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Friday practice - selected team and driver quotes 08 May 2009

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/24.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 8 May 2009 Timo Glock (GER) Toyota.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 8 May 2009 Nico Rosberg (GER) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 8 May 2009 (L to R): Sebastien Buemi (SUI) Scuderia Toro Rosso with team mate Sebastien Bourdais (FRA) Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 8 May 2009 Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Force India F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 8 May 2009

While Brawn GP’s Jenson Button dominated Friday’s morning session, Williams’ Nico Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajima led the field in the afternoon. The leading teams and their rivals reflect on their early progress at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya and review how their new developments for the Spanish race are faring…

Williams
Nico Rosberg, P1 - 1:22.667, 6th; P2 - 1:21.588, 1st

“Today was our first run with the new aero components on the car and they all seemed to work well. They’re giving us a few tenths extra per lap so we’ve made definite progress. Everyone has brought new developments here though so we will see how things look in qualifying. We also ran some tyre compares today. It’s not obvious which direction will be the right one, so strategy is going to be very important and will have a major impact on the race.”

Kazuki Nakajima, P1 - 1:22.659, 5th; P2 - 1:21.740, 2nd
“We had a pretty good day and it seems that all the updates are working well. I found it quite difficult to get enough grip with the hard tyre, the soft one definitely has the advantage for me. We now need to focus our attention on qualifying well tomorrow.”

Sam Michael, Williams’ technical director:
“We had a normal Friday during which we carried out short runs to prepare for qualifying and long runs to prepare for the race. The tyres are much closer than we anticipated on the basis of the tests we’ve had here and the hard tyres look stronger than they have at other circuits. We should therefore expect to see more even strategies from the teams on Sunday, rather than these unbalanced strategies that we’ve seen in the first four races of the year whereby people have run very short final stints.”

Renault
Nelson Piquet, P1 - 1:22.753, 7th; P2 - 1:22.349, 8th

“It was a fairly typical day of practice as we began evaluating the new developments on the car and assessing the tyres. I’m still not happy with the set-up of the car and so the priority tomorrow morning is to work on that so that we can approach qualifying in good shape and hopefully get the car into the top 10.”

Fernando Alonso, P1 - 1:23.157, 17th; P2 - 1:21.781, 3rd
“The practice sessions were interesting because we had to evaluate some new parts that we have introduced to the car this weekend. In the first session we were struggling a little bit as we didn’t have much grip, but for the afternoon we found something which took us in a good direction and improved the lap times. We obviously need to remain realistic about tomorrow as this is only Friday, but we are reasonably confident that we can have a good qualifying session. The target for Sunday remains the same: to score as many points as possible.”

Pat Symonds, Renault executive director of engineering:
“A very normal Friday programme for us today. We had a look at both tyre compounds and there were no big surprises: the harder tyre needs a bit of warming up, but the softer looks like it is performing well. We had no particular problems with the car today, although we are not totally satisfied with the balance yet.”

Brawn GP
Jenson Button, P1 - 1:21.799, 1st; P2 - 1:22.052, 6th

"The balance of my car hasn't been quite right today with our new aero upgrade fitted. We have been struggling for grip which was a little frustrating but we believe that we have identified the reasons. The good thing is that Rubens has collected some good data today so we can look at that overnight and have a more positive day tomorrow."

Rubens Barrichello, P1 - 1:22.859, 10th; P2 - 1:21.843, 4th
"We have had a good first day and focused our attentions on evaluating the new aero package that we have for this race. I ran the current package this morning for baseline data before fitting the new developments. My initial feedback is positive and the car felt good and well-balanced. We ran a fairly conservative programme which has given us valuable data to study overnight."

Ross Brawn, Brawn GP team principal:
"It is always good to return to Europe after a hectic start to the season and particularly following the success of our first four races. Throughout that period we have been working hard on our first upgrade package of the season for the BGP 001 and it is very satisfying to see those developments on track today. It has been a mixed day for us with Rubens very happy with the performance however we have experienced some issues with the performance of the package on Jenson's car. We are investigating the cause at the moment and have plenty of data to study overnight to resolve it."

Red Bull
Mark Webber, P1 - 1:22.934, 12th; P2 - 1:22.027, 5th

“Another cliff hanging Friday eh? Ha ha. Obviously everyone knows this track very well, so it’s always going to be pretty tight around here, but we had a pretty good P2. P1 wasn’t that great, but P2 was better for us and I got a better feeling for the car. We had a little problem on the last run in P2, but we know what that was about. The guys did a good job today and we’ve got a solid amount of data to go through tonight, so I think we’re in pretty good shape.”

