Friday practice - selected team and driver quotes 07 May 2010
McLarens Lewis Hamilton was the fastest driver in action during the morning session at Barcelonas Circuit de Catalunya, whilst Red Bull ruled the roost in the afternoon. The leading teams and their rivals reflect on their early progress in Spain
Sebastian Vettel, P1 - 1:22.026, 5th; P2 - 1:19.965, 1st
"We've got a few changes on our car, but I don't think anything as significant perhaps some of the other teams have. There's a little bit everywhere on ours and I think we've proved today that our changes work. I think the lap times are irrelevant from a Friday. It's good to be fast, but I think the McLarens are quick here - I don't think they were pushing hard this afternoon and I think it will be much closer tomorrow."
Mark Webber, P1 - 1:22.011, 4th; P2 - 1:20.175, 2nd
"That was a good day for us - we had a smooth run, a nice P1 and P2 with no interruption from the weather or things like that. The guys worked faultlessly in the garage, the driver did a little bit as well and it was a good day. Don't read too much into the times. McLaren probably weren't showing everything today. It was a very late night for the team last night, but a positive day today and hopefully we're well prepared for tomorrow."
Michael Schumacher, P1 - 1:21.716, 3rd; P2 - 1:20.757, 3rd
"Today I felt much more comfortable in the car and feel that it is behaving more consistently. In my view, our upgrade is a step forward but we have to wait and see how big the step is as the other teams have obviously improved as well. Now we have to deeply analyse the data to get a better overview on the actual situation and as usual after the Friday practice sessions, it is difficult to estimate where you actually are in comparison to our competitors. We will only have the real picture after qualifying tomorrow."
Nico Rosberg, P1 - 1:22.070, 6th; P2 - 1:21.271, 7th
"It was a challenging day for me today and not where I usually end up after the Friday practice sessions. There are no obvious issues on the aero package but we went wrong on the set-up whilst trying something new. I am confident that we will make progress overnight and tomorrow we will be able to extract the full potential from the car."
Ross Brawn, Mercedes GP team principal
"We had a reasonable day and covered a great deal of work to gather all of the set-up information that we needed with our upgrade package. Michael and Nico followed different programmes and therefore this evening we need to bring all of the data together and decide how we run the cars tomorrow. The new developments performed pretty much as we expected however all of the teams have moved forward here and the target is constantly moving. It looks like we have kept up but we still have to find more pace to compete right at the front."
Norbert Haug, vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"Our upgrade package for the start of the European season seems to work as anticipated and it was visible on track and on the timing sheets that Michael was quicker and felt more comfortable today than at the last race in China three weeks ago. Nico was less happy with his car today but the data after the session shows where we went in the wrong direction with the set-up so Nico should be back tomorrow to the strength that he showed in the previous four races. Our pace during the race simulations didn't look too bad but there is definitely still quite a gap to the quickest cars. We will work hard to make another step tomorrow. Today it is not possible to judge whether the competitive order has changed compared to the last races but everybody will find out tomorrow."
Fernando Alonso, P1 - 1:22.258, 8th; P2 - 1:20.819, 4th
Its always nice to race in Barcelona, in front of so many fans, even on a Friday morning: it is definitely a source of extra motivation for me to do well. We worked with different fuel loads, both for qualifying and the race. We are reasonably happy with how things went and with the performance of the updates we tried on track, but we will have to wait until tomorrow to really understand where we stand compared to the other leading teams. As for the new rear wing, we will decide this evening whether or not to also use it in qualifying and the race: the system worked well but obviously, despite the fact we have tested it on various occasions, we still lack a bit of experience before we can get the best out of it.
Felipe Massa, P1 -1:22.975, 12th; P2 - 1:21.302, 8th
The updates we brought here have definitely allowed us to make a step forward in terms of performance, but other teams havent been sitting around twiddling their thumbs. We still have work to do to find the ideal balance on the car, because today it was not as good as on the last two days of the test we did here last February. Probably the track conditions are very different to what they were then, as is always the case on the first days running, but clearly we have to study the data carefully to understand which direction to go in, in terms of setting up the car.
