Friday practice - selected team and driver quotes 20 May 2011
Red Bulls Mark Webber may have led his team mate Sebastian Vettel by a country mile during Fridays opening session, but in the afternoon the situation changed somewhat with McLarens Lewis Hamilton pushing Vettel down the order to third to run a very close second to Webber. The leading teams and their rivals reflect on their early progress in Barcelona
Mark Webber, P1 - 1:25.142, 1st; P2 - 1:22.470, 1st
The car ran well today; weve still got some work to do, but it was one of our better Fridays. It's the first time weve run the RB7 in Barcelona in these temperatures, so the teams learned quite a lot. Tyres are a big factor here, we know that, so we will be looking to manage them as best we can. Its always been a reasonable track for me here, with a good result last year, so I hope to keep that trend going this weekend.
Sebastian Vettel, P1 - 1:26.149, 2nd; P2 - 1:22.826, 3rd
It was a very productive day - it was the first real chance we had with the new spec of hard tyres and I can confirm they are pretty hard! All in all it was good, this morning wasnt maybe ideal, but this afternoon I was happy. I think it will be tight this weekend, we look in good shape, but the others seem quick as well.
Lewis Hamilton, P1 - 1:26.988, 6th; P2 - 1:22.509, 2nd
Its difficult to get an accurate read on pace: we stuck to our programme today and didnt appear to be too far off, but you never know what fuel-loads or engine levels the other teams are running. Still, we got some good data and made some positive improvements so, in all likelihood, we look as competitive today as we have in the past. We have taken some small steps forward we put a new front-wing on and it naturally appeared to be a little bit better. Globally, its not too bad. It didnt feel too good this morning on the harder tyre, which was difficult to switch on and difficult to make last, but this afternoons running was very positive. Theres a big difference between the two Pirelli compounds - and that will hopefully have a positive impact on the show this weekend!
Jenson Button, P1 - 1:27.138, 9th; P2 - 1:23.188, 4th
This morning was spent running through the new systems on the car; this afternoon was the time to push a bit harder and get a proper feel for things. Im not particularly happy with the balance - Im struggling with the rear-end, which isnt something I like - but Im going to work to improve that overnight. There is more pace in the car, weve just got to unleash it and find a balance that I like. The longer run was reasonable, even if we got a slightly different result than we expected. But its all good information and I think we can get a good balance for the race - now I need to focus on sorting out the rear-end for qualifying.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
For this mornings session, we deliberately followed separate programmes on each car to ensure we could log as much data as possible with our planned upgrades. We limited running to the same fuel-load and the same tyres for the entirety of the session, and also ran without DRS; that meant that our times throughout P1 were not particularly representative. However, we logged a significant amount of positive data and were able to merge our two divergent development paths into a singular programme for this afternoon - with encouraging results. While neither Lewis nor Jenson were completely happy with the balance of their cars, it seems as if weve made some positive progress. Inevitably, we still have a significant amount of data to sift through this evening, but we feel confident that we can take a further step in the right direction for tomorrow. All in all, a positive day.
Fernando Alonso, P1 - 1:26.480, 4th; P2 - 1:23.568, 5th
We tried a lot of new things today and now we must extrapolate the information from all this work and select the best parts to put on the car for tomorrow. My first impression is favourable: I think we have made a step forward. It is always difficult to judge the gaps in free practice because there are always differences between one car and the next. I am certainly not surprised that the Red Bulls are still ahead of everyone: at the moment they are fastest and tracks like this one, or Budapest are particularly well suited to their characteristics. Having said that, while its true it might be difficult to beat them in qualifying, maybe in the race we can get closer, also to the McLarens and put them under pressure. We still have to work on the set-up: today we had too many things to test and we did not have time to make too many changes. I think the chances of fighting for a podium finish are even more likely here than they were in Turkey. The tyres? Pirelli has brought a new type of hard and its hard to imagine we can get through Q1 without having to resort to using the softs. One thing we had already seen in winter testing and which has been confirmed today is that degradation is pretty significant and so there is cause to expect a race like the one in Istanbul in terms of the number of pit stops.