Sebastian Vettel, P1 - 1:22.959, 13th; P2 - 1:22.082, 7th
“A pretty normal Friday except that at some stage we had a problem with the radio and I think I had some Spanish taxi drivers to talking to me! Other than that it was normal Friday business. We did a lot of laps and tested some new parts, which I think we got an answer on, but to be sure for tomorrow and Sunday we will compare the data in comparison to our competitors. I’m confident there are areas where I can improve and where we can improve the car, so we have to work hard and come back stronger tomorrow.”

Toyota
Jarno Trulli, P1 - 1:22.154, 2nd; P2 - 1:23.623, 19th

“We went through our normal Friday routine of testing tyres and set-up as we get ready for qualifying tomorrow. We also worked to understand what strategy to take in terms of tyres and everything. The tyre testing went reasonably well but obviously we need to analyse the data before we make any decisions. The car is not perfect and it needs to be a bit more balanced before I am happy with it. However, I think the track conditions will change for qualifying so I am not too worried. We have to wait and see what happens tomorrow morning."

Timo Glock, P1 - 1:22.828, 8th; P2 - 1:23.360, 18th
"It was not a very good day for me today to be honest. I was struggling quite a bit with the tyre behaviour in both practice sessions and it is really tricky to understand what the problem was. We have to analyse the results from today and work hard to make an improvement for qualifying tomorrow. I'm not happy with how things have gone today but we won't give up; we will do our best to find a solution."

Dieter Gass, Toyota chief engineer race and test:
"Even though I am not too worried about the timing sheets, we have to say it was hard work today. Thanks to an enormous effort from everyone in Cologne, we brought quite a significant aero update for this weekend and with no in-season testing, we had to evaluate it all today. We did a lot of laps and made several comparison runs to get as much information as possible. Obviously you don't have as much time to concentrate on these parts as you do in testing so that makes it quite difficult. As well as evaluating the upgrades, we did quite a lot of tests, mainly on aero, brakes and tyres. We got some interesting results which we will analyse tonight and try to find the best compromise for tomorrow."

BMW Sauber
Robert Kubica, P1 - 1:22.221, 3rd; P2 - 1:22.948, 16th

“Today was a special Friday because we have a lot of new aerodynamic parts on the car. We spent quite some time working on the set-up and tried different things. We now have to analyse the data so we can exploit the potential of the car to its maximum. In addition, as usual on the Friday, we compared the two tyre compounds, but it was very soon obvious the option specification gives better performance.”

Nick Heidfeld, P1 - 1:22.658, 4th; P2 - 1:23.173, 17th
“Unfortunately I lost some time this morning when we had a couple of problems during the first free practice session. Only at the end was I able to work properly on the programme. That was a shame because with such a new package and, for me, driving the car for the first time without the KERS, track time is especially important. Considering the small amount of mileage from the morning, we made quite good progress when preparing the car for the second session, and I think there is room for more improvement.”

Willy Rampf, BMW Sauber head of engineering:
“We have come to Barcelona with a comprehensive aerodynamic package. To find a basic set-up was today’s main task. A first evaluation of the aero data shows we made a step forward. Now we are curious about the first real comparison in Saturday’s qualifying to see where we really stand in relation to the competitors. Because of a brake problem Nick completed less laps in the morning than planned. As usual we concentrated on race preparation.”

Ferrari
Kimi Raikkonen, P1 - 1:22.873, 11th; P2 - 1:22.599, 10th

“We have definitely made a step forward in performance terms on the car: you can feel a greater level of aerodynamic downforce and that’s what we needed. Sure, it’s Friday and it’s always difficult to draw conclusions, but the feeling is that we have closed the gap to the top cars. Here, just as at the last race, the harder tyre is a bit difficult, while on the softer one, we’re reasonably good. Tomorrow morning, we’ll work on qualifying, given that today we concentrated on race preparation. All in all, I am happy with how things went today.”

Felipe Massa, P1 - 1:22.855, 9th; P2 - 1:22.878, 15th
“We have done a good job over the past weeks and the car has improved, but of course, the others haven’t been standing around with their hands in their pockets. As from tomorrow, we will see if we have managed to move up the order, because today’s classification is difficult to interpret and I reckon it doesn’t represent the true pecking order. We worked towards Sunday’s race. On my final run I had traffic and that cost me a bit of time, but what matters is the performance tomorrow. I will do my best to get through to the final part of qualifying and then aim for a good grid position.”

Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari team principal:
"We had a very busy day: having so many new parts on the F60, the work sheet was full and we managed to complete it in its entirety. It was important to be able to work without major reliability problems on an aero package which is pretty much making its track debut today. We managed it and that’s definitely a positive thing when evaluating the day. As for performance, it is always difficult to draw conclusions. We have certainly made progress, but how much when compared to the competition we will only find out as the weekend continues.”