Chris Dyer, Ferrari chief engineer
We are very happy with the work we did today. We had a very complicated programme to run, with many new technical elements to test, both for this race and for the more long-term future. We managed it, which means we now have a lot of data to analyse. On top of that, we also worked through the usual preparation of the cars for qualifying and the race, including the comparison between the two types of tyre available. From what we have seen, we can expect the usual very close battle, both in qualifying and the race.
Lewis Hamilton, P1 - 1:21.134, 1st; P2 - 1:21.191, 5th
It was quite windy today, so, despite running right through our programme, we struggled a little bit, particularly at the end when we changed to the Option tyre and encountered a bit of traffic. The new parts have definitely given us a step forward, but we dont yet know how big that step is compared to our rivals. Generally, however, the car doesnt feel too bad. Hopefully, well be able to make some further set-up changes overnight, too. Tomorrow well just be focusing on our programme, pushing the envelope, and analysing everything we can to make sure were as competitive as we can possibly be.
Jenson Button, P1 - 1:21.672, 2nd; P2 - 1:21.364, 9th
I think weve still got a little bit of work to do, to be honest. I didnt get as much running done this morning as I would have liked because I hit something coming out of the pits probably a small part of a car, which damaged one of my cars bargeboards. This afternoon we embarked on some set-up changes that we thought were headed in the right direction, but Im not sure if they were. So theres a lot of work still to be done on both tyres some of it is possibly set-up, and some of it is getting the tyres in their correct working range. This afternoon was a very tricky session. A few teams were already getting their cars to work well, so we should be able to get there too. But theres a lot to be done this evening to figure out exactly why our car didnt feel as we expected it to. I dont think its an issue of the new components working or not, I think its more about not turning the tyres on properly, or not working them in the correct way. Weve got a lot of data to go through, but Im certain we can make some improvements and come back with a stronger car for tomorrow.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
We certainly come away from todays two sessions armed with a considerable amount of data to sift through ahead of third practice and qualifying tomorrow. Todays uncharacteristically chilly weather, and the resultant difficulties we encountered in adapting the set-up to best suit the conditions, meant that neither Jenson nor Lewis felt entirely happy with their cars by the end of second practice. As a result, well place even greater emphasis on an examination of the data before tomorrow. Were confident that our car has the potential to be well suited to this circuit, and that this afternoons pace was not fully representative of our expected race performance. Finally, it was a very proud moment to see the Circuit de Catalunya and the people of Spain commemorating Jensons world title by inducting him into their Champions Avenue parade this afternoon. Weve got some extremely happy memories of racing here, and we think both Jenson and Lewis are doing the very best possible job to ensure that were in the hunt for both 2010 world championships.
Robert Kubica, P1 - 1:22.202, 7th; P2 - 1:21.202, 6th
We had a couple of small issues on the car this morning, so we werent able to collect much data. That meant we ran much more during the afternoon in order to evaluate the tyres and also try some set-up changes. At the moment, the balance is still a bit towards oversteer, so we will do some work overnight and try to improve things in the morning. But we have to see how the track evolves, too. Overall, from the times, it looked like a pretty normal Friday.
Vitaly Petrov, P1 - 1:22.397, 9th; P2 - 1:22.435, 16th
It was a normal day of practice for me and we worked through our usual programme of tyre evaluation and set-up work. In the afternoon, the weather changed and it was very windy, which had a big impact on the balance of the car and made it difficult to evaluate the set-up changes. I also suffered with quite a bit of oversteer in the second session. So there are still some things we need to work on tomorrow morning during the final practice session when I will concentrate on getting ready for qualifying.
