Friday practice - selected team and driver quotes 24 Sep 2010
As if the night-time setting and twisty street-circuit layout werent challenging enough, showers in Singapore added a damp track to the equation on Friday. During the first practice session Red Bulls Mark Webber and Mercedes GPs Michael Schumacher were the quickest runners, whilst in the second Sebastian Vettel topped the timesheets in the other Red Bull. The leading drivers and their rivals reflect on their early progress at Marina Bay
Sebastian Vettel, P1 - 1:55.137, 4th; P2 - 1:46.660, 1st
The most important thing is to have a clean Friday and we had no problem with the car today. It was tricky in the first practice, as the circuit was still a bit damp from earlier rain, then in P2 it didnt really dry up and some corners were like a sponge where you couldnt get rid of the water. I think it could be interesting tomorrow or on Sunday if we get some rain. It doesnt mean so much to be P1 today, as its only practice and there are no points available, but its still good to be on top and we have good pace. The weather may bring a surprise though.
Mark Webber, P1 - 1:54.589, 1st; P2 - 1:47.287, 2nd
A pretty good first day, the first session was wet, but we got some good running this afternoon. I havent seen the times that closely yet, but Im pretty happy with how today went. I need to work on my short run performance a bit, but overall its good. We knew nothing would change with our car before we came here; weve passed all the new FIA tests and we werent coming here expecting to be slower than we were in Budapest. Other people had their ideas how to improve their car and we have continued to improve our car too. Ferrari still look quick and anyone can be on pole tomorrow, us, Ferrari or McLaren, we just keep trying to do our best.
Jenson Button, P1 - 1:55.333, 6th; P2 - 1:47.690, 3rd
We got some reasonable running during P2, and the car is working quite well. There are still some improvements we need to make, but I feel comfortable with it. We saw today that, after it rains, the track doesnt dry very quickly, and a lot of water comes up through the circuit. Its pretty tricky - its difficult to see which parts of the track are wet because of the glare. Hopefully, we wont have any more rain this weekend, because wet conditions arent the nicest to drive in. Our long-run pace looks good, but its so tough around here on high fuel - weve never run this level of fuel around here before. Qualifying tomorrow will be all about finding track space - if you hit traffic, youve got to still keep pushing, especially in Q1, when the circuit will be at its busiest.
Lewis Hamilton, P1 - 1:56.884, 18th; P2 - 1:47.818, 5th
The track was very tricky today because there were wet patches in some areas, but it was quite a good session for us. Were reasonably close; were competitive; theres more time for us to find tomorrow; so Im optimistic. In fact I think well be able to compete with the guys who were at the front today. The Red Bulls definitely arent unbeatable here. Okay, theyre very quick in the second and third sectors, so well have to work hard to try to make up time there, but Im pretty confident we can do it. Finally, I think the changes made to the track have made it worse - and the chicane is now very tricky. You approach it at 170mph - and if something goes wrong, and you hit one of those kerbs, then you could have a nasty accident.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
This afternoons shower showed, for the first time, that this circuit is likely to be very challenging in the wet - the track doesnt dry out very rapidly and, as we saw this evening, certain parts of the track dont drain very efficiently. That meant some corners were still damp long after the rest of the track had dried. Coupled with the fact that visibility under the strip lighting makes it hard for the drivers to see where the circuit is drying, a race in wet conditions could be extremely challenging. While todays lap-times suggest that our competitors may have an advantage, theres still plenty of data to be combed through tonight. In particular, our long-run pace looks encouraging, so our aim for tomorrow is to ensure that our cars speed over a single lap is optimised for whats likely to be a rather tricky qualifying session. Initial analysis suggests that our upgrades have worked successfully, but we still need to look over the data in more detail in order to gain a greater understanding of our overall competitiveness ahead of tomorrow.
Fernando Alonso, P1 - 1:56.090, 11th; P2 - 1:47.718, 4th
"I braked a bit late at turn 18 and ended up in the escape road: I selected reverse, but when I then selected first gear to get going again, the car stopped. It's a shame, because I lost the final twenty minutes of the session, the part when I was due to run with a heavy fuel load. In the debrief, the engineers told me the problem was that an experimental part in the gearbox had broken. This can happen on a Friday, when you try a lot of things, some of them even aimed at next season. Our individual sector times don't seem too bad, in fact you could say they were quite competitive, when compared to our main rivals. We tried the car with and without the blown rear wing and for me, the first option seems to be the best, but we must study the data carefully before taking a definite decision. The hard tyres proved to be consistent and the softs give more grip than expected. This morning, I did not do much running because the track was not dry enough for slick tyres, while the intermediates would have quickly been destroyed."