Chris Dyer, Ferrari chief engineer:
“We are reasonably pleased with how things went this Spanish Grand Prix Friday. The team, both back at home and at the track, has put in a big effort to bring this aero package to Barcelona and the fact we had no reliability problems is already a positive element. The track confirmed our first impressions, that the handling of the car has improved and, from what we can learn from an initial analysis of the situation, we are in better shape than at the previous races. Tomorrow, our aim is to get both cars into Q3 and then to have a good race on Sunday. The tyres are behaving as expected: on the harder ones, we are struggling to get good grip, while we are fine on the softer ones, both in terms of grip and consistency of their performance.”

Toro Rosso
Sebastien Bourdais, P1 - 1:23.088, 15th; P2 - 1:22.615, 11th

“We have a new package here which should give us a greater potential than at the earlier races. Unfortunately, a couple of problems meant we were not able to exploit it fully today. Nevertheless, we managed to complete 60 laps, split 30-30 morning to afternoon, so we gathered a lot of data. Hopefully, we can now work with that to find a good set-up on the car for tomorrow’s qualifying and Sunday’s race.”

Sebastien Buemi, P1 - 1:23.185, 18th; P2 - 1:22.571, 9th
“In the morning session, we had the first opportunity to assess the new aero components we have on the car for this weekend. It is hard to say exactly how effective they are, as in the morning session the track is green and you don’t know what fuel loads the others are using or what tyres they are on. But the overall feeling is positive and we are going in the right direction. In the afternoon, I had a problem with the rear brake, which unfortunately happened right at the start of the second session, so I lost some track time, before the guys got me out again. It’s not the best way to begin the weekend, but we will just have to deal with it. We will be looking very carefully at Bourdais’ data as well as mine from the second session, then factor in how we think the circuit will improve for tomorrow, when hopefully I can do my best to catch up. The car in this new configuration definitely has more potential, but I think it will take more than one race weekend to get the most out of it.”

Force India
Giancarlo Fisichella, P1 - 1:23.089, 16th; P2 - 1:22.670, 12th

“It's good to run with the adjustable front wing, from my point of view it made things easier. We are still struggling a little with the understeer in the slow speed corners and we need to improve traction in that area but we got through our programme today and could cover a lot of laps. I think we are doing a good job to get the developments through but I think the target now should be just to get to the end of the race and see where we are.”

Adrian Sutil, P1 - 1:23.536, 20th; P2 - no time, 20th
“Unfortunately in the afternoon we couldn't do any running as there was a problem with the fuel cell and we couldn't make the change in time to get out for the session. In any case we have our information for the set up this weekend from winter testing so I don't think it will be a big problem tomorrow. FP1 was okay, we just tested the tyres available this weekend. We struggled a bit with the soft tyres and I wasn't too happy with the time in the end, but Giancarlo got a lot of running in so we know what direction to take.”

Dominic Harlow, Force India chief race engineer:
“Whilst it was a useful day for Giancarlo, Adrian lost the entire FP2 session with a fuel cell problem. It's one of those things that happens very infrequently and, despite working flat out, it was impossible to repair it in time for the second practice. Giancarlo worked on the tyres to compensate for the team's reduced running and was reasonably satisfied with the overall car balance and the data that was collected going in preparation for the weekend.”

McLaren
Lewis Hamilton, P1 - 1:23.077, 14th; P2 - 1:22.809, 13th

“We're still a long way away and I didn't feel any improvement. I think it's going to be hard work to get into Q3 tomorrow. We're pushing but unfortunately the upgrades we tried didn't work for me and the car doesn't feel like it's improved. We lose a lot of time in Turns Three and Nine because we can't carry the speed through the high-speed corners like other teams. But we'll battle our way through."

Heikki Kovalainen, P1 - 1:23.522, 19th; P2 - 1:22.876, 14th
"We had a gearbox issue in the first session which was caused by a hydraulics problem. Fortunately, the team was able to fix this shortly after we started second practice so I didn't lose too much time. I'm really happy with the progress we made. The new parts we have on the car obviously seem to work: I think we've improved the technical package since Bahrain but we need to wait until tomorrow to compare our pace with our rivals'."

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal:
"Inevitably, when you come to a circuit with a big package of modifications that need assessing in a very short period of time, you get some successes and some failures. But coming into this weekend, we've been realistic and disciplined: we always knew this would be a challenging circuit, but we've gathered a lot of data - and that will enable us to study our performance overnight and enhance the car for tomorrow. Are we as quick as we want to be? No. Do we believe we can get through into Q3 tomorrow? Yes, we do."

Norbert Haug, vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
"Our laptimes during our race simulation in the afternoon looked better than two months ago at the final winter test. The positive is this proves that we are working in the right direction; the negative is that we are still not quick enough to fight for podium finishes - in fact, it will be tough to enter Q3 tomorrow and to start the race in the Top 10. Also on this circuit, our KERS hybrid is a good help for improving our lap times and hopefully KERS will be even more of a help at the race on Sunday as only four of 20 racers are running the system here."