Alan Permane, Renault chief race engineer
The track is used quite regularly so it was in a reasonable condition for the start of the session, although, like any track, it evolved during the day and picked up grip. In the afternoon, the wind picked up and there was a strong headwind on the main straight, which made it more difficult to assess things.Its difficult to make a judgement until weve been over all the data, and, of course, we dont know the fuel loads the other teams are running. My feeling is that we should be in our normal position so I dont think the order of the teams has changed significantly. Weve done short and long runs on both the prime (hard) and option (soft) tyres, and these are two tyres we are starting to know quite well because we have used them at the previous three races. The track is tough on tyres, especially the front left, but we still need to look over the wear figures to see how were doing. Robert complained of a bit of oversteer in the afternoon, which is unusual for the R30 because the car balance generally tends more towards understeer. A few changes have helped that, but we still have some more work to do tomorrow. For Vitaly, he struggled for grip today, especially on the option tyre, so there will be more work to do overnight to try and get him back to his normal position.
Adrian Sutil, P1 - n/a; P2 - 1:21.518, 10th
Today was a pretty good day. I sat out the earlier practice session but we got all the data we needed from the afternoon to be able to understand the tyre performance and how the new aero parts we have brought to the track affect our performance. Overall everything seems to be working well. We could do extended runs on both the hard and soft tyre compounds and I was quite happy with the balance on both. The soft tyres take a couple of laps to come in but when they do they seem to work quite well. I think we're in good shape for tomorrow's qualifying - I think we should be where we were in China or even higher.
Vitantonio Liuzzi, P1 - 1:23.284, 15th; P2 - 1:21.904, 12th
Overall today was good. In the morning we had a bit of a problem as I got a flat spot on my front right tyre on my first run. As we only use one set of tyres in this session, it affected the second run as it changed the balance of the car and we couldn't really set a representative time or test too many things. In the afternoon though we did some good work on each of the runs with a few different settings with different fuel levels, so the way we need to go is quite clear. We are suffering a little with understeer so we have some changes to make for tomorrow but in general it's not too bad. I think we will perform well in qualifying tomorrow.
Paul di Resta, P1 - 1:23.030, 13th; P2 - n/a
Having had the experience of the first three races and having got more familiar with Adrian's car, I think I started where I left off in China. I feel this time it didn't take too long to get up to speed and we got some productive running, particularly in the early part of the session, which is when the track was slightly quicker. I got a better impression of the circuit and we ran through the schedule as planned, which included some baseline work and tyre comparisons: it was a good morning session.
Dominic Harlow, Force India chief race engineer
This weekend will be about qualifying position and the way the weather turns out to be on Sunday. Today's programmes with Paul, Tonio and Adrian were trouble-free, and apart from relatively low grip levels we have had no significant problems. We tested some developments for future events together with the updates we have brought here, and once we've completed our usual analysis will carry this forward to tomorrow.
Pedro de la Rosa, P1 - No time, 24th; P2 - 1:21.672, 11th
"I had a good second session today. The mechanics did a great job and we recovered from the gear box problem we had this morning. In the afternoon we went through our programme. It was only one session but still enough to confirm the wind tunnel results. We took a step forward with the new aero package and the F-Duct. It is all going in the right direction now."
Kamui Kobayashi, P1 - 1:22.492, 10th; P2 - 1:21.931, 13th
"Overall I'm quite happy. We had no troubles with my car today and I could see it improving over the course of the day. We have definitely found a new way to work over the last three weeks. Obviously we have to work on the set-up, but there is no big issue, nothing we can't solve."
James Key, BMW Sauber technical director
"We came here with several additions to the car which we were going to test today. Therefore we went out early in the session. Unfortunately Pedro suffered a problem with the gearbox, which is under investigation. It's not clear whether it's a hardware problem or one of the control systems. It meant he spun and had to stop his session after just a few laps. Kamui carried on and went through the programme very well. We had several new parts on the car which we wanted to test. The F-Duct system has taken a very good step forward, so we are pleased with the work we have done there. The aero components, which were new on the car, didn't give us any surprises so we are happy with the work there as well. We found some useful directions for the set-up which added a lot to our database for understanding the car and the tyres. In the afternoon both drivers carried out similar programmes. Pedro obviously needed to get the laps in, so getting a feel for the car. I think the comments from both drivers are positive concerning the changes we made to the car, which are both set-up and aerodynamic updates. So we can be happy we made the step which we expected. It looks like the pace is reasonable, certainly on the long runs."