Felipe Massa, P1 - 1:28.654, 16th; P2 - 1:24.278, 8th
That wasnt an easy day for me. I had lots of problems getting the tyres to work, especially the hard compound, and I didnt manage to put together a good time. Thats a pity because the new parts that weve brought here have improved our performance, even though the other teams remain very strong: theres still a crucial gap to our main rivals. Now we must make the right choices to prepare as best we can for qualifying and the race. As for the tyres, I prefer not to go into details. Lets say that theres a lot of work to do in this area. When I went off the track I lost the rear and I ended up in the gravel: I passed very close to the barriers but fortunately I didnt touch them so I managed to make it back onto the track without damage.
Pat Fry, Ferrari deputy technical director
A lot on the menu today this Friday in Montmelo and an initial reaction would be that first impressions are positive. We had a lot of new components to test: as always happens in these situations, some worked well, others less so and now its a case of putting together the jigsaw puzzle with the best pieces available. We also tried new aerodynamic concepts to assess how useful they might be. All in all, I think we have made progress in terms of performance, even if it is difficult to specify exactly if and by how much we have closed the gap to the quickest. The aim is to improve our performance in qualifying and also make progress in terms of our race pace, working down the same route we have taken for the past few races. It will not be easy to succeed but we are confident. Compared to what we saw in winter testing, even taking into account the fact temperatures are much higher now, tyre degradation seems very high: in fact I reckon the pit stop crew will have a lot of work to do on Sunday afternoon
Nico Rosberg, P1 - 1:26.379, 3rd; P2 - 1:23.586, 6th
"It was a good day in terms of set-up and we learned quite a few things about our car. Of course, it's difficult to say where we really are because the hard tyres didn't work so well today and it was very windy. However, we had a nice long run and our preparation with the car is certainly better compared to the last race. The updates are working quite well so far, and thanks for that to the boys in the factory."
Michael Schumacher, P1 - 1:27.016, 7th; P2 - 1:23.981, 7th
"We have had quite a reasonable Friday and have clearly demonstrated an upwards tendency with our improvements seeming to work well. Saying that, the other teams have improved too, so without having had a chance to look deeper into the data, I would say that we may be fighting for the third row. We will continue to work further on our performance for tomorrow."
Ross Brawn, Mercedes GP team principal
"We have a number of new items on the car here which we wanted to evaluate today, and we have successfully achieved that. It was a pretty comprehensive programme and, as always, we will piece together all of the data tonight, and decide how we will approach the rest of the weekend. We've got to find some performance on the car, but today was a reasonable start."
Norbert Haug, vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"A first day with a total of 126 laps for Michael and Nico gave us the opportunity to learn a lot about the new prime tyre which has not been tested before at this track. At the beginning, it looked difficult to make this tyre work for most of the teams, however we have learned a lot today which will be useful to get the set-up of our cars right tomorrow and on Sunday. Our target for the rest of the weekend is to again be in the top five as at the last two races."
Kamui Kobayashi, P1 - 1:28.819, 17th; P2 - 1:24.290, 9th
We have had a really interesting day. In the morning I was busy testing the exhaust, and evaluating the new aero parts. I didnt put in a good lap time because I had to pit after a sensor gave us some wrong information. The new super-hard compound gives you the feeling you are driving a totally different car. They are so slow. This is going to be tricky for everyone and might produce interesting tyre strategies in the race.
Sergio Perez, P1 - 1:26.738, 5th; P2 - 1:24.483, 11th
It was a very positive day for us. We were learning a lot about our aero update and the new tyre compound. As it is quite slow compared to the soft compound, you will obviously want to use the soft ones as much as you can in the race. We have to analyse a lot of data now, and then we want to make sure we improve our qualifying performance tomorrow and get proper grid positions.
