Friday practice - selected team and driver quotes 08 Jul 2011
The weather dominated proceedings on the opening day of practice for this weekends British round. In the morning Red Bulls Mark Webber ended the session in front, whilst Ferraris Felipe Massa was top dog in the afternoon. The drivers and senior team personnel report on the early running at Silverstone
Felipe Massa, P1 - 1:47.562, 5th; P2 - 1:49.967, 1st
The weather meant it was a difficult day, with rain affecting both the first and second sessions. However, it seems to me that the car handles pretty well in the wet, which is positive in terms of the rest of the weekend, given theres a chance of more rain. That is also the reason why I only used one set of intermediate tyres: I had a bit of graining on the fronts, especially at the start of the second session, but towards the end, the situation improved and the performance of the tyre got better all the time. Therefore, it is difficult to say where we are compared to the others, as the track conditions were changing continuously and its not even easy to give an in-depth evaluation of the new components we brought here.
Fernando Alonso, P1 - 1:48.161, 7th; P2 - 1:52.869, 15th
Its always nice to come to Silverstone, an historic track for Formula One and for Ferrari, which took its first championship race win here sixty years ago. I like the new paddock: the only strange thing is the final part of the pit lane, which is lower than the track, which means the spectators cannot see the pit stops from the grandstands. The rain definitely did not help on a day that was meant to allow us mainly to test the new aerodynamic components we have here. We tried to do what we could, using just one set of intermediate tyres, both because we wanted to save the others for tomorrow and Sunday and because that way, we have at least one stable parameter with which to evaluate the aerodynamic findings. Only at the end of the first session did I risk trying a set of slicks to see if the conditions were acceptable, but the track was still too wet. From what a driver can learn at the wheel, its difficult to say if the new aerodynamic parts have helped us make progress, but at least they seem to work well. In the wet, the car was not bad, as we had seen in fact in Canada: its positive, because it could be like this again, especially tomorrow. Support Webber for the championship? No, Im supporting Ferrari!
Pat Fry, Ferrari chassis director
Today was affected by the weather, with the track never drying out completely. Our main task was to try and run our daily programme, especially an evaluation of the new aerodynamic components that we have brought to this circuit, in weather that was definitely neither favourable nor stable. Within what was possible, we managed it and from what we saw, initial analysis suggests the data has matched our expectations. Both our drivers, like many others in fact, used just one set of intermediate tyres. Id imagine that the spectators would have preferred to see more cars on track for longer, especially this afternoon, but we have to contend with the limited number of tyres available for the entire race weekend. If, as seems likely, tomorrows weather should be similar to todays, having new rain tyres available will be very important. Clearly, its very difficult to draw any conclusions in terms of where everyone stands compared to one another at the end of a day like this: we know what we can do, but we dont know where the others are.
Nico Rosberg, P1 - 1:47.758, 6th; P2 - 1:50.744, 2nd
"It was difficult out there, however our car worked well in these conditions, and maybe we have a better pace in the wet. The Pirelli intermediate tyres were certainly performing well today. We will have to wait for dry conditions to get a true picture of our updates as we weren't able to achieve all of the work that we would have liked, so tomorrow will be important for us."
Michael Schumacher, P1 - 1:47.263, 2nd; P2 - 1:52.325, 12th
"It was difficult to judge the real performance of the car today as the conditions were never consistent enough to achieve a proper analysis of where we are. So I won't make any conclusions from today's practice sessions until we have the chance for some dry running tomorrow. However I'm confident that it was a good first day of our Silverstone weekend and I'm looking forward to one of our home races. We are continuing to develop step-by-step and make improvements to the car."
Ross Brawn, Mercedes GP team principal
"We've had a pretty constructive day and were able to achieve quite a lot with the new aerodynamic and exhaust package. Of course, it is difficult to judge in these conditions, and it would have been beneficial to be able to run it in the dry, however the two sessions still proved useful. The car looks reasonable here and we will make the decision tonight about what we do for tomorrow, when we await dry conditions with interest."
Norbert Haug, vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"It was a perfect English summer's day in Silverstone, just like we know them from the Nurburgring! In wet conditions like today, it is very difficult to draw an accurate picture of our performance compared to our competitors. Both drivers did a good job in the difficult conditions, pushing hard without any major incidents, and the car seemed to perform well both on intermediate and wet tyres. However, if conditions are dry tomorrow and Sunday, we will learn much more about our true position compared to the rest of the field."
