Friday practice - selected driver quotes 20 Jun 2008
Renaults Fernando Alonso on his engine woes in the morning and his blistering lap in the afternoon; Williams Kazuki Nakajima on struggling to find grip in the FW30; and Sebastian Vettel on making it into the top five for Toro Rosso. All 20 drivers report back on their early progress at Magny-Cours (note - positions and times refer to practice two)
Fernando Alonso, Renault (1st, 1m 15.778s):
We had a small engine problem at the end of the morning session but my mechanics did a remarkable job to fix the car and we were able to continue our free practice programme this afternoon without any problems. We tried several new elements that we ran in the test last week and everything went well and we completed our programme. Looking ahead to qualifying tomorrow, I think that our level of performance is rather encouraging.
Felipe Massa, Ferrari (2nd, +0.076):
"It was a good day, apart from a slightly tight neck which I began to feel this morning: so as not to take any risks, I chose to avoid doing too many runs of several laps. I therefore concentrated on the car's set-up, working with both types of tyre. On the softer ones, it seems to be a little bit harder to find the right balance, but we must take into account that today, as usual on a Friday, the track is still dirty. Everyone suffered a bit with graining on the front tyres, but tomorrow the situation should improve. We must study all the data we have gathered to prepare as well as possible for qualifying and the race."
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari (3rd, +0.221s):
"I am happy with the way things went during these two free practice sessions. We got through all our usual Friday job list, working mainly towards the race. Of course we don't know how much fuel our main rivals were running, but I get the impression we are very competitive. Maybe I did not get the most out of the first lap, but I am happy with the balance of the car. We tried out this new system for a Safety Car period and I think it could be a good solution because it puts everyone in the same situation and that way,you can't be penalized just by unfortunate circumstances."
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (4th, +0.454s):
We made a great deal of progress this morning and seemed to get the car dialled in nicely to the circuit. This afternoon, I unfortunately had a twitchy moment at the exit of Turn Three and ran wide into the gravel. It cut short my run with no major damage and slightly disturbed our run programme. At the end of the session, we tried out a new Safety Car timing system, which still needs a little more work at the moment. But today has shown were looking quick this weekend.
Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso (5th, +0.520s):
I am very happy with the work we did today. I had a good pace since the beginning of the morning session and we made changes that seemed to improve the car. Fifth looks very good, but you never know what fuel loads the others were running, but its better than being twentieth! The new aero package is a good step forward and should show its value on this track with lots of fast corners and quick changes of direction.
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (6th, +0.539s):
This was a quite difficult Friday and we lost some running time in the second practice session due to technical problems. The balance of the car was a bit strange and, therefore, it was quite difficult to drive. We now have to analyse the data and see what we can do for tomorrow.
Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren (7th, +0.562s):
This is a circuit Ive always enjoyed - the sweeping corners and fast chicanes really suit my style and I quickly felt at home. Its been a pretty straightforward day: during the afternoon, we worked on the set-up and tyre comparison runs without any problems. Im happy with the balance of the car in both the slow and fast corners and Im looking forward to tomorrow.
Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (8th, +0.680s):
It is too early to say how we will perform here, but today my free practice was trouble free. We did everything that is on the usual Friday programme, including the tyre comparison and evaluation. At the very end of the second session the car bottomed out heavily at the exit of turn three after I ran over the kerbs. I could feel something come loose and went back to the pits one or two minutes before the flag.
Nelson Piquet Jr, Renault (9th, +0.765s):
The day has gone well. We have been able to do a lot of running and as a result collected lots of data, which I hope will allow us to continue improving after we have been through it this evening. We still need to make some small changes to improve the behaviour of the car, but overall I am satisfied with this first day. Its certainly a good start to the weekend.
David Coulthard, Red Bull (10th, +0.794s):
There was some initial graining on the tyres early in the session, but it improved as the track rubbered in. It was a pretty normal Friday practice for us, we managed to work through all of our programme and now well look at the data to see what we can do for tomorrow.