James Key, Sauber technical director
It has been a busy day for the team with a lot of new parts on the car to evaluate and check, but it has been positive and the team has done a really good job. In FP1 we ran the new aero package on both cars, and Kamui ran the outboard exhaust, which was primarily for him a session of aero assesment. We have gathered more important and interesting data for the exhaust, but we are not quite sure yet if we are ready to run this. Otherwise the rest of the package is working pretty well. There have been no major issues, we see a general improvement in grip level and the drivers have been okay with the balance that they are feeling with all the new parts. We have also carried on with the mechanical updates we made in Turkey, taking them a little bit further here. As far as the new parts are concerned, generally it has been pretty positive. The pace looks okay, but clearly it is all so very close and we are not a hundred per cent with the total balance of the car in these track conditions. It is quite hot and at the moment we need to adapt the car a little bit for the conditions to get the balance better, particularly on new tyres. Now we have to work over night to make the most of tomorrow.
Nick Heidfeld, P1 - 1:27.132, 8th; P2 - 1:24.366, 10th
What was really interesting today were Pirellis new super hard tyres. Although weve gained some experience of them occasionally on Fridays, we havent used them a lot and they didnt really perform as I expected. They are significantly slower over one lap and during the long run too. Thats the main difference between them and the previous hard tyres. The good thing is that I tried some out of the box things today, and attempted some different aspects to try and improve performance. We also managed to work on the set-up, which was useful. I think weve made some progress, but tonight we need to analyse exactly what weve learnt and where we can get even better going into P3 and qualifying tomorrow.
Vitaly Petrov, P1 - 1:27.241, 11th; P2 - 1:24.786, 12th
The good thing is we were able to test both sets of tyres for a number of laps, so we could take lots of useful data which is what today is for. On the other hand, I lost a lot of time because of not being able to use KERS to its full potential, so it was a little bit frustrating. This meant there was less power for my car, but the KERS also affects the braking so we had to work on the brake balance to compensate. Im optimistic and looking forward to seeing what happens tomorrow.
Alan Permane, Renault chief race engineer
It was a reasonably routine Friday for us apart from running a slightly different programme to help us understand the new hard Pirelli tyre. We ran both drivers with high and low fuel loads on the hard tyres to get as much information as possible from this new compound. The KERS on Vitalys car did not work today, but were reasonably confident we can get to the bottom of the problem and have it working tomorrow. The hard tyre should allow fewer pit stops , but the soft is much quicker over one lap. Both drivers were reasonably happy with their cars today but I think there is more improvement to come from the car once weve been through the data.
Sebastien Buemi, P2 - 1:25.296, 13th
A completely different experience to our winter testing here of course, with much slower lap times because of the higher temperatures and we know these tyres react very differently in this heat. Even though this was just a half day for me, I was able to run a lot and I am quite happy because we have a lot of data to analyse, so it will be a long evening. The main problem, which I think affected everyone today, was a lot of oversteer and we saw a big difference between the hard and soft tyres, probably the biggest we have seen all year. Tomorrow, I will have a nice fresh engine so I think we can move forward and the rest of the weekend should be positive for us.
Jaime Alguersuari, P1 - 1:28.995, 18th; P2 - 1:25.457, 15th
It was a shame that I lost track time this morning, but we made up for it later. In the afternoon I got a good feeling from the car, especially on a long run, producing some quite good lap times given I was running used hard tyres. When I was trying to do a quick lap, I got caught up in traffic, but overall I am optimistic. Having two test sessions here in the winter did not really help much today as the car has evolved and the track conditions are very different now.
Daniel Ricciardo, P1 - 1:27.471, 12th
I think my experience in World Series and previous classes at this circuit helped me more than the winter test I did here, when I only got one run on slick tyres in damp conditions. All the same, I enjoyed being at the first track of this season that I know really well, which made it easier to put in some decent lap times straight away. It was a straightforward session and useful to have the extra set of Primes from Pirelli. We tried altering the mechanical balance of the car which delivered improvements in some areas, such as braking, giving a small overall performance gain."
Rubens Barrichello, P1 - 1:27.212, 10th; P2 -1:25.303, 14th
We have tested all the new parts we have in Barcelona. On track, the rear wing looked alright but we need to look closer at how the new floor performed. It was very hot today so the grip level was lower and therefore the car was sliding more and tyre wear was greater. The car was oversteering a bit as well. I think we need to look at this for the weekend to try to minimise the problems and maximise our set-up, but I think at this stage we'd be looking at four stops minimum in the race on Sunday.