Felipe Massa, P1 - 1:57.760, 19th; P2 - 1:48.341, 7th
"We did a lot of laps to try out different configurations on the car, especially comparing performance with and without the blown rear wing. I am not particularly pleased with the balance of the car and that is another reason why we spent a lot of time on track in the first session, even when track conditions were not ideal. Especially on the soft tyres, I had a bit too much oversteer. There is much work to do but I think we can be competitive all the same, even up against Red Bull who seem to be very strong. The track was very slippery when it was still damp, especially the kerbs and the part that was recently resurfaced. The hard tyres take a while to get up to temperature, which is not the case with the soft ones, although these probably suffer a bit more from degradation."
Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari team principal
"Despite today's difficulties, we still managed to acquire sufficient data which our engineers can now use to decide on the car set-up for qualifying and the race. Friday's times are always difficult to evaluate and today was no exception. From the little we could see, Red Bull look very strong, as indeed was to be expected, but we are on the pace. Having said that, clearly we will have to perform faultlessly if we want to achieve our objective, starting from tomorrow's qualifying."
Chris Dyer, Ferrari chief engineer
"Rather a difficult day in terms of running the programme we had set out for the two free practice sessions. In the first one, the track conditions were neither fish nor fowl: the damp track meant you could not use the dry tyres without the risk of damaging them, but it was not wet enough to run properly on the intermediates. In the second session, we were unable to complete the planned programme on Fernando's car, because an experimental component in the gearbox broke, which was discovered when he went off the track at turn 18: now we have to take a close look at the part to determine what caused the breakage. We tried various new aerodynamic solutions, also comparing the handling of the car with and without the blown rear wing: now it is up to the engineers, along with the drivers, to reach a decision tonight as to which is the best configuration for qualifying and the race. In terms of performance, the F10 seems to be reasonably competitive at this track, even if it is difficult to draw any definite conclusion, especially when you consider how the two sessions went. I think the battle between the top three teams is very tight and that we can fight for places at the front of the grid."
Rubens Barrichello, P1 - 1:56.615, 16th; P2 - 1:48.302, 6th
Weve brought some new parts to the car this weekend, and they are working well, so the factory has done a good job. Today has been pretty good but there is work to be done tomorrow both in the car and out of it, but we should be up to the job here. In terms of the track, the surface is now much improved as it is far less bumpy, but the new surface can be quite slippery, especially in conditions like today when the rain was taking a long time to dry.
Nico Hulkenberg, P1 - 1:56.840, 17th; P2 - 1:49.153, 11th
It was a positive Friday and the car feels pretty good. Weve got some new elements to the package and although we didnt do back-to-back tests today because of the weather, it is pretty clear that they do what they are meant to. And the circuit, well its just awesome, theres no other word for it. After today I am a little far away from Rubens on the timesheets, but actually I am not if I put a good option run together. All told, I reckon we can have a good, strong weekend.
Sam Michael, Williams technical director
Even with the circuit being damp for the majority of the first practice session, we still had a productive day working on set-up and tyres. For both cars we had a new front wing assembly, and only on Rubens car for this race we had a new diffuser to evaluate - all of which are working as expected. Our pace looks reasonable, and qualifying will be about traffic management!
Nico Rosberg, P1 - 1:56.598, 14th; P2 - 1:48.679, 8th
"The second session was good today although we weren't able to learn so much in the first session. The track improved significantly during the later session so we were able to learn a few things and made some good set-up changes. Our long runs were ok but the main issue was that we didn't get the grip that I was expecting from the soft tyre so that's something that we need to look at overnight. All in all, it was a reasonable start to the weekend. "
Michael Schumacher, P1 - 1:54.708, 2nd; P2 - 1:48.889, 10th
"It has been a lot of fun driving this track today, even in the dark. It is the first time driving here in Singapore for me and I was curious to experience how it would be and I have to say that I liked it. I had heard that the track is quite bumpy but I didn't find that it was too much, just in one sector. The rest is pretty good and exciting. This morning, well actually early evening, when the conditions were mixed, we looked quite good whereas in the later second practice, we seemed to struggle more. Let's see what we can do here tomorrow."
Ross Brawn, Mercedes GP team principal
"As expected, we faced some weather-related challenges today but the first session proved very useful for Michael as he was quickly able to learn the circuit with good running in the damp conditions. The second session proved more useful from an engineering perspective as we could work through our normal Friday programme. We are reasonably happy with our progress so far but there is still a lot of work to be done before tomorrow."