Kamui Kobayashi, P1 - 1:50.133, 18th; P2 - 1:51.395, 3rd
First of all I want to say thank you to the mechanics who fixed my car in time for the second free practice. When I crashed I had lost control on the wet astro turf. Despite this crash, I think it is obviously quite difficult to make any judgments on the car, the balance and the set up in todays conditions. However, our performance in the wet wont count for anything as the track will be dry tomorrow. Therefore we are looking forward to more surprises, hopefully nicer ones than we had today.
Sergio Perez, P1 - 1:47.422, 4th; P2 - 1:52.169, 9th
Welcome to England! For me it was a good day, although we had no dry running at all. We did some work today with new parts, and will only see tomorrow how the car handles in dry conditions. Almost everything we experience will be new and different on Saturday. Im very positive and looking forward to a good qualifying session tomorrow.
James Key, Sauber technical director
It is great to be back at Silverstone in British summer time! We have good new facilities with a lot of garage space and a big crowd here in the rain. There is probably not much we can read into today with the conditions, as it was quite tricky to draw many conclusions. Fundamentally we got some good experience of the intermediate and wet tyres, which could be quite important for the rest of the weekend. In the morning we had some aero test parts on Sergios car, while with Kamui we initially had some test parts, but changed them for standard parts due to the weather conditions. I think Sergios programme worked quite well using the intermediate tyres, and he had a balance he was quite happy with in the conditions in FP1. Kamui was slightly less happy, but unfortunately he just clipped the outside of Turn 16 and just as the surface changed he lost the rear end, which led to an off. The good thing is he was okay. The car was damaged, but not particularly badly and the guys did a great job to put it all together again for FP2. The second session was very, very wet to begin with and gradually it got better. Again we tried the wet tyre to begin with, which took a while to warm up and then the intermediate tyre at the end of the session as the track improved. We shall look at the data tonight but I dont think there is much we can read into it for tomorrow, but ultimately the car seems to be working okay in wet conditions.
Lewis Hamilton, P1 - 1:48.549, 8th; P2 - 1:51.438, 4th
Its a shame today was so wet, because I really wanted to put on a good show for all the fans they had to brave some pretty cold and damp conditions all day, so Im pleased that it looks like the weather will improve for the rest of the weekend. Fingers crossed. Despite the lack of running, today was actually quite encouraging; we tested a couple of things and I managed to pick up quite a decent feeling for the car. Its going to be interesting tomorrow if its dry, because I think our car is looking quite good. The new rear wing also felt quite positive, but weve still got to decide whether we carry it over into tomorrow and the race itself. The reason I went to the stewards was to discuss the correct usage of DRS in wet conditions: the rules dont clearly state whether you can use DRS on slicks in wet conditions, which is what we did this morning. The stewards just wanted to understand so that they could tighten the wording of the regulations for the next race. I also suggested a couple of tweaks to make the regulations clearer and safer, so it was quite a useful visit.
Jenson Button, P1 - 1:48.841, 15th; P2 - 1:51.518, 5th
Today was a bit of a frustrating day for me; we thought wed get some good running under our belts this afternoon, but the rain meant that didnt happen, and we didnt really get a chance to evaluate everything. The balance was okay in P1. Hopefully, its not going to rain for the rest of the weekend, so we should be able to get a better read on how the new interpretations of the regulations will affect us from tomorrow. We dont really know if our new rear wing is an improvement over the older version. It has a different downforce level, but Im still not sure what were going to run for the rest of the weekend. The new facilities here at Silverstone are great - the only problem is that, at our end of the pit lane, we cant see the fans and they cant see us! Still, its a fantastic effort from everybody involved.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
From an engineering perspective, today was quite frustrating because the constantly changing weather and track conditions made it difficult to gather any meaningful comparative data on the new components and new engine modes wed brought to this race. Nonetheless, we were able to conduct some useful running, and the onus is now on the engineers to devise a good direction for the rest of the weekend, which looks set to be more predictable than todays wet weather. Its always exciting to arrive at Silverstone for the Santander British Grand Prix, and I want to commend everybody involved in the construction of these fantastic new facilities. Silverstone has always been one of the greatest grand prix tracks in the world, and the new pit and paddock complex confirms it as a truly world-class venue that lacks for nothing compared with other leading venues on the Formula One calendar. Im really looking forward to a fantastic weekend of close racing.