Sebastien Buemi, P1 - 1:22.588, 11th; P2 - 1:22.184, 14th
We ran trouble-free all day, with no issues on the car, which meant I was able to complete a lot of laps which is a positive start to the weekend. However, I am not completely happy in terms of performance, as we seem to be a bit further back than where we were at the last race in China. We need to understand why, but on the plus side, we now have plenty of data to study from todays runs in both high and lower fuel configuration. The tyre comparison seemed straightforward with the option being faster of course, although the situation was not quite so clear over the long run.
Jaime Alguersuari, P1 - 1:23.110, 14th; P2 - 1:22.449, 17th
The day went quite well, but there is more potential to come from the car, which we will be trying to get out of it tomorrow. I am happy with the work done so far, as we tested a lot of things, including a good race simulation and we know where we can improve. Both tyres worked well with not much sign of degradation, but we will have to see how they go tomorrow as, at this track, things can change from one day to the next. In lower fuel configuration we were lacking a bit of speed, but I think we can make a step forward tomorrow. It was enjoyable to finally be at a track that I know well, which meant I was able to push hard right from the start of practice. At the moment, we have not identified the cause of the problem that stopped me on track a couple of minutes before the end of the session.
Rubens Barrichello, P1 - 1:23.312, 16th; P2 - 1:22.192, 15th
We completed our Friday programme successfully spending the two sessions evaluating the items the team have brought here. Because of the way we run on Fridays, we dont look competitive, but I feel that we might be a little bit stronger here. I will keep my feet on the ground though. The goal is to get through to Q3 tomorrow.
Nico Hulkenberg, P1 - 1:23.471, 17th; P2 - 1:23.765, 18th
This mornings session was fine and the car felt pretty good. We made some modifications for the second session but my accident halfway through meant we didnt get much running in. I ran wide in the corner and made too much contact with the kerb causing the car to bottom out. Its a shame because it obviously cost us a lot of important practice time. Im still positive about the weekend though and Im looking forward to tomorrow.
Sam Michael, Williams technical director
Today we evaluated some new aero parts on Rubens car and some mechanical parts on both cars. All ran without issue and we will have some more new parts arriving tonight to test tomorrow morning. Unfortunately, Nico went off at Turn 9 this afternoon and we were unable to run his car for the remainder of the session. Hes ok and the car suffered minimal damage.
Jarno Trulli, P1 - 1:26.244, 19th; P2 - 1:24.209, 19th
First day back in the car in Europe and Im really happy with how we have progressed with the car. Obviously its still too early to assess it properly, but as soon as I got out on track I could feel that we had taken a major step forward. We have solved a number of the issues we had and were definitely in the right direction, so Im really pleased for everyone in the team as theyve put in a great effort to get us here. This afternoon we continued with the program and everything went really smoothly, on both the hard and the soft tyres. I must admit that Ive been really pleased with the speed gain weve seen in the car and, again, thats down to the work the team have put in with the car - all I need now is a little bit of luck, and a trouble free weekend!
Heikki Kovalainen, P1 - 1:25.329, 18th; P2 - 1:24.894, 20th
Ive been really looking forward to being back in Europe and particularly here in Barcelona. Its been great to see the grandstands already busy, and Ive seen a load of Finnish flags out there. On track, this morning was a really good session and Im very encouraged by the updates - theyre immediately working like wed hoped. The car feels better to drive, the high-speed stability especially is better, and thats what you get when the aerodynamics of the car improve. In the afternoon session it again went pretty well. Theres a couple of things we need to have a look at, but it felt good on both tyres and I think the upgrades have worked so we can be very happy about where we are.
Mike Gascoyne, Lotus chief technical officer
Basically it was a good days work. The drivers have been very happy with the updates and weve been making adjustment to the improvements on the cars throughout the day to help us fine tune the updates. Theres a fair bit more time to come from the new package, and everyone in the team has worked very hard to get us to this point, so its great to hear such positive feedback from the drivers. Now were looking forward to building on this performance tomorrow and seeing where we are in qualifying.