Norbert Haug, vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"A beautiful venue here in Singapore with a great atmosphere and first-class television images for the spectators worldwide. Although it is only our third visit here, this is already a great Grand Prix and one of the most remarkable races on the calendar. On the track, we ran our usual Friday programme and we still have some work to complete tomorrow. Our target on Sunday is to continue scoring points with both cars as we achieved in the last couple of races. Whilst we are not expecting miracles in the last five races, everybody will give their utmost to get the best possible results."
Robert Kubica, P1 - 1:55.672, 9th; P2 - 1:48.855, 9th
It was a more difficult Friday than usual because we had a problem with the hydraulics during the second session, when the track was at its best, so I only completed about five clean laps today. That makes it very difficult to say where we stand relative to the competition. The track conditions were changing a lot throughout the day, too, and it was clear to see that the new sections of tarmac took a long time to dry up.
Vitaly Petrov, P1 - 1:55.914, 10th; P2 - 1:49.608, 14th
Today was a learning day for me and it was made even more complicated by the fact that the circuit was wet this morning. I worked hard on adapting my style to suit this circuit and the car, and we started looking at the set-up during the second session. It is hard to find a comfortable balance here but if we can continue in the same direction overnight, I don't think it will be too bad. I made a mistake on my quickest lap so I know there is more performance to come, and my target will be to get into the top ten tomorrow.
Alan Permane, Renault chief race engineer
It was pretty wet during the first session so while Vitaly spent some time learning the circuit and achieving as much as he could in the conditions, with Robert we focused on checking f- duct settings and making sure the car was working okay. We chose to run Vitaly without the F-duct in the FP1, just to make his life as simple as possible for his first practice session at this circuit. Robert lost most of the second session with a hydraulic leak, and wasn't able to run a new set of soft tyres to set a time - he only went out for a couple of laps at the end just to check the car. As for Vitaly, he's still learning the circuit and finding his optimum braking points, so we know there's a lot more time to come from him. It doesn't look fantastic on the timesheets today, but I'm confident we'll be in our normal place tomorrow. The drivers haven't been complaining about the bumps at all today. We know that our car rides them reasonably well, but they don't appear to be the issue that they have been for the last two years. Our limited data from today indicates that the softer compound will be the quicker qualifying tyre, so we will simply try to run our normal programme, have a trouble-free session with both cars, and prepare thoroughly for qualifying.
Kamui Kobayashi, P1 - 1:56.339, 12th; P2 - 1:49.438, 12th
Wow - it was really hot in the car here. But I like the track, and turn five especially is a nice and fast corner. The bumps are not too bad and didnt come as a surprise to me. I found it difficult to reach the limit today because after the rain the correct line was very narrow. I made a few mistakes, but I didnt hit anything. We managed to improve the set-up a bit between the sessions, but we still have to find a better balance to make the best use of the tyres.
Nick Heidfeld, P1 - 1:56.458, 13th; P2 - 1:49.558, 13th
Given it was my first day back in the team and also in the 2010 car Im very happy. I enjoyed driving a lot. At the beginning it was a bit difficult because the track was wet. I just took it easy and tried to do as many laps as possible. For the second session we changed a few things, but it is clear two sessions are not enough to analyse everything. I see many areas where we can improve the set-up of the car and areas where I can improve in getting the best out of the car. The track itself with regard to the bumps has improved compared to 2009.
James Key, BMW Sauber technical director
Our work was cut out today compared to normal Fridays, because for Kamui it was about first learning the track and for Nick driving for the first time with the new car and current tyres. We started off today in wet conditions and it seemed to go well. Kamui put in some good lap times, while Nick started to familiarise himself with the car. Due to the damp track, the tyre temperatures were quite low in the first session. Between the sessions we had a good look at the data and the second session was okay. We continued to work as planned, except we had to replace the same new hydraulic component on both cars. We are midfield at the moment and are working to improve from there.
Vitantonio Liuzzi, P1 - 1:55.510, 7th; P2 - 1:49.896, 15th
Today went okay and we got a lot of work done in the afternoon in particular. We didn't do much running in the first session as we waited until the track dried a bit, but in the later practice we completed our usual tyre preparation and set-up work, which is crucial here due to the special nature of the track. It's going to be difficult to choose the tyres tomorrow as the soft work well but tail off and then the car balance is affected, but the hard seem to work fine. We have to work a little on the set-up but on the longer runs it felt okay and even on the heavier fuel loads we seem competitive.
