Friday practice - selected driver quotes 21 Mar 2008
The first day of the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend brought the predicted tight battle between McLaren and Ferrari, but also a few surprises, not least Jenson Button fourth fastest for Honda and Giancarlo Fisichella ninth for Force India. All 22 men report back from Sepang (note - times and positions refer to practice two)...
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (1st, 1m 35.055ss):
"I am pretty happy with today's results as the car showed consistent pace throughout the session and good overall speed. Unfortunately the morning session was not perfect as I had a slight problem on the car right at the end, but this didn't really have any effect on our planned programme of tyre evaluation and race set-up work."
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (2nd, +0.151s):
"I am very happy with these two sessions. The car proved to be very quick and consistent on both types of tyre. It's a shame I was unable to get the most out of the second set of soft tyres, when I found myself behind Hamilton who was going slowly. We are working in the right direction for qualifying and the race."
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari (3rd, +0.373ss):
"This morning I lost time because of a communication problem within the team, but we made up for it in the second session. The car seems to be going well and I am pleased with the work we have done. I worked mainly on the harder tyres, but I think that even with the softs, from what we have seen, we can be competitive. It is always difficult to say where we are compared to our rivals, but I think we can face the rest of the weekend with confidence."
Jenson Button, Honda (4th, +0.982s):
"The track here at Sepang has been completely resurfaced since last year, so it was important to see how much of a difference this has made. We also ran through the usual tyre evaluation and set-up work and we have completed a lot of running, which is good. All in all, a very valuable day of testing in preparation for the weekend.
"We have made good progress over the day and I'm happy with the car and the balance, which is positive. It's always difficult to know where we stand on a Friday versus the rest of the field but I'm hopeful that we can continue to improve the car through this evening and tomorrow."
Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso (4th, +1.419s):
"Laptimes don't always tell the full story, but I think we can be happy with the afternoon, when we did quite a lot of laps. Unfortunately, this morning we had a brake problem, but in the end it did not cost us too much time and we were able to continue with our programme in the afternoon. We spent most of the time fine-tuning the car and finding the right balance, sorting out tyre choice. It has been a good day and we have got plenty of data to study for tomorrow."
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (6th, +1.438s):
"In general that was a smooth day and I'm pleased with how things went. We still have some problems to solve on the car to be more competitive but we made some changes between P1 and P2 and that made a big difference. It looked better and we made a good step. Obviously it is still Friday so it is difficult to judge. But we normally perform pretty well here so I'm confident that we can bounce back after the disappointment of Melbourne. The only problem is that the rain can be very heavy and this weekend's forecast is mixed. I would prefer a dry race but we will have to deal with whatever weather comes our way."
Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren (7th, +1.457s):
"That was a good, steady start to the weekend. The car feels pretty comfortable to drive round here, and we made good progress on the set up for the race. The track surface had only recently been relayed, and as a result it was constantly evolving throughout the two sessions. The conditions here are always very extreme with the heat and humidity, but this had no effect on the cars performance, and I am pretty happy so far with how everything has gone. "
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (8th, +1.616s):
"After I had lost quite some time in the morning session due to a gearbox problem, we mainly concentrated on evaluating different downforce configurations and comparing the tyres in the afternoon.
"We now have a lot of data available, which we have to analyse and understand in order to make the right decisions for the rest of the weekend. We haven't had much time yet to work on the set-up of the car, so there is more to come."
Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India (9th, +1.701s):
We made a big improvement from the morning to the afternoon session. This morning there was a lot of understeer and then oversteer - it was really inconsistent but we made a big step forward and the balance was a lot better in the second session. It was more consistent and comfortable. Unfortunately when I was doing my new tyre run Glock was going very slowly in the middle of the last corner so I lost three tenths. It wasn't acceptable, but thankfully it wasn't the qualifying session.
Kazuki Nakajima, Williams (10th, +1.783s):
"It was quite hot today! Of course it was a shame to miss some track time this morning with the problem we had, but nevertheless, I still managed to record fifteen timed laps in the last 30 minutes of the morning session, so I didnt miss out on much. We still have to address a few things on the car tomorrow in terms of the set-up, but it improved throughout the second session and towards the end of the 90 minutes, I was starting to find a better balance."