Adrian Sutil, P2 - 1:51.738, 6th
"I sat out the morning but drove in the afternoon. It started raining just before the session and the track remained very wet for the whole afternoon. I spent most of my time on the full wet tyre because there was a lot of standing water on the track. Then, at the end of the session, I was able to do my final run on intermediates. The forecast for tomorrow looks a bit better so we will hopefully get some dry track time."
Paul di Resta, P1 - 1:48.730, 11th; P2 - 1:51.781, 7th
"The track was wet all day so we didn't get a chance to do any dry running. It was also quite windy and the conditions were not really consistent enough to do much useful running. However, we seem quite competitive and the balance of the car felt good right from the start of the day. It's a shame to have missed out on some dry track time, but everybody is in the same position. It means we will have a lot of work to do tomorrow - assuming it is dry."
Nico Hulkenberg, P1 - 1:48.598, 9th
"The rain this morning meant that I spent the whole session running on intermediates. It was pretty straightforward, with no dramas and I completed a few good runs. I worked a bit on the balance, tried the high-downforce spec rear wing and compared it to our baseline rear wing to get some aero data."
Dominic Harlow, Force India chief race engineer
"Both sessions today were dictated by the weather conditions and trying to find some kind of consistency between the showers to allow some objective testing. It's obviously difficult on days like today to gather good quality data, but we managed to evaluate some aerodynamic test items and work with the changes to engine mapping introduced for this race. Working in the new pit complex here has been great: I've been coming to Silverstone for a long time and like everyone else I am very impressed with what we have found. Looking forward, I think it's going to be an interesting weekend, firstly with the odd rain shower in prospect and because we have no dry tyre data from today which will inevitably impact race strategy."
Rubens Barrichello, P1 - 1:47.347, 3rd; P2 - 1:51.992, 8th
Its been a wet day, obviously, and that kept us in the garage for some of the second session. Well have to see what the forecast is like as we go through the weekend. We finished in the top ten which is good but theres more to do.
Pastor Maldonado, P1 - 1:48.809, 14th; P2 - 1:55.155, 20th
It was quite difficult today because the track changed quite a lot and we were going between the full wet and the intermediate tyres. We also had limited running, especially this afternoon because of the rain and because we wanted to save our intermediate tyres. We look competitive and the car is feeling good so Im positive. I have spent a lot of time here and I love the track, so Im looking forward to qualifying tomorrow.
Sam Michael, Williams technical director
All of todays running was done on wet or intermediate tyres. We still managed to get through our test programme, however. That included evaluating diffusers, exhausts, front wings and revised engine settings following the regulation changes. We're now going through all of the data before we make our decisions on what race specification we will run.
Sebastien Buemi, P1 - 1:48.778, 12th; P2 - 1:54.274, 10th
Its good to be back at Silverstone, which is one of the great circuits, even if the weather is predictably unpredictable! However, we got the maximum out of the session doing a lot of laps in the wet, even going out when there was a risk of aquaplaning. I think it was the right thing to do, because if there should be any more rain on Sunday, we are well prepared. Both the extreme and intermediate tyres worked well and our performance level is quite encouraging at the moment, but lets wait and see what happens tomorrow when it should be dry. The team did a very good job and I can face the rest of the weekend with optimism. We have a new pit lane here and the entry is a bit bumpy as its a new bit of track, so you have to be careful, but in general, the new facilities seem very nice.
Jaime Alguersuari, P1 - 1:48.678, 10th; P2 - 1:54.274, 17th
I am very pleased with the way todays sessions went as we were very quick in the wet conditions, when everyone was out on track. I am pleased with the way we worked on the car, evaluating different set-ups for the wet. From what we have seen today, I would like a wet race on Sunday, as I had a very good feeling from the car. I did a lot of laps this morning on the intermediates and generally we seemed competitive on both types of tyre. As for the diffuser ban, I cannot honestly say I felt much difference in todays conditions.
Laurent Mekies, Toro Rosso chief engineer
Our programme went well, completing a lot of laps with both cars, facing some very different track conditions over the three hour period. All drivers were allocated one extra set of Pirelli intermediate tyres for today and we made good use of them, as well as running on the extremes. It meant we were able to do as many laps as we needed to without worrying about tyre useage. We evaluated various different car set-ups to match the changing conditions and both Sebastien and Jaime did well to avoid making any mistakes in these challenging conditions. We are therefore reasonably well prepared for wet conditions, even if the rest of the weekend is not supposed to be so wet and tomorrow we will live in a different world.