Adrian Sutil, P1 - 1:54.827, 3rd; P2 - 1:49.984, 16th
The morning session was very good and in both the wet and the dry conditions I felt able to push the car and set good times. In the afternoon it was also feeling very comfortable, but unfortunately I made a small mistake in the chicane and went over the kerb. The car took off and when it came back down it broke some of the front suspension and I had to stop. It's disappointing as I couldn't do my soft tyre run at the end. Based on the work we did do though the car feels much better here than last year and I think we can achieve a lot this weekend.
Dominic Harlow, Force India chief race engineer
During FP1 the circuit took quite a long time to dry, meaning our programme included a run on intermediate tyres followed by a second on dry tyres. The track was in quite good condition otherwise and in FP2 it was good for dry tyres for our usual comparisons. Tonio worked on set-up, suffering from a bit of understeer, and unfortunately Adrian clipped a kerb at T10 on his second outing and couldn't continue. With some improvements to the car overnight we believe we can be competitive tomorrow and to get both cars into Q3 remains a realistic target.
Jaime Alguersuari, P1 - 1:55.160, 5th; P2 - 1:50.191, 17th
A positive start to the weekend, especially doing a lot of running on high fuel loads in the second session. We should not read too much into my P5 in the first session, which was complicated by the wet track. In the second session I did my quick lap early on, after which the conditions improved, so I am quite confident with the results of the long run. We know the track will improve tomorrow and now we just have to keep on working to follow that development. There was just one moment, when I touched the wall: I was on the soft tyres which I always find more difficult to drive on, because although they are obviously quicker, they are more complicated to adapt to as the rear end of the car moves a lot more and I just clipped the wall at Turn 19. Its very hot inside the car and you feel there is not enough oxygen, but I am in much better shape than when I first came here last year.
Sebastien Buemi, P1 - 1:55.523, 8th; P2 - 1:50.896, 18th
We started the first session in the wet, which made it more complicated to work through our programme although we were able to gather the data we wanted by running with the F Duct for a few laps. We had no problems on the car today which is another good point. I think the long runs gave us a very good understanding of both types of tyre. I was unable to get the maximum out of the soft tyres on the first two laps, because I made some mistakes, so I am a bit disappointed with my performance in terms of pure lap time, but thats not so important on a Friday. However, it helps if you get up to speed straight away as it is important to be able to follow the development of the track. All in all a good day, even if we are sweating a lot!
Laurent Mekies, Toro Rosso chief engineer
This morning on Buemis car, we carried out another development test on the F Duct, as we had done in Monza, even though again, we had no intention of using it on this circuit which requires maximum downforce. We also had to contend with a damp track, but we have to get used to it as we can expect this Equatorial weather throughout the weekend, being ready to deal with sudden showers. Therefore it was good for the drivers to complete some laps in these conditions. Jaime had a very good day: we saw him sideways a few times on TV, including one contact with the wall, but he put in a strong performance on both short and long runs. With both cars, we concentrated on race trim, doing extremely long runs to assess tyre performance. Tyre consistency has very much improved compared to the last two years, because tyre degradation used to be a problem here and today their behaviour was much better. Apart from that, we tackled the usual Singapore challenges of the bumpy track, trying to establish the best ride configuration for the cars.
Heikki Kovalainen, P1 - 1:56.603, 15th; P2 - 1:51.878, 19th
It was a pretty good Friday practice and Im pleased with where we ended up. Track conditions like today make it interesting for the drivers, especially on the dry tyres, as its slippery and wet in some places, then good grip in others. Weve found a good direction with the set up today, particularly in the second session, and both of the tyre compounds worked well. The long runs seemed promising so Ive got to say its one of the good Fridays!
The track is improving too. The bumps are still there, but they feel less severe, and overall theres a very positive feeling around the whole place. The heat doesnt feel so bad this year either so Im really looking forward to the rest of the weekend.
Fairuz Fauzy, P1 - 2:05.694, 24th
The wet-dry track conditions meant we limited our running in the first session today, to avoid using up tyres, but when I got out on track it felt good to be back and we managed to get some useful data from the run. Ill be back in the car in FP1 in Abu Dhabi and hopefully itll be dry there so I can get maximum time in the cockpit.
Jarno Trulli, P1 - no time; P2 - 1:53.526, 22nd
We did a good number of laps in the second session, but I had a few problems with the engine driveability and with braking - its really difficult to feel the car when you have these kinds of problems, but lets wait and see what tomorrow brings.
Tony Fernandes, Lotus team principal
On track, its been a reasonably satisfying day for all three drivers and the whole team. We think we have a lot left in the cars, and while Heikki was happier today than Jarno, were confident that in qualifying Jarnos professionalism and experience will see him get what he wants out of the car, as he always does.