Lucas di Grassi, P1 - 1:26.694, 21st; P2 - 1:25.066, 21st
Basically it was a good Friday. We had no mechanical problems and no hydraulic issues with my car. It was a good first session and a good second session and we were able to evaluate a lot of the upgrades we have on the car. Im very happy with the work that has been done and Im looking forward to carrying on the progress tomorrow
Timo Glock, P1 - 1:26.340, 20th; P2 - 1:26.596, 24th
Not a perfect start to the weekend as we had a few problems in both free practice sessions. In general I think we just have to understand a bit more about the new car with the longer wheelbase, so there are still things we need to resolve for tomorrow. Hopefully we will get it right in time for qualifying.
Nick Wirth, Virgin technical director
I was very encouraged by the reliability today, particularly the work done with the fuel systems, which seems to have been very productive. On the performance side there is still some work to do although the signs are good. This was the first time out with the longer car and perhaps it does react slightly differently; it may take a few more sessions to get to grips with it. We also had a couple of issues, for example where we lost a piece of bodywork which affected downforce levels. It will just take a bit of time before we find the sweet-spot of the new chassis.
Karun Chandhok, P1 - n/a; P2 - 1:25.972, 22nd
"I am quite pleased with the job I did this afternoon after not taking part in the first practice session. I managed to get up to speed quite quickly and ended up with a very competitive lap time. We had some issues with the brakes but I am sure we will be able to fix it in time for tomorrow morning's session. It was really good to hear Christian's comments and interesting to hear that they were similar to mine. All in all a good day as we managed to complete our planned program for the day and will now concentrate on getting the car prepared for qualifying tomorrow."
Bruno Senna, P1 - 1:27.752, 23rd; P2 - 1:26.152, 23rd
"The practice was okay and we fulfilled the testing program. There were no major problems and I am looking forward to improve car balance. We'll see what we can achieve at the end of the weekend. The air temperature here was not very warm today. A pity because it was difficult to get tire temperatures right. The second session was a good practice again. We fulfilled our program without any problems. We are looking forward to the qualifying tomorrow.
Christian Klien, P1 - 1:27.250, 22nd; P2 - n/a
"It was a bit exciting today as I got my super license only ten minutes before the start of the first practice session. Fortunately, everything had been prepared perfectly and then I was allowed to jump into the car. I had 90 great minutes in the car. It was my first time in the car since January last year and felt right away perfect and a good experience to drive again in a race week-end. I was right away able to feel the limits of the car and posted constant times which will help the engineers of the team. Everything worked well and we had no technical problems and that's also why I'm happy with the first session and to be here with HRT F1 Team. I was able to give them important feedback to improve in terms of set up and my work with top team will help them. It is never easy with a young team and a brand new car. My work is not over though and I will still debrief with the engineers."
Colin Kolles, HRT team principal
"First of all, we want to thank FIA and Mr Ecclestone for their support to make it possible in that short period of time Christian Klien got his super license and consequently was allowed to drive this morning. We used the time off since China and despite delay getting our cars back we conducted some dyno-tests to increase the performance. We need to continue to improve reliability with the car and take advantage of the upgrades. Today, the HRT F1 Team continued its development program. None of our drivers needed to learn about the circuit, so they were able to start the work right away and made a further improvement barely six seconds off the leading pace. I am pleased to see the team push hard."
Hirohide Hamashima, Bridgestone director of motorsport tyre development
"Today was rather cold for Barcelona in May, and it did take slightly longer for our tyres to warm up than we would see in hotter conditions. In fact, today's weather was quite similar in some respects to that seen at the test here in February, so there were not many surprises. The track temperature was warmer in the afternoon and we did see a good improvement in grip from the track surface. Lap times were quick, with Vettel's time faster than the overall lap record for pole, so we can expect some fast times if it remains dry this weekend.
"We evaluated the hard compound after the first practice session and there was graining on this tyre, and in particular on the front left. This was the same for the soft tyre in the afternoon session, especially when it was used with heavy fuel loads. The graining on the hard tyre was far less in the afternoon, thanks to the improved track surface. Controlling the graining on the soft tyre will be the challenge for all competitors this weekend. Of course, as we have seen many times so far this season, the weather and potential for rain is also a factor."