Vitaly Petrov, P1 - 1:49.603, 17th; P2 - 1:52.198, 11th
Today was challenging, to say the least, and it was obviously frustrating not to get many laps out there, especially in the second session when I only managed nine. Theres not much you can do about those conditions - its the same for all of the teams! It was useful to get some more time on both the extreme wets and the intermediates, though and Im looking forward to making more ground tomorrow when hopefully the weather will be kinder to us. Im still optimistic about this weekend.
Nick Heidfeld, P1 - 1:48.941, 16th; P2 - 1:54.023, 16th
It was a typical English Silverstone weather to start the weekend, but the positive is that the weather forecast says it will be drier on Sunday. I think that the drier weather will certainly suit our car more as today we were not competitive in the morning or the afternoon sessions. Practice like we saw today is very difficult as the conditions are not consistent so it is difficult to test and evaluate parts and set-up. We did run the wets against the intermediates and tried some small set-up changes. This was my first time on the new layout and my impressions so far are that I preferred the old one. Im looking forward to driving the new layout in dry conditions, which will hopefully be the case tomorrow.
Heikki Kovalainen, P2 - 1:52.578, 13th
That was okay. The conditions were obviously tricky, starting with heavy showers and then drying out towards the end, but everything on the car was fine and the balance of the car felt good on both the wets and the inters. Im not sure how much weve learnt, its always difficult with this sort of weather, but its the same for everyone so hopefully well have more time on track tomorrow and well see where we are in qualifying.
Jarno Trulli, P1 - 1:50.222, 19th; P2 - 1:55.155, 21st
This morning it was a very good session with the stable conditions we had. This afternoon the weather obviously made our life a little bit tougher and in the end I dont think we ran enough with the intermediate tyre, which was looking pretty good at in the last minutes. But, I think we still completed most of the programme today, so from the data side it was pretty satisfactory.
Karun Chandhok, P1 - 1:51.119, 20th
That was good a session. Obviously the conditions weren't ideal but it's useful mileage for me to get a feel for the car and the intermediate tyres - I'd never driven on Pirelli's intermediate before and it's a bit different to last year but I enjoyed myself out there and am pleased Ive been able to add my contribution here at Silverstone, so close to my home in the UK.
Mike Gascoyne, Lotus chief technical officer
Overall, a pretty reasonable day. I think the cars look more competitive than in Valencia and even though the day was made difficult by the changing weather conditions we were still able to try out two different aero configurations this morning, and work through a number of runs on the wet and intermediate compounds, so we will look through the data we have generated tonight and see what we can apply for tomorrows sessions.
Thierry Salvi, Renault Sport F1 support leader for Lotus
We were not able to run so much today due to the weather, but in spite of this we were able to learn quite a bit about the engine behaviour in these conditions, especially on driveability and the cooling configurations of the car which is quite tight in the wet. The main challenge will be to work out the optimum fuel consumption for tomorrow because if it the weather dries up we have not run in dry conditions yet. It will be good for us to have an idea of that, so I hope it will be better in P3 tomorrow to make that a bit easier for us."
Tony Fernandes, Lotus team principal
"It is very good to be back at Silverstone where it all started for this team two years ago when Mike managed to get me into the paddock and we started talking about Team Lotus. The changes to the track here are fantastic, for me this is now the best paddock in the whole calendar so I would like to offer my sincere congratulations to the BRDC for having done such a great job on this historic circuit. On track, it was a reasonable day for us - I am not too sure how much we can take from the limited running we had but I am happy with the job that both the race drivers did today, and am pleased that Karun was finally able to complete a decent number of laps in FP1. He is a great asset to our team and we are very pleased to have him on board. I am also delighted to see the continuing development of Caterham Team AirAsia, our GP2 team who are setting very high standards in their first year. They have come together into a race-winning outfit extremely quickly and it is very exciting to see their continued progress from within the heart of the team."
Mark Webber, P1 - 1:46.603, 1st; P2 - 1:52.587, 14th
I think everybody expected this weather today - it looks a bit better for tomorrow and Sunday. Its normal for Silverstone to have difficult conditions, as the rain showers come fast and the wind is high, so the conditions can change quite quickly. We got some good information on the intermediate tyres today, I did all my running on one set. Hopefully we can try the dry tyres tomorrow.