Mike Gascoyne, Lotus chief technical officer
Overall it was a reasonable Friday, although we couldnt find the perfect balance on either car. Jarno in particular was not happy with his setup, so we will work on that tonight and see what happens tomorrow. It was good to see Fairuz back in the car, and with the tricky conditions this morning it was difficult for him but he did a good job, so overall were satisfied, but I think theres more to come tomorrow.
Timo Glock, P1 - 1:59.034, 20th; P2 - 1:52.150, 20th
I had quite a good session in Free Practice 1 and some fun in the wet conditions. It was good to see my name at the top of the timesheets for so much of the session. We were quite competitive in the mixed conditions. It was a bit of a shame that we couldnt go out for the last 10 minutes when the track was getting quicker and quicker. FP2 looked okay too. We had a straightforward programme. The car is a bit nervous at the rear and therefore difficult to drive, but we will find a way to improve it for tomorrow.
Jerome DAmbrosio, P1 - 1:59.275, 21st
It is difficult for any driver to adequately describe the feeling of driving an F1 car - the awesome power and enormous braking in particular - but combined with the whole night race experience as well, today has been a very special day for me. The conditions this morning were very tricky so there was a lot to get to grips with and it was always going to take time to get up to speed. When the track did dry out my times started to drop and I was really pleased with where I ended up. It has been a good start for me and Im looking forward to continually improving during the Friday morning sessions of the next three races. I would like to thank the team for looking after me so well. They are a great bunch of people and I am enjoying being part of Virgin Racing.
Lucas di Grassi, P2 - 1:53.431, 21st
It was always going to be a challenge to get up to speed in just the afternoon session, particularly as I havent raced here before, but I am pleased with the work we achieved here today. The track was very damp to start with, which made it even harder, and we had a few issues with the balance of the car, so we have some work to do to improve the car for tomorrow.
John Booth, Virgin team principal
We are extremely pleased with how the day has gone. Weve shown some good pace today on both wet and dry tyres and all three drivers did a very professional job in difficult conditions. We do have a few issues to resolve before tomorrows running, but generally a good start to the weekend. This morning Jerome did a fantastic job for his first time out in the car, particularly as there was a lot of media attention on him. To achieve the time he set and be the quickest of the three Friday drivers was fantastic for him. Timo was pretty happy with his car on the prime tyres and his time was impressive, but he had an imbalance on the car which prevented him from improving on his time on the option tyre. Lucas got up to speed quickly in free practice 2, but was also unable to get the best out of his option tyre run.
Bruno Senna, P1 - 1:59.783, 22nd; P2 - 1:54.725, 23rd
It was a good day for us here at the special event in Singapore. We managed to try a few things on the car and we learnt a lot about the track. In the second practice, we could improve and now we have to get ready for tomorrow.
Christian Klien, P1 - 2:03.424, 23rd; P2 - 1:55.542, 24th
I am happy to be back racing, which wasnt easy at the beginning of the first session as I only did 40 laps in this car before. But I felt more and more comfortable in the cockpit and could learn a lot and get more experience. I found a good pace on the prime tyres even if I lost some time on the options compared to my team mate. I am looking forward to tomorrow and I hope to improve again.
Colin Kolles, HRT team principal
The first session started off under wet track conditions and so, our drivers could get some experiences on a new circuit for them. As rain is expected for almost the whole weekend, it was important for Bruno and Christian to run under changing conditions. The track dried up and in practice two, it was dry. Today, it was important for us to get as much track time as possible and data about the circuit and the car. Now, our focus is on tomorrow and we will try to do our best again.
Hirohide Hamashima, Bridgestone director of motorsport tyre development
"We had the challenge of a wet track in Singapore for the first time and this provided an additional factor. We saw wet tyres being used by some for installation laps in the first practice, then use of the intermediate tyres for much of the session. Drivers who didn't have knowledge of this circuit conducted a lot of laps with the intermediates which gave us a lot of good data. The track was drier for the second session so we were able to see many laps completed on both dry compounds. Interestingly, the lap times were quicker than Friday here last year when the circuit was quite dusty. I think the smoother new surface helped with faster times too, although the new surface did take longer to dry than the older one. Not only did we have a wet track today, but around 40 percent of the track has been resurfaced. As with any street course, we see a lot of track evolution over the duration of the weekend so we are unsure exactly how much grip the surface will provide. In addition, there could be further rain before tomorrow's sessions so the drivers and teams certainly have plenty of work in front of them."
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