my family. We had two straightforward practice sessions with no real issues today however, as we expected, the car is lacking performance. We will do our best to maximise the data that we were able to achieve today but it will be a big ask to progress into Q2 tomorrow."
Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso (17th, +0.977s):
I know this track from having raced here in F3000 in 01 and 02 and its less bumpy now, although it still seems to have quite a slippery surface, especially when we had a bit of rain. Those conditions made it a bit difficult to evaluate how the car was reacting and how the track was evolving and therefore it was tricky to assess whether any performance gains came from changes on the car or on the track surface. Generally, its been a decent day, even if I didnt get the balance right on the Option tyre. Most of the day me and Seb were fairly evenly matched until the big gap came when I made a mistake on one quick lap at the last corner. But we have plenty of data to analyse to prepare ourselves for the race.
Jenson Button, Honda (18th, +1.045s):
"It's been a busy day and the conditions have provided some challenges with light rain in both sessions. Our main focus was trying to get the option tyres to work. Everyone seems to be having a problem with graining on the options so we tried various things to improve their performance over one lap and the long runs. I had an electrical problem this morning which cost me some time and set-up work, however with the information that we gathered this afternoon, we have plenty of data to help us move forward before tomorrow."
Adrian Sutil, Force India (19th, +1.132s):
"We didn't have any problems today so we could get through our schedule as planned. I was quite happy with my performance and we can see how the tyres are working now. The soft ones seem to be better compared to the medium tyre at the moment. We'll study the data and work on it for tomorrow."
Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India (20th, +1.395s):
"The whole day we struggled with the grip, when it was dry or wetter. We seem to have problems in particular with graining, even after a couple of laps. My speed on the straight is also relatively low, which means we aren't able to take advantage of the long straight. At the moment we don't know why or what the problem is but we have another practice tomorrow before qualifying so we'll try and get it better for that."