Pastor Maldonado, P1 - 1:28.005, 13th; P2 - 1:25.603, 16th
I think today was good overall. We completed our full testing programme which I'm happy about and we also did a few longer runs in FP2. It's difficult to compare ourselves to other teams as we don't know what they were doing, but everything seems to be going well. We have a number of upgrades but we still need time to analyse the data.
Sam Michael, Williams technical director
We went through all of our programme today which included running the new aero parts on both cars at various stages. We have plenty of data to look at tonight to finalise the specification that we'll race this weekend. Some parts of the floor are certainly on the limit, so we'll take that into consideration. We didn't have any reliability issues today.
Paul di Resta, P2 - 1:26.073, 17th
I missed the morning session so there was a big workload to get through in the afternoon. It was the first time Id been in the car with the entire new package and we always knew it would be a big change compared to what we were used to. The car feels very different and its clear we have lots of work to do to understand the new parts and get the most from them. By the end of the afternoon we had definitely improved the car quite a bit, but we need to sit down tonight and think about how we should approach tomorrow.
Adrian Sutil, P1 - 1:28.163, 15th; P2 - 1:27.123, 19th
I ran with all our new aero parts this morning and in the afternoon, but to be honest we havent managed to find the sweet spot yet. The guys did a great job to get everything on the car, but its never easy to introduce so many new things during a weekend and to test them properly. Getting this new package to work is probably going to be more difficult than we thought and thats why we didnt look that competitive today. So we have work to do this evening to see if we can improve things for tomorrow.
Nico Hulkenberg, P1 - 1:28.027, 14th
This morning my car was fitted with all the old-spec parts so that we could have a good baseline to make a comparison with the new parts on Adrians car. I think it helped us get an understanding of where the differences are and provided some useful data. The only difficulty was the limitation on the tyres because its hard to do many useful runs when you have just one set of hard tyres.
Dominic Harlow, Force India chief race engineer
On the whole we had good weather conditions here in Barcelona apart from a bit more wind than we would have liked and that looks set to continue for the weekend. Our programme concentrated on aero development and we were able to make some very useful comparisons. Once weve had an opportunity to review all the data we will draw conclusions that will take us forward. The grip level was quite low in the morning and only began to improve at the end of FP2. There was a minor telemetry issue with Adrian's car and that meant he was hampered by traffic during his final outing on new soft tyres, and of course he lost a bit of track time. Otherwise it was a reliable introduction of quite a few new components, which is always pleasing, but we've some work to do overnight to improve our performance for qualifying.
Heikki Kovalainen, P1 - 1:29.231, 19th; P2 - 1:26.417, 18th
"Overall we can be very happy about this Friday. I think weve seen an improvement today on where we were and throughout the sessions we could see that we were getting more and more out of the new package. The gap to the cars ahead seems reasonably small so I think its all positive. The key point is that there is a lot more to come out of it. Optimising the whole update will take time and even though the car felt good on both the options and the primes we know that after going through the data tonight we can make more improvements tomorrow, and in the coming races."
Jarno Trulli, P1 - 1:31.418, 23rd; P2 - 1:27.189, 20th
"A bit of a mixed day for me. The team made a change to my steering in the morning session which meant I couldnt complete the program in FP1 but in the afternoon session we completed a decent number of laps and I could start to feel where we have found some improvements on the car. For much of the day I didnt really feel like I was getting the most out of it but we have found some of the pace we want to with the updates and with more work there is clearly much more to come."
Mike Gascoyne, Lotus chief technical officer
"That was a very interesting and useful day, and good to put so many laps on the new package. As we expected the behaviour of the car is now quite different to what we have been working with so far this season and it will take a lot of fine tuning to get the best out of all the improvements, but I think that on the soft tyre and the longer runs we could clearly see some of the improvements we were aiming for. There are obviously areas we need to focus on, but those can all be dialled out, so all in all this has been a good day with the new package, well done to the whole team for working hard to get it all working so well on the car on its debut and I am sure there is much more to come."