Nico Rosberg, Williams (11th, +0.904s):
We made a lot of progress today which is satisfying. We made quite a few changes to the car over the course of this mornings session because I had some slight oversteer but, once wed made those adjustments, things started to improve and we were fairly competitive in the afternoon. Performance-wise, we can be pretty happy with where we are at the moment. Obviously, my race strategy is a lot more important here than normal, so I might have to compromise my pace in tomorrows qualifying to account for that.
Jarno Trulli, Toyota (12th, +0.965s):
"Today we made it through a lot of work on tyres and set-up and the car felt good in general. It has been hot so the track conditions were changing a lot over the course of the two sessions. We still have to solve some set-up issues in order to find more speed as the car's handling is crucial here. The track surface is very dark and it is quickly affected by the sun so it can suddenly become very slippery. You have to prevent that and figure out what balance you might end up with in the race. But Toyota has generally been competitive here so I hope we can do well this weekend."
Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso (13th, +0.980s):
Its an enjoyable feeling to be taking part in my first home Grand Prix and to be close to the fans and I have a lot of good memories of this circuit. I got off on the wrong foot this morning, struggling to find the right balance on the car. The new aero package speaks for itself in that I think we are a bit more competitive, but we will have to see what happens in qualifying to see what the real improvement is. Today, I was not on the same programme as Sebastian and when earlier we were on the same set of tyres, the times were quite close between us. Therefore, given the difficult start this morning the day has ended up not so bad.
Kazuki Nakajima, Williams (14th, +1.224s):
It was a bit of a difficult day for me. We struggled a little with the grip levels but we tried many different set-up options to solve the problem and it finally started to go our way towards the end of the sessions. I think track conditions will be better tomorrow so hopefully qualifying will go ok for us.
Timo Glock, Toyota (15th, +1.314s):
"That was a difficult start to the weekend. The tyres are just not working for me at the moment and that makes the car very difficult to drive. I can't get the peak out of the tyres for the first lap so I am not getting the lap time, then I get massive graining and a big drop-off. So we have work to do but I remain hopeful. After our good result in Montreal, we had a positive test last week in Barcelona and collected data in all areas aimed at improving the car both mechanically and aerodynamically. We'll have to see how much progress the other teams have made but we should aim to score points."
Mark Webber, Red Bull (16th, +1.328s):
It wasnt one of our better Fridays, its a good thing it wasnt Saturday today! At least we have a chance to work through everything tonight and understand how we can get more performance from the car. After a very encouraging Barcelona test, its suddenly a bit of a mystery here how to get comfortable with the car. But, well work tonight and try to get a better set-up ahead of qualifying tomorrow.
Jenson Button, Honda (17th, +1.466s):
"It was a productive day today and we were able to achieve good mileage over the two sessions. We made progress during the course of the day and I felt happier with the car this afternoon. Unfortunately we were still lacking pace, which was a surprise as we were hoping to be challenging the top ten here in France."
Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India (18th, +1.616s):
We went through the scheduled programme today and made some steps forward, but we are still relatively far away from the others and have some work to do. The grip level was quite poor in both sessions and we had some understeer in the high speed corners. We also compared the tyres and the softer compound works okay, but it will still be a difficult weekend.
Rubens Barrichello, Honda (19th, +1.813s):
"It was a busy day as we had a number of items to evaluate on the car to find the best set-up for this track. Although the track conditions improved in the afternoon, we were not able to make as much progress as we hoped over the course of the day. We were expecting the car to perform better around this circuit, however it is evident that we have some work to do to get the balance right. Although we may have been running a different programme to our competitors, I think today reflects that we will be competing in the midfield pack this weekend."
Adrian Sutil, Force India (20th, +2.090s):
Overall it was such not a great day as we had a few small technical problems today. The main issue was with the brakes and then the tyres overheating. I was struggling under braking, and this morning I lost a lot of the session. In the afternoon the track was slower as the temperature increased and it was difficult to get the tyres to work well again, but now we have found the problem and can get it fixed for tomorrow.