Sebastian Vettel, P1 - 1:48.794, 13th; P2 - 1:54.545, 18th
The circuit was changing a lot today, so it was hard to find out too much and understand the effect of the changes introduced this weekend, but we will learn more tomorrow. I was happy with the car today and the balance, even in these conditions. I have all the pit crew on my helmet at this years race, their local race, to say thank you for all their hard work.
Jerome dAmbrosio, P1 - 1:53.469, 23rd; P2 - 1:54.714, 19th
A good day considering the weather, which obviously disrupted our programme and limited what we could do with finding a set-up. But for me it was good experience to be driving a Formula One car in the wet - its definitely a good track for that. Were looking forward to tomorrow as the weather should be a bit drier, so well see how it goes.
Timo Glock, P1 - 1:52.470, 21st; P2 - 1:55.549, 22nd
Weve experienced typical English weather today. It was quite wet in the first session, even though it dried towards the end, and I was generally happy with the car. During the second Free Practice we were waiting for better conditions and at the end I went out again on my first set of tyres from this morning. I was just driving around and waiting for the conditions to improve. My tyres were very worn and I ended up with a lot of aquaplaning, so I just focused on keeping the car on track.
John Booth, Virgin team principal
Although the rain has provided us with the opportunity to conduct some further wet weather set-up on the Pirelli tyres, it has rather disrupted our planned programme. In FP1 we had intended to do some more aero evaluations on certain parts of the car and also gather some of the basic numbers we require due to the new pit lane layout. Both cars have stepped through some pre-planned wet set-up work, which we had in the bag should we encounter a wet session. Apart from Canada, which is a fairly unique circuit, we hadnt had the opportunity until now to perform these tests, so Im sure these will provide useful information which may not necessarily be applied here, but which may be used later in the year. It looks like the weather is set to improve over the next two days so tomorrow morning will be a busy session. Im sure the engineers and mechanics will relish that first opportunity for some dry running in order to set the car up for qualifying.
Daniel Ricciardo, P1 - 1:54.334, 24th; P2 - 1:55.828, 23rd
My first day at my new job is completed, its good to get the first day over with, Im happy with that. It was a bit of a shame with the weather, I think it could have been a bit nicer to me and the rest of the drivers but at least we did some laps. So Im a bit more familiar with the controls now in the Hispania Racing car and hopefully the weather tomorrow is a bit drier and we can then do some proper testing in order to be ready for qualifying.
Its another race car so Im always trying to learn and find the best compromise for it and the best way around the race track so I think today was not a bad day for that. I think Im learning ok, quite quickly and as long as I keep progressing I think it will be a good weekend and a good 2011.
Vitantonio Liuzzi, P1 - 1:53.143, 22nd; P2 - 1:56.037, 24th
Today was a difficult day because of the weather conditions that didnt allow us to test much of what we wanted to test. It was difficult to understand everything because the track was changing every ten minutes. In the morning it was ok; we had a few runs on intermediate tyres and were evaluating some new steps and got some good answers but the problem was that the conditions on the track were different all the time.
In the afternoon we just did a few laps to scrap a set of intermediates for tomorrow so we cant say much about the afternoon run; it was just six laps in total and we didnt want to run it either. The morning was decent but tomorrow should be dry so that will be the beginning of this British Grand Prix.
Colin Kolles, HRT team principal
It was an English day with a lot of rain for everybody so I dont think that anyone could get any valuable data so we have to hope for tomorrow. We tried to give some more laps to Daniel so that he could get used to the car.
The results today are completely irrelevant; it has to be dry to know what will happen. I cannot make a prediction at the moment about all the changes, in terms of regulations and clarifications.
I think Daniel has done a very good job with the few laps he has done. In the second practice he was faster than Tonio even though this is not representative but he did a good job, he didnt spin, he just built up lap by lap, this was very professional.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director
The weather conditions have obviously meant that today was inconclusive, but weve confirmed again the versatility and wide operating range of the PZero Blue Intermediate tyre in particular, while the teams have been able to work on a wet set-up. One of the main objectives of today was to establish an accurate crossover point between the wet and the intermediate tyres, and we gathered a lot of useful information about that. While the rain has been pretty horrible, its done nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of the British fans, who have turned out in huge numbers at what is an absolutely iconic venue. The situation today makes tomorrows qualifying session even more unpredictable: the work done during the final free practice session is going to be absolutely critical.
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