Tony Fernandes, Lotus team principal
"I always thought it would take some time for us to maximise the potential of the updates we have applied here, especially for the drivers who have basically a new rear end of the car to get to grips with. However, I am very happy with the mileage we have accumulated today and the fact we are faster than we have been before. I cannot remember a Friday when we have run so many laps and that has given us a lot of very useful data for Marianne and her team to work on in the wind-tunnel. We clearly performed very well on the options, maybe not so well on the primes, but for me, even though I am not a veteran of this sport, I knew it would take time to integrate the updates so I keep realistic goals and know that we will keep working hard and moving forward step by step.
Jerome dAmbrosio, P1 - 1:30.896, 20th; P2 - 1:28.036, 21st
I personally had a good day; it was really about analysing different compounds, especially with the new hard tyre that weve been given here. I did some long runs at the end on them, and I think that was quite useful. I think its very important that we all sit down together now, and really see whats happening on Timos car with the new package. Thats really the next step for us, we need to combine my work with Timos and see what we can come up with for tomorrow.
Timo Glock, P1 - 1:31.235, 21st; P2 - 1:28.062, 22nd
At the moment we are focusing on getting to grips with the new exhaust, so we cant do much in terms of setup or balance work. Today has mainly been about gathering data. Its not easy but I think we made some progress and we are starting to understand the philosophy of it. Now we have a lot of work to do overnight before we decide whether to keep the system on the car for tomorrow and the race.
John Booth, Virgin team principal
As a result of our recent straight-line test, we decided to run a split programme whereby Timo would run with the new aero package and work on engine mappings and diffuser setup with Jérôme focusing solely on tyres due to the new Hard compound we have here in Spain. It looks to have less degradation than the previous version although initial lap times with it arent as good. That should again provide for an interesting race with a variety of strategy options. Overnight, well be looking at the data and comparing the two exhaust and diffuser packages, as well as making a careful check of the components. Well then decide which specification to put on the car. The new package certainly has a lot of potential; its a great pity that Timo was hampered by so much traffic when he was running the Option tyre and was unable to show its true potential.
Narain Karthikeyan, P1 - 1:32.106, 24th; P2 - 1:29.469, 23rd
We had some issues with traction and a lot of oversteer this morning on prime tyres. In the afternoon we changed this a bit and it calmed down. Were trying to work on the new parts, we have some new bits coming tomorrow as well so, as a whole package, we should improve a bit from today. The balance was completely different from winter so we have to re-balance the car, look at the data and improve. There is a lot of work to do.
Vitantonio Liuzzi, P1 - 1:31.268, 22nd; P2 - 1:29.476, 24th
Today was a positive day overall. We had some time to do a few long runs and understand the tyres and get a better feel for the car. We had two interesting sessions where we spent a lot of time tuning the set up of the car. Both cars had different packages so it was important that Narain and myself focused on different aspects. Weve got some important data for tomorrow. Im positive that with the full upgrade on the car well make a positive step.
Colin Kolles, HRT team principal
The timesheet doesnt look too good today but Im positive because I know what we have done and I think tomorrow we will see the real performance of the car. We only did long runs and were not running on low levels of fuel. We were working on race setup and concentrating on this so the times today were quite irrelevant. We had aerodynamical updates and had to evaluate them, the feedback from the drivers and engineers suggest that theyre working just fine.
Paul Hembery, motorsport director
"One of the main objectives that we have outlined for the new PZero Silver tyre is to provide a bigger contrast to our existing PZero Yellow soft tyre and the initial information that we have from the free practice sessions seems to confirm that this is the case, as we expected. We're getting about 10 laps more out of the new harder tyre compared to the previous version and while this obviously comes at the expense of some performance, which will not be to the liking of all the teams, it emphasizes the crossover point between the hard and the soft tyres.
"The bigger step provides the teams with more opportunities to maximise their strategies, but we have seen so far this year that strategy does not just come into place on race day but also from Saturday, so it's going to be very interesting to see which tactics the teams adopt tomorrow based on what they have learned today. We're expecting warm and dry weather conditions once more, so this should provide a level playing field that is free of any complications."
For tickets and travel to 2011 Formula One races, click here.
For Formula One and F1 team merchandise, click here.