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (11th, +1.824s):
"I was quite happy with the set-up of the car on old tyres this afternoon and we achieved some good work on the long run pace. However, I am still struggling with the set-up on new tyres so we need to look at the data overnight and improve on that for tomorrow. The car is very driveable and providing we get the set-up right for qualifying tomorrow, we are aiming to make it into the top twelve. If we can achieve that, then I am confident we can have a good race from there."
Nico Rosberg, Williams (12th, +1.853s):
"The track is quite different here now because of the new asphalt, so in many ways I think everyone is starting from zero. From our point of view, it was a good step forward over Australia to get a full day of track running today. Performance-wise, the car seems pretty good straight out of the box here and I am pretty happy with what we achieved. We tried plenty of things just to see what was what, but the track ramped up a lot in the second session in particular, so it will make the set-up call quite difficult, but I am pretty satisfied with our work today."
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (13th, +2.051s):
"I'm quite happy with the Friday sessions. The car's balance here is initially better than it was on Friday in Melbourne, although it is not really good yet. I hope we manage to find a couple of set-up improvements for Saturday, just like we did in Australia.
"Although the track has been resurfaced, it has a quite good grip level which is not always the case. A big question mark is the weather. Precise predictions for rain are difficult here. I don't have anything against normal rain, the opposite is the case. But even I don't wish for a tropical downpour here for the race. If this happens you just don't see anything and have too much aquaplaning."
Fernando Alonso, Renault (14th, +2.273s):
"It was hot today for the first day of work and I had a problem with my gearbox this afternoon which disturbed my programme a bit, but we still managed to continue and finished this first day with some interesting data in view of the qualifying session tomorrow. We will try and analyse that this evening in order to make the most of the last practice session tomorrow. To improve our performance level in qualifying is always our objective and we are working hard on this area."
Nelson Piquet Jr, Renault (15th, +2.276s):
"I did a lot of laps today and I was able to complete the planned programme which has really made a big difference. The fact that I know the circuit also helps and I have learned a lot and feel comfortable. I hope that things continue like this until Sunday as I was happy with the behaviour of the car. There is still a lot to do, but overall the result of this first day is most encouraging."
Mark Webber, Red Bull (16th, +2.291s):
"We lost some running in the first session due to an engine failure. The second session went better and we got quite a few laps in, so weve got some good data to go through tonight. We still need to find more pace though."
Timo Glock, Toyota (17th, +2.457s):
"The car doesn't feel too bad but I haven't yet got the most out of the tyres on the first lap. I'm also sliding a bit too much overall. I'm not sure what the problem is so we will have to look into that overnight. Thankfully I have no lasting effects from last week's crash and my hand feels fine. Our pace was strong last week and I have confidence in the new car but we still have to work to improve. We are in a tight group of teams so we have to get everything right to come away with a strong result."
Adrian Sutil, Force India (18th, +2.559s):
This morning we had a problem with the engine and then the second session in the afternoon was not so good. Again we had problems with the new tyres - I don't know if it was the car or the pressures, but we just can't get a time out of the softer tyres. We have to look at this and improve for tomorrow as I am not happy with today.
Takuma Sato, Super Aguri (19th, +3.966s):
It was another good Friday practice. Under the restricted mileage situation we achieved most of the running we wanted. We had a little overheating issue, but we solved the problem on every outing and made steady progress. The car was starting to grip towards the end and we tried a few different set-ups. We come away from today with another good understanding of the car and hopefully we can work on improving our speed tomorrow morning before qualifying.
Anthony Davidson, Super Aguri (20th, +4.306s):
It was a much more productive day today compared with any of the sessions in Melbourne. The car ran reliably and we got some constructive tyre work done between me and Takuma and I am relatively happy with where we ended up balance-wise on the car. I worked well with my new engineer, Richard, who did a good job, as did all the car crew today.
Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso (21st, no time):
"This circuit is very nice and very fast, a really good track. However there wasn't much grip so it was difficult to get a full understanding of the situation. Then it was a case of moving forward step by step, waiting for the track to come to us. Unfortunately, this afternoon, we had a gearbox problem right at the start, after a ratio change and this error on our part broke the engine. The car seemed not too bad this morning and we were planning to see how it felt on different tyres this afternoon, but it was not to be."
David Coulthard, Red Bull (22nd, no time):
Red Bull opted not to run David Coulthards car in Friday afternoons practice session at Sepang as a precautionary safety measure while they investigate the cause of his accident in morning practice.